As mere mortals, we regularly tend to imagine that medal profitable athletes have all of it found out and that, one way or the other, the fame and fortune and the adulation of the gang makes them full. Matt Anderson, who’s an Olympic bronze medal volleyball participant and thought of to be among the best on the planet at his craft is aware of that this isn’t all the time the case, and is right here to inform you that everybody can endure self-doubt, melancholy, and anxiousness even when issues are trying effective and dandy to these on the skin.
M&F sat down with Matt Anderson for a frank and courageous dialogue in regards to the psychological challenges that he’s confronted in his stellar profession, and we got here away with some precious ideas for the way anybody, at any stage of sport, can study the identical classes that he has.
Matt Anderson is on the lads’s indoor volleyball squad for Staff USA. He’s a three-time Olympian and took residence a bronze medal on the 2016 video games in Rio de Janeiro. Earlier than that, Anderson was a 2015 World Cup winner, and he’s additionally loved victory in a number of CEV Championship League finals all through his profession.
Success got here comparatively shortly for Anderson, who was scouted for the lads’s U.S. nationwide crew throughout his time at West Seneca West Senior Excessive Faculty in upstate New York. He skilled arduous, and by the point he reached his second 12 months, Matt Anderson had picked up knowledgeable provide and signed a contract with the Hyundai Capital Skywalkers within the Korean League. What adopted was a whirlwind of intense play and journey. Not solely did he reside in South Korea, however he additionally frolicked enjoying in Italy earlier than volleying the ball over in Russia.
All of it sounds just like the profession of an athlete that has the world at his ft and, for probably the most half, that’s true, however similar to the remainder of us; unfavorable ideas can threaten the possibilities of us reaching our full potential. Having moved to Russia, the place his membership gained a bronze medal in that international locations Championship, he was additionally named MVP within the Russian League, however, with all of that success, 2014 proved to be a tough 12 months as Matt Anderson felt on the time that he had underperformed. This may be the 12 months that the participant wanted to placed on the brakes for the sake of his psychological state.
“I felt a number of strain actually residing on me,” says Anderson. “I used to be actually the all-star of the crew and arguably enjoying my finest volleyball on the time, too,” he says with the advantage of hindsight. However the back-to-back competitions and the fixed journey ever since first beginning out with Staff USA in 2009 had lastly taken its toll. “I might go to the health club, and I might simply take into consideration residence,” he recollects.
Then, when Anderson lastly did get residence, he admits that he turned ashamed of himself as a result of he felt like he hadn’t given his all on the courtroom. These harmful emotions, coupled with the truth that he was nonetheless attempting to course of the dying of his father in 2010, meant that the participant had so much to unpack, and wanted a while and area to lastly do the work for his personal wellbeing’s sake.
Thankfully, after a number of weeks of digging deep inside himself, Anderson was again on the courtroom earlier than the top of the identical 12 months that he’d left, in 2014, and though he’s nonetheless engaged on his psychological well being to today, the favored participant is again to his medal profitable finest. Listed below are three necessary ideas that assist Anderson to constantly preserve his head within the sport:
1. Making Errors Is Half Of The Course of
An skilled athlete should come to phrases with the errors and arduous realities of defeat however fortuitously, these negatives might be changed into positives. “Even on the highest of my accolades as a participant, I nonetheless battle with confidence,” shares Anderson. “I believe that’s a part of the perfectionist mindset that I’ve, and I’m all the time specializing in what I did mistaken versus what I did proper.” The Olympian says that being a profitable volleyball participant provides him confidence when getting into a room so when issues don’t go nicely on the courtroom, he takes it arduous and it impacts his very identification as an individual. However he’s additionally discovered methods to take care of sporting losses. Anderson says that with each loss comes knowledge and an opportunity to pause, replicate, and glean details about the place issues went mistaken, so that he doesn’t make the identical errors once more.
2. Keep Constant By Embracing Change
Athletes discuss incessantly about maintaining their coaching constant, and this implies sticking to an iron clad routine, however regardless of who we’re, getting older will carry change. Now aged 36, and with a spouse and two youngsters (aged 3 and 1), Anderson is aware of that his days can not revolve round simply his personal wants. Consequently, he’s tailored his schedule to get probably the most that he can from each sports activities and household.
Now coaching for the 2024 Paris Olympic Video games, Anderson, and different members of his crew with the identical tasks, are being supported by their coaches to fulfill a number of time calls for. This permits gamers to assault coaching with the extreme power and motivation required to carry out on the highest stage with out feeling beneath strain to offer extra time to their households.
“Our teaching workers was onboard with giving us one huge coaching (session every day) in order that the blokes who do have households might be with them,” shares Anderson. It is a break from custom, the place gamers would beforehand have accomplished two coaching periods per day.
Now, the champion volleyballer has his head nicely and really within the sport because of the tradition of embracing change, and continues to be placing in a hundred percent of the work required. Anderson explains to M&F that he’s on the courtroom for round 9am, however earlier than that he hits the health club at 7.30 a.m. to offer himself a very good warmup, going by way of any stretching and mobility work that could be required to organize him for the day. He leaves the courtroom at round 12pm however hits the health club as soon as once more for not less than an additional hour with a purpose to elevate weights. Embracing change is an effective way to forge reasonable routines that may be adhered to in the long run. “I additionally attempt to sneak in some date nights with my spouse occasionally,” says the balanced athlete.
3. Don’t Overthink (Shield Your Circle)
As a perfectionist and an overthinker, Anderson, similar to many people, might be the sufferer of overthinking. Once we fail to simply “go for it” our fixed questioning of ourselves can result in micro-adjustments that derail our efficiency. That is one thing that Anderson has struggled with previously, and has a way that will are available helpful as taught to him by the late, nice, sports activities psychologist, Dr. Ken Ravizza.
“He talked so much with (psychological) photos,” shares Anderson, who says that Ravizza spoke of the sector of play as a circle and that overthinking creates a distracting mound throughout the circle. Anderson goes on to clarify that with this psychological train, you possibly can embrace overthinking each time you might be outdoors of the circle, however as soon as inside it you need to depart these pointless ideas on the skin, the place they belong. “Don’t carry your s**t into the circle,” Ravizza instructed Anderson. It was a lightweight hearted approach of creating an necessary level and it nonetheless massively helps the participant to today. Maybe the following tips might be precious to you too.