Monday, March 4, 2019

I Got This: Thanks to Special Olympian Amy Bockerstette Part II

With an 8 foot putt for birdie, my friend turned and said to me, "you got this." I put my head down, putt the golf ball only to miss the hole by 5 inches. I looked up and said "I hate that expression." Alarmed by my negativity, I clarified my claim. I said, "when someone says to me you got this, invariably, I never do. I don't say it to anyone." My friend laughed and said "that's so true." We later joked "hey! should I say you don't got this? Would that help?" Point taken. But, watching Amy Bockerstette on the 16th hole of the Phoenix suggests otherwise. The Special Olympian tells herself several time "I got this." And she does! Is it different when we say words—like these— to ourselves? I think so.
Amy tells the 2018 Phoenix Open winner Gary Woodlawn "I got this!"
You have to watch the video below!

For athletes, self talk is important. Think Like a Winner, Episode 363 of the popular Freakonomics podcast: The Hidden Side of Sports offers great insight into the mental component of the game, including what we tell ourselves. "Great athletes aren’t just great at the physical stuff. They’ve also learned how to handle pressure, overcome fear, and stay focused." The inner-monologue is one such tool. Former MLB pitcher and now mental-skills coach, Bob Tewksbury agrees. He said, 

I like to have affirmations or mantras, essentially, that players can use in performance when things start to go awry. I call them anchor statements, and those anchors would be: “See it, feel it, trust it.” “Smooth and easy.” “I got all it takes to beat the competition.” “One pitch at a time.” What you say to yourself, how that little man affects performance, how to understand it, change it, correct it, minimize it, and move forward. Without them, your performance could get swept away like a boat in the ocean.
I think every coach ought to encourage athletes to find and use an anchor statement that works for them. Invite them to use one that resonates with their sport, their position and their personality. What works for Amy Bockerstette might not work for me, and that's ok. She ought to use those words...after all, we are witnesses to the result!

I want Amy to know what a great teacher she has been for me. She has reminded me that joy is not something that can be contained—it must be shared. She has revealed to me the significance of Sholom Aleichem's quote "When the heart is full, the eyes overflow."

I was able to say to my students that although some people think we need to "Make America Great Again" there's one area where it hasn't been lost: inclusion and service to those with disabilities. Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act and programs like Special Olympics, as a nation we celebrate our brothers and sisters who have physical and mental differences. Yes, we can always broaden the circle, but this nation has made it so that those with disabilities stand by our side—not behind. We got this!

Keep playing your game Amy and sharing your anchor statement for others to hear. Thank you.

Photo Credits
Amy and Gary

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