Process vs. Results Driven results- I wanted to share an article on the process rather then the results. As we move forward with East Athletics, we will be focusing more on the process and the “WHY” then we will the actual results.
An Article talking about Process vs. Results and what coaches can do to get athletes to believe
When athletes are struggling, the most important action they can take is to stop thinking about the results of their performance. This is easier said than done and may even seem counter-intuitive to what they have ever been taught. However, just as in business, give me two teams of similar abilities and the team that consistently follows the process will perform more consistently with better results (wins) over the team that is focused solely on results.
What happens when you ignore the process?
If an athlete is completely wrapped up in results, at some point those results are going to be unfavorable. At that point, we see the following negative behaviors in athletes without solid mental training:
- Forcing or trying harder
- Excessive training
- Over analyzing
This creates a repeating cycle of unfavorable performance and negative behaviors. Long term, we see even worse performance, more motivation issues, increased injury and in extreme cases, abandoning their sport.
So what is there to do?
The only way to really break this cycle is to stop the cycle completely and start focusing on the only thing that will get an athlete back to their best game: the process of performing well regardless of results. They must trust the process completely, imperfect though it might be, and have fun competing in the sport they love.
To some this sounds a little crazy. But think about art. Think about a painter. A painter might have an idea of what their art will look like, what the end result should be. But a painter can’t think about the finished project while they are painting. The painter has to paint, focusing on every tiny brushstroke, feeling the art, not thinking the art. If he or she thinks about the end result instead of the process of painting, the art will not be art- it will be something that is TRYING to be art. Ultimately the painter must trust the process-that if they focus on the moment, the end result will be a thing of beauty, imperfections and all.
As a coach, here is the process we recommend coaches take with your athlete(s):
- Be realistic – What is the athlete trying to accomplish? Are their goals realistic? Is their perspective based in reality?
- Relate and motivate – Let them know that this is temporary. Use a personal story of how you or one of your athletes overcame performance challenges by trusting in the process.
- Remind them to have fun – Fun doesn’t mean goofing around, it means being totally immersed in what you are doing. If an athlete can connect with having fun, many times they automatically starting trusting the process, playing in the moment, and performing better.
- Give direction – Work with the athlete to use breathing exercises, visualization and other mental training tools to enter a positive mental state. Give them permission to just focus on the process.
- Set specific goals (SMART) – Once an athlete has started trusting the process again, have them set short term goals SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely). These are more task driven than results driven. These goals help give them confidence that they are fully prepared and can trust the process.
- Provide weekly follow-up and coaching – Check in with them, especially at the start to maintain momentum and focus.
Long term, this situation is very preventable if your athletes practice the right mental training techniques.