The following is the planned introduction to a chapter in the manuscript of the new book I’m working on. The tentative title to the book is “A. C. E. Your Way to a Better Life.” The book is expected to be released late fall of 2020.
Chapter 4 Introduction
Emotional Management, or the ability to manage your emotions, can be a difficult dilemma on and off a playing field. It can be very upsetting for many athletes when things are not going well or when there is a momentum switch during the game. The same is true for most people off the field of play. It can be very difficult to maintain your composure when someone challenges your character or is disrespectful to you.
I’ll give you a sports context example that I witnessed in June of 2019. I’ve seen this type of movie, many times with the same ending. I attended a USTA (United States Tennis Association) sectional tournament in Springfield, MO which was for the better players in the Missouri Valley tennis sectional. This match was a boys 14 & under match.
The match was tight between two very good players for their age group. The big difference was how each player handled pressure. One player showed great composure on the court. He constructed points well and he showed a lot of emotional resiliency when things did not go his way. The other boy was worth the price of admission if they had one. He was fun to watch… as in meltdown. Whenever he made a mistake he would look over at his parents, as if to say, “help me,” or “see, I can’t do anything right today.” I think at some level he was also blaming his parents for his predicament. This kid did a great job of playing the victim role. To his parents’ credit, they did not give the kid a reaction that could further fuel the negative energy.
Needless to say, the player that maintained his composure and who showed a strong competitive spirit, won the match. He felt very comfortable closing out the match. Nothing was rushed, yet he applied sustained pressure. The boy who lost, looked distraught, and somewhat relieved when the struggle was finally over.
I am not going to tell you it’s easy to manage your emotions all of the time on and off the playing field. It can be a challenge for many people, kids and adults. What I do suggest is you set a goal for emotional management. Hold yourself accountable. If you screw up from time to time, then re-calibrate and get back on the right track to making emotional management a skill.
One example of emotional management relates to the old adage, do you see the glass of water as half full or half empty? It’s fine to be realistic and practical about a situation. But you improve the chances of success if you see the glass as half full, with an opportunity to have more in it than that. Positive energy improves your chances and improves your life. Think of positive energy as a muscle. The more you use it the stronger you get in managing your emotions. And when things get chaotic, take a re-centering breath to stay calm in the eye of the storm.