This I Believe

Joe - Belmont, Massachusetts
Entered on March 23, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: sports
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Many people believe that your performance in every sport depends completely on skill and strategy instead of state of mind. I believe the state of mind affects your performance in many sports, especially in golf, tennis, and bowling. These sports don’t depend completely on how skilled you are, but on your mental game. The mental approach can also be used in life.

The first lesson my golf instructor taught us when learning how to golf was that strength doesn’t affect how far the ball will go. My dad and I also learned that if you get mad when you’re having a bad game, you will always do worse. Both my dad and I have shot poorly when our mental games were off because of anger or frustration. When we get mad, we either miss our target or miss the ball. This is the result of trying too hard to make up for the mistakes you have made because you weren’t mentally focused in a positive way. The same goes for other sports, too.

In bowling, my coach taught me was that in order to succeed at the game, you must have the right mental approach. The mental game is your ability to focus on your next shot and not worry how the other bowlers are doing, the distractions around you, or your previous shot that you may have messed up on. My bowling team once beat the top team in our league because they gave up. They gave up because we beat them in the first and second games, and they were trying too hard to recover. Their loss is a result of not having a good mental game.

Tennis is another sport that requires mental game to succeed in the game. My dad and I have also experienced this before. Whenever we face off in a father-son match, one of us gets upset because we’re losing. This usually results in over-hitting the ball. One time I was playing my friend in a tennis match and I was losing badly. I got so angry that I threw my racket at the fence and I ended up denting my racket. This is a classic sign of a bad mental game.

The mental approach can also be related to life. When you’re going into a job interview, you should always have a positive attitude instead of being nervous and scared. If you’re confident, you won’t accidentally answer a question the wrong way. This shows that the mental approach can be used in your actions besides sports.

Bowling, golf, and tennis have mental games that affect how you’re doing in the match, tournament, or league. If you have a good mental game you will succeed in these sports and many more. So, the lesson here is that without your mental game, your skills and ability won’t beat the competition that “brought” his mental game. So I believe that in every sport you should always “bring it” or go home.