Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Maintaining An Aggressor's Mindset, part 2

If you missed part 1 you don't deserve this link but I'm just that kind of chill dude still willing to help you lazy slackers out--as long as I don't actually have to make much of an effort. I'll wait while you go back and catch up. Any time now. Oh, you're back. Let's continue.

Too often the image we conjure up of the ultimate aggressive player is a rabid beast hellbent on destruction whatever the cost. (Which is admittedly cool--but not productive.) A more useful mental construct is of a hunter. A hunter in search of prey. The hunter prepares. The hunter is patient. The hunter makes every effort to put himself (or herself) into a position from which to strike. But most of all the hunter has a clear perception of his relationship with the hunted. The hunt has risk, there is danger but the hunter is in command. This is the mindset to cultivate.
As a team player it is one thing to have the correct mindset and another to be confident you are acting appropriately within your team's style of play. Here is where a clear and shared understanding of how the team chooses to play is important. Secondarily each player's role will be defined by the team's vision. And here, within the individual player's role in the context of the team orientation, is how you make decisions about what actions are appropriate in any given situation. Remember this is a process and if the members of the team aren't on the same page the individual can only make personal decisions. (Some of which will be good ones regardless if the are predicated on principles of smart play. What I mean is the nature of the game, any game, is such that correctly understanding a situation and acting accordingly is a good decision even if your team fails to take full advantage.) Part of the process, the foundation of the process, is coming to a shared vision of how the team should play as this is the only way to free the individual player to be their aggressive best.
Here we reach the final hurdle. You understand conceptually but you're not always sure you "see" everything there is to see and there are times when you absolutely get destroyed and don't see it coming. Which leads you to feel like you got's a long way to go and may or may not be making any progress.
There is no "easy" button. There is only hard work and the right attitude. (And I may surprise y'all with this one.) The right attitude plays for the love of the game without fear or conscience. The ideal attitude is irrationally confident yet humble. Too often our egos interfere, making us both proud and fearful, both of which are seriously detrimental to learning.
Remember practicing like you intend to play? This is your opportunity to improve. Get out there and screw up. In practice. The more the better--as long as you learn from each mistake--and that means being open to constructive criticism and operating within a team environment that carries a shared vision. And finally, be the hunter. If you aren't the hunter you are the hunted.


ScotchMonster said...

Thanks coach-great read-only contribution I would make is when a player makes that mistake-celebrate it-share it with everyone on the team. There are too few points in a match for every team mate to learn the same mistake! On the pride note and learning-humble pie can taste like sh*t if you wait to long to eat it and if you have a bitter attitude you will always bake a bitter bread.

sdawg said...

This advice could work for any sport.

"Be the hunter" is going to be my mantra this weekend at AXBL in Dallas.

sdawg said...

Great stuff, btw. thanks