This clip changed how I see sports.

Jeremy Wolf

In Practice
July 26, 2023
Written by Jeremy Wolf, co-founder of MindReady

This clip changed how I see sports.

Not because I had never seen emotion on the field before, I have; I was a really emotional athlete myself. But when I watched this, something stood out to me. Go ahead, watch.

Did you see it?

Watch it again. Right there, at the :22 second mark. That, right there, is what I miss the most about playing sports... that to me is pure bliss.

Watch it one more time. Did you see her reaction at :35 seconds? That is the feeling of pure emotion. That is what we strive for as athletes.

In the depths of my career, I struggled immensely with harnessing my emotions to fuel and support me. I didn't seek feeling like Hannah did after that goal. My emotions overpowered me, manifesting as an unrelenting inner voice that constantly belittled and held me back. Comparison was my thief of joy. These emotions acted as my inner-saboteur, hindering my progress and leaving me feeling inadequate and incapable of achieving my goals.

Looking back now, I am grateful to have overcome this emotional turmoil. It required a great deal of hard work, self-reflection, and resilience, but I finally learned to understand failure and its profound lessons. Perhaps my experience as an athlete contributed to this growth, or maybe it was the wisdom gained from the trials and tribulations of failure itself.

✨ Sport has the power to teach you how to transcend boundaries. Find your emotion and use it to fuel you.✨

Embracing Vulnerability
Learning to harness emotions begins with acknowledging their existence and embracing vulnerability. I used to view vulnerability as a sign of weakness, but I came to realize that it is an inherent part of being human.

In Practice
By accepting and expressing our emotions, we can confront and address them head-on. This shift in perspective allows us to build a stronger connection with our own self and others, leading to a newfound emotional balance.

Confronting the Inner Saboteur
The incessant self-doubt and negative inner monologue were, in reality, my own worst enemy. Identifying this inner-saboteur was crucial in gaining control over my emotions.

In Practice
Whenever those thoughts resurfaced, I learned to question their validity and challenge them with evidence to the contrary. Slowly but surely, the grip of self-sabotage loosened, granting me greater mental clarity and self-assurance.

"Our thoughts our just clouds, passing through mountains" - Zach Penprase

Faith in Failure
Failure, though painful, can been one of our greatest teachers. As an athlete, I encountered numerous setbacks and defeats. Each misstep presented an opportunity for growth and learning.

In Practice
Instead of viewing failure as a dead-end, I started appreciating it as a detour leading to an alternative route for improvement. Embracing failure with an open mind allowed me to glean insights, develop resilience, and foster determination to bounce back stronger.

  1. Take a deep breath.
  2. Acknowledge it.
  3. Learn.
  4. Move forward.

Cultivating Emotional Resilience
Developing emotional resilience is an ongoing process that requires consistent effort and practice. It's not going to come overnight. Of the many things we can do to improve our reaction to setbacks, this is certainly at the top of the list.

In Practice
Incorporate various techniques into your daily routine, such as mindfulness exercises, meditation, and journaling. These practices helped me recognize and understand my emotions without letting them consume me entirely. Over time, I became better equipped to navigate life's challenges and maintain composure during difficult situations.

Empathy and Compassion
As I learned to embrace my own emotions, I also became more empathetic and compassionate towards others' struggles. Understanding the universality of human emotions allowed me to connect with people on a deeper level, both personally and professionally.

In Practice
By supporting others in their journey through failure, I found greater fulfillment in helping them overcome their obstacles.

As we witness the emotional rollercoaster of the Women's World Cup and reflect back on our own careers or our children's journeys in sports, let us celebrate the triumphs, acknowledge the setbacks, and cherish the unyielding spirit of athletics. In doing so, we can learn to embrace the true essence of sports - a universal language that unites us all.

Give yourself some grace today.