Winning Through Achieving Your Personal Best
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I go to the gym to build and tone muscle, which in turn, revs up the metabolism, and leads to the burning of unhealthy body fat. Going to the gym also allows me to enhance my physical performance on the basketball court through stronger muscle capabilities, lower risk of injury, and greater speed and strength. All of these factors come together to maintain a healthy weight, enhance cardio performance, and reduce stress, which reduces cortisol production, increases the release or endorphins, and the morning exercise adds to the level of energy available through the day. Going to the gym has numerous internal motivations and positive physical effects.
The level of independence you can demonstrate in sports and competition does not mean you can't measure progress when you see it. Part of the self-evaluation process is quantifying and measuring your gains. If you are lifting weights, keep track of your reps and how much iron you are moving in any given session. If you're running, keep track of time and distance, and put out a little more effort on every run. In my case, I try to track the number of baskets scored, steals, and rebounds achieved during my morning basketball games. I also keep a record of repetitions and the amount of weight I use in each set. Positive and negative feedback from co-players can also be used assess skill levels, but that's where the danger lies. If their criticism is offered in a constructive way, use it during your next game. Become the threat they know you have the ability to become. But if you are scorned out of frustration or anger due to some mistake you made on the court or field, brush it off. You can't take anything destructive personally. If their comments don't help you become a better player, it's of no use and should have no effect on your psyche or self-image. It would have been great to put my own words into reality during those formative adolescent years. I would have saved myself much heartache, and maybe I would have been more motivated to have been sports- and fitness-minded during my youth.
Every day, I am learning how to become a better player, which adds to
my willingness to be on the court, getting the exercise we aging
middle-aged men need so desperately to hang on to what's left of our
physical abilities. I know I have come a long way on the basketball
court because my more able peers continue to marvel every time I make a
shot, put forth that extra hustle, or successfully pull off a defensive
move. Most of the guys I play with want to win because sometimes
they define their self-worth through that achievement, but we're all out
there for the fun and the exercise of it, not to prove how good we are
through winning. Sure, when a lot of guys show up, we want to stay on
the court, so there's a reward for putting out a little more effort or
using just a little more judgment. Yes, I will be the first to admit
that my basketball IQ was in the mentally retarded stage when I started,
but through hard work, good coaching, and a little intelligence as
applied to the game itself, I am slowly rising above my starting point.
All I ask is that you treat me with respect when we're on the court. I
will never scream at you, call you names, or talk behind your back if
your level of play contributes to a loss on the court or on the field.
As long as I am running as hard as I can, getting my own heart rate up,
and contributing to the team effort to best of my ability, then there is
no reason to get upset. I can ask no less of you.