There are moments every day that affect us one way or another. No matter how old we are, those moments can have a lasting impact on our mentality, our well-being, and how we interact with the world. In the game of volleyball, there are any number of things that happen, both on and off the court, that we have no control over. There are other items that we can have an influence on, but still not total control. So why do we, as athletes and competitors, focus so much on those items? Why do we let them affect our performance?
Often, athletes worry about things that are outside of their control. Whether we like it or not, we are unable to make someone else do what we want them to do. However, that rarely stops us from focusing on those things and letting them get to us, bringing down our game, our attitude, and our mentality.
These emotions can be heightened in an athletic, competitive environment. In a game like volleyball with so many other players on the court, so much quick thinking, coaches, referees, and many other stimuli, we can have an atmosphere that makes us lose control. However, if we can remind ourselves to “control the controllables,” we can keep ourselves in a positive mindset, maintain steady performance, and have an advantage over our competition. So what are some of the things that we can control?
Attitude/Behavior: As humans, we have a tendency to blame others for things that we do. It’s far easier to blame coaches, teammates, opponents, referees, and more. It is crucially important to remember that ultimately, we are the ones in control of our attitude and behavior. The emotions that we display, things that we say, and the way in which we carry ourselves are all things that we have control over. Any sort of negative attitude or outward behavior can affect other aspects of our mental stability, such as…
Body Language: We are generally very unaware of what our body is doing at any given moment. Even if we are focusing on maintaining a positive attitude, our body language can display a totally opposite perspective. Slumped shoulders, lowered heads, crossed arms, hands on our hips, and looks of general disinterest are all elements that we have total control over. Our body language can also have a massive effect on all of our teammates, adding a variable and increasing the difficulty of maintaining a supportive team atmosphere.
Effort: Generally, with a more positive attitude and better body language, our effort levels will remain high. It is extremely difficult to maximize our effort if we let our attitude and behavior get out of control. If our effort level drops, coaches notice and it can affect things like playing time and the way in which our teammates treat us. We have control over our effort.
Fundamentals: While players are always striving to improve their skills, a lack of focus on those skills can derail progress. Every single bad repetition can cause irreparable harm to our improvement, and for every negative rep, we have to work harder to make those corrections. However, we have control over what our body is doing. As long as we actively decide to make our bodies execute the right skills in the right ways, we will improve.
Ourselves: All of these individual items are related to one another, but all come together to make sure that we are controlling ourselves. It doesn’t require any special education or degree to understand and learn how to control ourselves. It just requires active thought.
Don’y forget that although we may do all of the right things, control our attitude and behavior, and work hard, we ultimately cannot control the other people surrounding us. We cannot control our teammates, coaches, the referees, opponents, or anyone else, but we can show them all that we are outstanding competitors, teammates, and people. Very little can make up for the kind of respect that can be gained through controlling the things that we have control over.
Don’t waste another minute having a bad attitude because of what someone else might have done, not executing a skill because you “forgot,” or not giving your absolute best effort because you think it might not matter. Control your “controllables” and you’ll have better success every day.