Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Two Articles on Trying Too Hard to WIN by Lanny Bassham

Article #1 - Are You Trying Too Hard To Win? By Lanny Bassham

When you give it your all, you may be trying too hard. Your level of mental effort exceeds the optimum and points are lost. Let's look at why this happens and what we can do about it.

When we begin any form of skill acquisition we are forced to do things consciously. An example would be looking at the keys when we begin to learn to type. I have to admit that I still have to look at the numbers when I type but the keys are touched automatically now that I've been typing for a good while. As my Conscious mind can only think about one thing at a time, I was slow as Christmas at typing in the beginning. As I began to practice interesting things happened. Very soon I found that I didn't have to think about the keys. They seem to type without conscious effort. When this happens we are typing with our Subconscious mind. What a difference! Our speed increases and so does our enjoyment of the skill of typing.

Skill acquisition occurs exactly the same way. At first, we have to think about the elements of our form. Through training we begin to do them automatically or Subconsciously. There is a huge advantage when the Subconscious controls the process. The Conscious mind can only think of one thing a time while the Subconscious can handle countless activities simultaneously. We perform best when the Conscious mind is quiet and the Subconscious is in control.

So if this is true, why would we ever want to perform Consciously? We shouldn't. But, we do this every time we try too hard in competition. It has been my observation that close to 90% of all performers are trying too hard in competition. Amazing isn't it? Here's why. When we get to an important competition we naturally want to perform well. The Conscious mind can over- ride the Subconscious at will. So, the Conscious mind, TO MAKE CERTAIN WE DO WELL, over-rides the Subconscious. The result is a drop in performance and an unhappy athlete. I will explain what to do when this happens and how to try just hard enough to win.

Article # 2 How to Keep From Trying Too Hard To Win by Lanny Bassham

The number one reason good performers do not win in competition is Over-trying. What is the right amount of mental effort? I asked this question to hundreds of elite performers and this is the best answer I've received. "The optimum level of mental effort and let's just have fun today are really close together."

That's right! There is a time to try really hard but it is not in the competition. The time to try is in preparation, not in execution. We must TRUST in execution. That's correct. TRUST! Trust your training. If you are not training efficiently and effectively you will have a difficult time in having anything to trust in competition. But, it you are well prepared TRUSTING is the ticket to a winning performance. Unfortunately, most of us try in execution and that is the problem. How hard would you have to try if you knew you would win? Think about it. You could really enjoy the experience if there was no fear of a bad outcome. That is exactly the feeling that you should have when competing. Relax and let it happen, don't try to make it happen. Making it happen is putting the Conscious mind on the field and over-trying results. Just let it happen. Trust your Subconscious. Let it do its job.

Quieting the Conscious mind while in the act of performing is not an easy task. Some champions find that they can do this well. Most however find that if they do not give the Conscious mind something to think about it will find things on its own. It may think about things that will hurt your performance. It has been my experience that if the Conscious mind is not occupied or quiet it almost always over-powers the Subconscious and trying too hard is the result. I recommend Running a Mental Program just before performing. It occupies the Conscious mind and allows the Subconscious to do the work. The Mental Program is a planned, practiced sequence of thoughts that you picture while executing the steps of your routine during execution.

Running a Mental Program is such an individual thing that I hesitate to suggest what you should think about in an article. However, I can say that if you run your program and have the attitude that you are really going to enjoy the competition will you can avoid the number one reason for not doing well in a big competition. Remember TRUST your training. LET IT HAPPEN. Run your Mental Program and try just hard enough to win and not 1% more.

These articles appeared in an issue of our MENTALCOACH Free Email Newsletter. To join the newsletter click here:

What is the First Step in learning more about Mental Management? Try the book "Freedom Flight - The Origins of Mental Power" By Lanny Bassham