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"The 5 Things That Hold You Back"!

The Trick Play to Stop Painful Memories from Doing Reps in Your Mind

by Ashley on January 22, 2015 · 0 comments

Happy Thursday, friends! I’ve got another super awesome guest post to share with you, from my friend, Laine Hodges. Lainie is a performance and career coach for athletes and today she’s sharing her trick play to stop painful memories from doing reps in your mind.  If you want to make your mark and create your legacy, on or off the field, you’re gonna love this!

trick play

As a performance coach, I help athletes harness the power of their mental game so they can perform at their peak more often. To best serve my clients’ growth, I incorporate improvisation skills into my practice. You may be thinking, “athletics and improv? How does that help?” I promise, there is a method to my madness.

In athletics and in life, we are constantly improvising, meaning we make it up as we go along using what we have to create what we can.

When you wake up in the morning, you are not handed a script with your lines for the day and while you may have a schedule to adhere to and tasks to manage, you still get to decide how you will show up in each moment. The ability to intentionally use improvisation skills in any circumstance allows you to effectively respond to the situations you may find yourself in, whether you anticipated them or not.

What happens to you is not your choice. How you respond to it is.

By now, you’ve likely seen the on-sides kick heard round the world in the NFC Championship game. Green Bay tight end, Brandon Bostick, went up for the ball only to miss and deflect it towards Seattle wide receiver Chris Mathews. It was a pivotal point; followed by the eventual Seahawks OT win. On the surface, it looked like Bostick didn’t do the one thing he was supposed to do on that play, which was catch the ball, and he became the goat of the game to many. What we’ve learned since Sunday is that Bostick was actually supposed to block on the play, allowing his teammate, Jordy Nelson, to catch the ball. Bostick thought he had a play on the ball and decided to improvise in the moment by going for it. His improvisation didn’t work out and the sequence of events that followed sent his team home and the Seahawks to the Super Bowl. His improvisation failed.

So, what now? How do you recover from something like that?

If you are putting yourself out there and taking risks, whether it’s in a game, on the stage, or in life, you are going to make “mistakes.” You are going to “fail.” I put both words in quotations because I don’t believe in either.

I think what we label a mistake or failure is actually a lesson, one we needed to learn in order to grow. It’s part of our path.

None of us are Brandon Bostick so we will never know what lessons he may learn from this, or what his teammates may learn, but that’s not our journey to know. The truth is, any one play earlier in the game could have prevented Bostick from even being in a position to make the hard choice he did in the first place. Bostick made a bold move, he improvised, and it didn’t work out. Green Bay ended up losing the game but it was not the end of the world, just the end of a season.

If you’ve ever made a mistake or failed, what kind of energy have you given to those instances? Do you replay them in your mind like a bad movie that won’t end? Do you beat yourself up and wish things were different? What impacts do your abusive thoughts, blaming, and pining for a different outcome have on changing what happened? None whatsoever. What happened happened. It is what it is. It’s not going to change no matter how much pain you put yourself through wishing it would. So, for how long are you going to beat yourself up about it? Is that serving you? I’m not saying that a time and a space to be upset isn’t appropriate. Give yourself that gift so you can process and release those emotions. Was the experience painful? Maybe. Embarrassing? Perhaps. The end of the world? Not even close. You can choose to accept what happened and move on.

It is your resistance to what happened that creates your pain and suffering, not the situation itself.

I read that Bostick suggested that if he’d just done his job and blocked, Nelson would have grabbed the ball, given GB the possession, and the game would have been over.

That would be ideal but the thing is, we can’t say with certainty that it would have played out that way. We simply don’t know that to be true. It’s any given Sunday and any given play so we can’t assume anything. Playing alternative scenarios out in your mind over and over again won’t make them come true, so be careful about giving energy to that.

The best we can do when we fail or make a mistake is to own our choices, forgive ourselves, learn the lessons, make adjustments, and move on.

Ownership. Forgiveness. Lessons. Adjustments. Forward motion. Anything else will simply drain you. To Brandon Bostick, I salute your willingness to take a risk. In the moment, you did what you thought was right, took action, and improvised, even if it didn’t work out how you wanted. At least you went for it. If only more of us could be that bold.


Head Shot 1Lainie Hodges is a performance and career transition coach for athletes. She educates, equips, and empowers aspiring, current, and retiring athletes to make their mark and create their legacy, on the field and off. Lainie worked with the nationally ranked George Washington HS (NY) baseball program and the Abraham Lincoln HS (NY) basketball and football programs. She also served in the NFL Player Engagement department, supporting players to live successful lives on and off the field.
Lainie was awarded a bachelor’s degree in health and exercise science from Syracuse University and a master’s degree in world history and culture from the University of Denver. Additionally, she studied sport counseling at the San Diego University of Integrative Studies. Lainie is an experienced speaker with Toastmaster’s International and studied improv at the Magnet Theater in NYC. She currently trains and performs with Grafenberg Productions in Denver, CO.
[photo credit: casadequeso]
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