Focus and sport
May 18, 2007 8:32 AM   Subscribe

Personal drive and sports. I need to learn to push myself more.

So, I've started playing rugby again, and I'm a lot better shape than I was when I played before. I'm also generally more confident and able to handle the ball much better. The coaches are really impressed so far, but I am having trouble pushing myself to run faster and hit harder, and so on.

I know I can do better, but I just can't seem to make the connection from my brain to my legs to get the results I want.

I suppose I'm just looking to try and focus, or find the fire within, if you will. I'd appreciate any insight, not just rugby specific stuff. Thanks!
posted by glip to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Rugby requires significant mental training to silence instincts screaming "do not run full speed into 250-pound forward!" Is that your problem, or no?

As far as running faster, training is more important than fire. If you do some sprinting/weightlifting/hill-running sessions, your going to get faster with no mental effort required.

Sorry if I am missing the point. Are you having trouble training or are you looking for some mental fire trick to overcome present physical limitations?

Thinking Beloved Person X is going to die if I don't knock down 250-pound Foward can work as fire, but it's kind of morbid, not very focused, and not really recommended from this quarter anyway. But maybe you can convince yourself the game is more important than it is?
posted by bluenausea at 9:03 AM on May 18, 2007

I am a hockey goalie and a great deal of my game is mental preparation.

Having the drive to do better for me comes from the want of being the best and will to win. For me that's enough to push myself.

Since you know you need to do better you have taken the first step. With more practice you'll get to that point you are striving for.
posted by zephyr_words at 9:24 AM on May 18, 2007

Back when I was a competitive soccer goalie (a very mental position), I made a mix tape of my favorite, high-energy songs that I listened to before every game to get myself pumped up and focused. I also found it useful to have an intense dislike of the opposing team, and a desire to win the championship. On my most successful team, my teammates and I were very close and had a lot of fun competing together, and we had a despised rival whom we faced in the championship for several years in a row. I wanted to do the best I could, individually, to help my teammates win and achieve our goal of winning the league championship. In restrospect, it seems a bit over-the-top, but it boils down to:

1. Use music to get yourself hyped up
2. Love your teammates
3. Hate your opponents

I am not a natually gifted athelete, but I enjoy sports and the camaraderie that comes from being part of a team. I found a lot of motivation through my desire to be a good teammate. As for personal motivation, it might help to set small, individual goals for youself. For example, if you decide that you want to run a mile in under 8 min, you can work individually towards that goal and track your progress.

Most of all, have fun and enjoy yourself. If you don't fundamentally enjoy rugby, it will probably be difficult to motivate yourself to become a better player.
posted by emd3737 at 9:50 AM on May 18, 2007

Red Bull gives you wings. Seriously, drink 5 of them in one sitting.
posted by pwally at 10:22 AM on May 18, 2007

I'm one of those who compete better with anger. One of the tricks I would use is to apply myself so much in practice that, with a little bit of mental rationalization, I convinced myself that I had earned the victory, and my opponent was attempting to usurp what was rightfully mine. For some reason, being "stolen" from was a much better motivator that competing for something yet unearned.

Practice going 100% in training. This is often impractical as you waste potential by injuring yourself or teammates. But if you only practice at a reduced level of intensity it will be difficult to step it up for competition.

Observe your opponent(s) closely and seize any opportunity to get angry at anything he does. On the flipside, channel your anger. Cultivate good sportsmanship and and offer no offense except through your play.

Develop a Kiai that you shout at the point of impact or maximal effort. It gives focus to your effort, and also helps time your breathing and can unsettle your opponent.
posted by Manjusri at 10:34 AM on May 18, 2007

It has been a long time since I have played competitively, and I was also a soccer goalie, so that might be why I think emd3737 is so right on, but aggressiveness = key. And his list is right on (well, I never used music, I would just sit there and kind of get in this mindset of "KILL KILL KILL", like try to focus my natural anger and tension into a righteous, slaying-type of aggression), but it all boils down to hating the other team, and adopting a mindset of "my own team is the most important thing in the world, I am a cog in a wheel" kind of groupthink.

Watch the first 1/3 of Full Metal Jacket over and over again, and do not pity Private Pyle. That's the kind of mindset you need.
posted by mckenney at 11:15 AM on May 18, 2007

I'm not really having trouble training per se, but I know I could be pushing myself more during training as well, not just in games. I really enjoy playing, but I it just seems to be some disconnect. I'll give some of the ideas in this thread a go and see how next week's game goes. cheers!
posted by glip at 12:07 PM on May 18, 2007

I know it sounds like something totally retarded from those motivational posters but: imagine victory. I mean this in the most literal sense of the word, play a little movie for yourself in your head, starring you, totally destroying the opposition and glorying in the win.

Hey, it works for me.
posted by kavasa at 1:36 PM on May 18, 2007

The best mind trick that I came up with in my (very limited) rugby experience was, before I went in, convincing myself that I'd be hurt afterwards. 'Knowing' that I was going to get hurt (even if I didn't actually) would let me be a lot more comfortable going into contact. Also, group pressure works pretty well; make sure the rest of the guys expect you to go all-out for every play, and that they'll chew you out if you don't. Before our first game of the season our coaches sent out this, which was cool.

Definitely seonding the "my own team is the most important thing in the world, I am a cog in a wheel" idea.

Growling also helps.
posted by devilsbrigade at 2:06 PM on May 18, 2007

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