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Self Awareness and Sports

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posted on Dec, 16 2014 @ 08:06 PM
Oftentimes when I watch basketball (which is whenever the Raptors are playing) I'll think to myself, what makes this player better than that player. Or, WHY, ultimately, should Lebron James be so unconscionably good: why should this 6'7 1/4 giant of a man have such a decent jump-shot, world class floor awareness, and a general belief that he can take over a game whenever he wants to?

Ultimately, I discovered, it is more about the person than his body or skills. Although generally affords you an advantage, unfortunately, there have been many players in the NBA and other sports leagues who have superior athleticism and size, but it amounts to little because, emotionally, socially, and psychologically, this person is unable to regulate himself very well.

Right now, the point guard Kyle Lowry is playing the best basketball of his NBA career - hes 28 and in his 8th season; so why now? Why, 8 seasons in - considered a 'late bloomer' - is he taking over the game?

Its his psychology. His way of seeing himself as he plays the game. When he comes up the court, as he sets up plays, each way, his mind is affectively energized by a focused awareness: explosions of neurochemicals create massive gamma waves as he darts up the floor, takes it to the rim or steps back to hit a 3. Focus, when translated into motor and sensory areas of the brain, seems to bring the body into perfect union with the moment by moment awareness of the environment. Procedural memory is absolutely 'consolidated', but spontaneous, not being blocked by self-referential negative feedback, just moving and flowing.

On the other hand, there are countless plays who never learn to be decent free throw shooters, and ultimately, this 'clumsiness' they identify with is self-referentially magnified by procedural memory; the way they shoot confirms their belief that they are bad shooters. Fixing motor memory, or procedural behavior, is only by possible by addressing emotional and psychological factors. Or, conversely, you can simply do neurofeedback training to get your mind functioning in an appropriate wavelength.

In the future, I think we will see a greater integration of mindfulness and phenomenological approaches to mind with sports psychology than we see today. Being bad shooter, is fundamentally unacceptable. The reason it still exists, is because so many of the players in the respective leagues have grown up never learning much about 'self-regulation', probably because they are embedded in difficult socioeconomic conditions that forces them through critical periods of development that shapes their social relations and mental dynamics. Although as NBA players they probably enjoy a stable mental life - if you can't see the value of self-awareness, looking at and addressing basic emotions, like shame and a sense of vulnerability, then you will never reach the higher plane the likes of which Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant ascended to.

Mind you, this is just self-regulation. One can be very good at it and yet be very bad in other areas of life. The reason they have this skill is a consequence of a stable earl life environment: both MJ and Kobe had that. Even Allen Iverson, who came from a hard-knock west Virginia ghetto, developed a very close bond with his Georgetown coach - a relationship with which he credits his development as a 'player'. Or, more likely, as a person.

Psychology and awareness of how your own mind works is basically fundamental to life, and very fundamental to competitive athletic activity.

posted on Dec, 17 2014 @ 04:37 PM
I've always had this theory about the best in each sport being able to slow the game down better than anyone else. These few stand-outs not only work harder than everyone, they are also more in tune with the game. I think most people that do anything competitive can attest to the "slow down" moments where seconds seem to take minutes. Where you can seemingly dominate your opponent at will because you can read everything they will do. There seems to be certain individuals that can call on this better than others. Also interesting is the way the top managers/coaches approach sports with a philosophical view compared to the average leader who is obsessed with technique (Jackson in particular).

Distraction and self-doubt are the two biggest killers of this mood imo (and indeed self improvement in general), so I thought it was a relevant thing to post.

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