Playing with Emotion

If you are someone that reads these posts every week, you'll find out pretty quickly that I like to write about things that have just happened in sports and elsewhere.  After all, I draw inspiration from certain things that interest me and I hope that readers are as interested as I am.  Today I feel inspired by the feat of Derrick Rose and his career high of 50 points last night for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

If you don't know his story, Derrick Rose has been through quite the journey.  He was a highly sought after college player and played his way into becoming the 2011 NBA MVP.  His talent and athletic ability spoke for itself.  Rose then tore his ACL and tore his meniscus twice.  Whether it was physically or mentally, he seemed to have lost his edge and didn't look like the Derrick Rose that won the MVP.  Recovering from injuries of that sort can require lots of mental and emotional support, but I'll dive into that part of sport psychology at another time.  Fast forward to last night, after he had been shuffled to a couple of different teams and viewed as a player bound to never reach his full potential, he has one of the best games of his career.  What struck a chord with me wasn't the full story about his recovery and pitfalls along the way, but it was the raw emotion he showed after the game was done.

You can imagine that he had years and years of emotion bottled up like self-doubt, frustration, and maybe even fear.  After last night's game, the recognition that he can perform the way he used to seemed overwhelming to him.  I think that, for a long time, Rose was playing with those negative emotions.  Emotions can affect every part of your game: motivation, confidence, focus, relationships with teammates etc.  If you do things with negative emotions and expect to be pleasantly surprised one day when you find success, you may be waiting a very long time.  Generally emotional control will come first, and your performance is the product (but there certainly are situations when you need to perform when you don't "feel good").  So if you have a problem with negative emotions overcoming you in what you do, I suggest you try to address that as soon as possible.

Where does emotion come from in sports or the performance circle?  Emotion comes from PASSION for what you do.  If we don't care whether we succeed or not, then we won't feel negative emotions when things don't go our way.  If you love something and you work for it, then you will feel emotional about it.  The first thing Derrick Rose says in the interview(click here to watch), while fighting back tears, is how hard he has worked.  He is definitely passionate about the game and wants to do well, which fuels his emotions.  The great ones use that passion and decide to focus on positive emotions, which creates great performances.  It's common to see players and coaches become afraid of emotions.  I would say there's no reason to be.  Train yourself to choose positive energy every time, free your body to do what you've worked for, and your performance or your team's performance will benefit. 


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