As mere mortals, we regularly tend to imagine that medal profitable athletes have all of it found out and that, by some means, the fame and fortune and the adulation of the group makes them full. Matt Anderson, who’s an Olympic bronze medal volleyball participant and regarded to be the most effective on this planet at his craft is aware of that this isn’t at all times the case, and is right here to let you know that everybody can suffer self-doubt, depression, and nervousness even when issues are wanting high quality and dandy to these on the surface.
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 invaluable ideas for the way anybody, at any stage of sport, can be taught the identical classes that he has.
Matt Anderson is on the lads’s indoor volleyball squad for Crew 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 throughout his career.
Success got here comparatively shortly for Anderson, who was scouted for the lads’s U.S. nationwide group throughout his time at West Seneca West Senior Excessive College in upstate New York. He educated onerous, 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 stay in South Korea, however he additionally hung out taking part in 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; unfavourable 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 nations 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 could be the 12 months that the participant wanted to placed on the brakes for the sake of his psychological state.
“I felt lots of strain actually residing on me,” says Anderson. “I used to be actually the all-star of the group and arguably taking part in my finest volleyball on the time, too,” he says with the good thing about hindsight. However the back-to-back competitions and the fixed journey ever since first beginning out with Crew USA in 2009 had lastly taken its toll. “I might go to the fitness center, and I might simply take into consideration residence,” he recollects.
Then, when Anderson lastly did get residence, he admits that he grew to become ashamed of himself as a result of he felt like he hadn’t given his all on the court docket. These harmful emotions, coupled with the truth that he was nonetheless making an attempt to course of the loss of life of his father in 2010, meant that the participant had loads to unpack, and wanted a while and house to lastly do the work for his personal wellbeing’s sake.
Fortuitously, after a number of weeks of digging deep inside himself, Anderson was again on the court docket earlier than the tip 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 here are three necessary ideas that assist Anderson to constantly preserve his head within the recreation:
1. Making Errors Is Half Of The Course of
An skilled athlete should come to phrases with the errors and onerous realities of defeat however thankfully, these negatives could be was positives. “Even on the highest of my accolades as a participant, I nonetheless wrestle with confidence,” shares Anderson. “I believe that’s a part of the perfectionist mindset that I’ve, and I’m at all times specializing in what I did improper versus what I did proper.” The Olympian says that being a profitable volleyball participant offers him confidence when coming into a room so when issues don’t go nicely on the court docket, he takes it onerous and it impacts his very identification as an individual. However he’s additionally discovered methods to cope with sporting losses. Anderson says that with each loss comes knowledge and an opportunity to pause, mirror, and glean details about the place issues went improper, so that he doesn’t make the identical errors once more.
2. Keep Constant By Embracing Change
Athletes discuss incessantly about holding their coaching constant, and this implies sticking to an iron clad routine, however irrespective of who we’re, getting older will convey 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 group with the identical duties, 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 below strain to offer extra time to their households.
“Our teaching workers was onboard with giving us one large coaching (session every day) in order that the blokes who do have households could be with them,” shares Anderson. It is a break from custom, the place gamers would beforehand have accomplished two coaching classes per day.
Now, the champion volleyballer has his head nicely and actually within the recreation due to the tradition of embracing change, and remains to be placing in 100% of the work required. Anderson explains to M&F that he’s on the court docket for round 9am, however earlier than that he hits the fitness center at 7.30 a.m. to offer himself a very good warmup, going via any stretching and mobility work which may be required to arrange him for the day. He leaves the court docket at round 12pm however hits the fitness center as soon as once more for a minimum of an additional hour with a purpose to raise weights. Embracing change is a good way to forge lifelike routines that may be adhered to in the long run. “I additionally attempt to sneak in some date nights with my spouse now and again,” says the balanced athlete.
3. Don’t Overthink (Shield Your Circle)
As a perfectionist and an overthinker, Anderson, similar to many people, could be the sufferer of overthinking. After we fail to only “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 up to now, and has a way which will are available helpful as taught to him by the late, nice, sports activities psychologist, Dr. Ken Ravizza.
“He talked loads with (psychological) footage,” shares Anderson, who says that Ravizza spoke of the sphere 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 at any time when you’re exterior of the circle, however as soon as inside it you should depart these pointless ideas on the surface, the place they belong. “Don’t convey your s**t into the circle,” Ravizza informed Anderson. It was a light-weight hearted approach of creating an necessary level and it nonetheless massively helps the participant to today. Maybe the following pointers might be invaluable to you too.