The Optimistic Mind-Set


Tom Fakehany

I observed a high school freshman girl talking to herself as she strutted onto the
court, wearing  her brand new uniform and carrying a recently purchased white volleyball:
"I'm the greatest hitter in the world," she announced to nobody as she approached the net.
Then, she tossed the ball into the air, swung at it, and missed. "Spike!" she yelled.
Undaunted, she picked up the volleyball ball and stated again, "I'm the greatest hitter in the world!"
She tossed the ball into the air. When it came down she swung again and tooled the ball into the net.
"Spike!" she cried. The girl then paused a second to examine her ball carefully.
She wiped her hands on her shorts and rubbed the volleyball on her kneepads.
She said once again, "I'm the greatest hitter in the world!" Again she tossed the ball up in the air
and swung at it. "Spike” she shouted as she tooled the hit again!  She paused monetarily
and then exclaimed to no one in general. "Wow!  I'm the greatest server in the world!"

All of our feelings, beliefs and knowledge as officials, players, coaches and fans of volleyball
are based on our internal thoughts, both conscious and subconscious.
We are in control, whether we know it or not. We can be positive, like the player above,
or negative, enthusiastic or dull, active or passive.

The biggest difference between people is their attitudes. For some, learning is enjoyable and
exciting. For others, learning is a drudgery. For many, learning is just okay, something
required on the road to a job.    Abraham Lincoln stated that "Most folks are about
as happy as they  make up their minds to be."  Our present attitudes are habits, built from
the feedback of parents, friends, society and self, that form our self-image and our world-image.
 These attitudes are maintained by the inner conversations we constantly have with
 ourselves, both consciously and subconsciously.

 The first step in changing our attitudes is to change our inner conversations.

 What Should We Be Saying?

 One approach is called the three C's: Commitment, Control and Challenge.

 Make a positive commitment to yourself, to learning, work, to teammates, to family,
 friends, nature,  and other worthwhile causes. Praise yourself and others.
 Dream of success. Be enthusiastic.

 Keep your mind focused on important things. Set goals and priorities for what you
 think and do. Visualize to practice your actions. Develop a strategy for dealing
 with problems. Learn to relax. Enjoy successes. Be honest with yourself.

 Be courageous. Change and improve each day. Do your best and don't look
 back. See learning and change as opportunities. Try new things. Consider several
 options. Meet new people. Ask lots of questions. Keep track of your mental and
 physical health. Be optimistic even if you are a benchwarmer.

 Studies show that people with these characteristics are winners in good times and
 survivors in hard times.

 Research shows that  people who begin consciously to modify their inner conversations and
 assumptions report an almost immediate improvement in their performance. Their
 energy increases and things seem to go better.

 Commitment, control and challenge help build self-esteem and promote positive
 thinking. Here are some other suggestions.

Suggestions for Building Positive Sports Attitudes

  •       With every team, look for positive people to associate with.
  •       In every game, look for one more interesting idea or learning experience.
  •       In every practice, find one more concept important to you.
  •       With every team member, explain a new idea you've just learned.
  •       With every coach, ask a question.
  •       With yourself, keep a list of your goals, positive thoughts and actions.
  •       Remember, you are what you think, you feel what you want to be.