Coach Doaty on Interpretation and Response Management


Randal S. Doaty
Focus & Attitude Coach
BIMPS4 Software Co-Developer

   Have you ever met someone with a poor attitude? In all likelihood, you know very little about their attitude. What you are probably experiencing is their response to how they choose to interpret their present circumstances or respond to their current situation. If an individual is rude, irritated, anxious, obnoxious and generally unbearable to be near, they are often accused of having a poor attitude. In reality, you don’t have a problem with their attitude – you object to their outward response.

   Attitude is one of the four key elements to success in the sport of basketball from a Focus & Attitude coaching perspective. We refer to this as a player’s mental charge. Their mental charge can be positive, neutral or negative. Their ability to perform as an athlete is affected by their attitude in a big way. This is why it is essential for an athlete to understand the art of attitude control and response management. If you believe that a positive attitude is the key to sports success, I would disagree. Optimal athletic performance occurs when an athlete is in a neutral mental state. This is the most difficult athletic state to maintain!

   Controlling you mental charge comes down to “interpretation”. How we choose to interpret our circumstances or an event is the catalyst for the resulting mental charge. If a ref makes a bad call and you choose to interpret that call as an intentional bias against you or your team, you will quickly develop a negative charge and probably have an obvious negative external response. If, however, you are indifferent to the bad call and recognize it as ordinary human error, you can remain in a neutral mental state. Interpretation is your choice.

   I have watched basketball players that I consider to be superstars crumble under the weight of their own poor interpretations. An overly high positive charge or extremely strong negative charge can rob an athlete of access to their muscle memory skills, their athletic reasoning and every other athletic asset that makes them a great player. The job of the Focus & Attitude Coach is to offer situational interpretation and response training and management. Every Superman or Superwoman has their kryptonite – is your attitude yours?

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