Term One is a busy one for our sports programs with our Swimming trials already underway, our Inter-House Junior and Middle/Senior Swimming Carnivals and Middle/Senior Athletics Carnival, and co-curricular sports already getting off to a good start. I am also reminded that our rowing team’s challenge they have set themselves for winning the Head of the River this year continues with a committed training schedule, one that requires resilience and perseverance with five weeks to go.
This year, I am recalling an article I wrote last year about the expectations we have of ourselves when playing our sport and racing our races. I think it is relevant for all we are doing this term and hope you benefit from reading it again, or possibly for the first time. It is from a chapter in the book ‘Legacy’, a biography of the story of the All Blacks. I hope it serves you well in your sporting endeavours this term and year.
‘Expectations’ written in Maori and translated into English says, “My language is my awakening, my language is the window to my soul”. In it, we are encouraged to “Embrace Expectations and Aim for the Highest Cloud”.
Further, the All Blacks embraced “Loss Aversion”, something they learned from the research of Devon Pope and Maurice Schweitzer at the University of Pennsylvania that discusses the ‘relative strength of two motives’ in the statistics of professional golfers. “Whether the putt was easy or hard, at every distance from the hole the players were more successful when putting for par than for a birdie.” The difference in this motivation resulted in a success rate of more than 3.6 per cent. They didn’t play to win, they played not to lose.
The history of the All Blacks became so high after that, everyone expected them to win, right across their nation from the Government down, and the highest level of the Loss Aversion that drove them to greater sacrifice – and success on the field – was experienced by themselves.
The All Blacks had a saying – “Don’t be a good All Black. Be a great All Black. Don’t just be satisfied to reach your targets. Go higher.” In the words of Jonah Lomu, “We hate coming second to ourselves”.
This is a statement that I concur with – we should never come second to ourselves. It grates against our very souls.
So be free to embrace the expectations that tell you “Our only option is to win”. They take us from good to great, and remember, in the words of the poem, Invictus, by William Ernest Henley:
“I am the master of my fate
I am the Captain of My Soul”.
So Scotch Oakburn, be the Master of your Expectations so you can be: The Captain of your Soul!
Sports Mindset Coach