How to handle emotions
Many players are slaves to their emotions , anger , depress , or any other emotion that prevent them from having the performance they should have.
I do not know if this is true , but once someone told me that the word emotion comes from "E + motion " and that means energy in movement, true or not , I think it is very figurative. What is clear is that a strong emotion is a stream of energy flowing like a volcano often from within us , if I stop it, I´ll accumulate, and if I, explodes I´ll loose control of my actions. In adolescence , this lack of control is much more evident because CNS immaturity
An emotion creates a chemical change in the body, if we are happy if we produce endorphins , and when nervous we produce adrenaline, this alters our ability to perceive objectively . To take an obvious example, if you are in love , everything is perfect and if you are depressed everything is ugly and dark, but the objective reality is the same. This means , we create our reality from emotion we are feeling. From a neurophysiological point of view, emotions are automatic response to a given situation.
And from the evolutionarily point of view they are necessary for the survival; meaning that emotions arrives to the executors nerves before rational thought. It is a typical situation where the player smash the racket and then regret the action , i.e. react and then think ,
Any emotion is bad, all have their uses at the appropriate time . What we need to assess is how useful the emotion we are feeling is.
• How can we ask a person to handle their emotions if they haven’t been shown how to ?
• Should we be taught how to manage emotions in school?
• How to identify/put a name to these emotions ?
• And above all how to understand and respect what we are feeling and what others are feeling as well ?
Then , can you control the emotions ?
I think it is bad to curb emotions and also to let them run wild. Trying to restrain your emotions is like taking a punch , you can take it, but it does not mean it's good for you. Or you can let it go with very serious consequences. Then what do we do?
I can think of three scenarios:
1. Control : not express emotion, restrain . If this happens , usually the people who try to bottle up after a while explode and if they don’t, they get sick.
2. Explosion : no filter, so feelings goes unchecked and once released , it is followed by remorse and regret for the damage caused , for example, break a racket. ( at best )
3 . Handling : When we anticipate what can happen , and predispose about it. In my opinion , and from my intuition, we can only handle an emotion if somehow we anticipate it.
Anticipation is the key to the "management " of emotions. Assume and identify the moment when I could get angry or depressed and design a strategy to avoid the situation, are definitely the keys to solving the problem . But it is not only necessary to design the strategy , but to practice it, this means to TAKE A FIRM DECISION to master the strategy.
To handle an emotion I have designed 3 steps :
1 - Identify the emotion
2 - objectify the emotion
3 - Replace the emotion
For this strategy to work , you must have an agreement with the player, because you need to practice just as the particular emotion is manifesting . The logic is that if someone is angry and out of control, it is better to leave him alone . But I propose that this is the ideal time to start to learn to handle the emotion.
Now explain the 3 steps :
The importance of being able to identify the emotion is huge , starting from the premise that " NOTHING EXIST IF YOU CAN NOT DISTINGUISHED IT " if I can define what I'm feeling and if I have the ability to put a name to it , then it will be a lot easier to " handle it "
2 . Objectify .
Means , train to be objective about the situation, ask and answer , if what I'm feeling is helping me to be productive. Is being low/down helping/hindering my chances of winning the match? Is being angry having an impact on my performance ?
3 . Replace
It means take a firm decision to change the emotion that is unproductive. You can not tell me that is not easy.
Now I want you to think of a situation where you do not have choices , imagine an extreme situation, the impulse beyond its limits. For example , if you have to save a loved one in a difficult situation, would you stay in a paralyzing emotion or would you act ?
Changing the emotion is a simple decision. If you don’t, is just an excuse , it means you still think you have margin of error.
In the process of identifying , objectifying and replacing, the coach has to be very careful , first you have to take the player to the emotion you want to change , and at that point has to guide them to identify , objectify and replace the emotion. Only a consensual practice between player and coach makes this possible. Many times the player reaches the moment of emotional outburst and does not accept the Coach’s help . This is why there must be an agreement between the Coach and the Player