Macho Mumbo-Jumbo

Pre-game chest thumping, fist pumping, and all things that accompany are culturally acceptable from the macho athlete… unfortunately all the hub bub isn’t worth much once the whistle is blown, puck is dropped, or the ball is put into play.  Predicting the first round knockout, proclaiming a forthcoming championship winning shutout, and hooting and hollering about how an opponent will be crushed are all entertaining to spectators and teammates.  It might even be argued that a big mouth filled with soundbites can shift an opponent from a productive focus to a foolish focus.  These are pretty advanced Jedi mind-tricks however…

Too often bold proclamations are little more than macho mumbo-jumbo.  Shouting from the mountain tops about one’s greatness isn’t positive self-talk.  Predicting domination of an opponent isn’t confidence.  They might appear to be both, close inspection reveals that such boasts and bravado are misguided efforts at toughness.  Yes, they are adored by media-types looking for a little excitement and an engaging story.  Often, they are lauded by the young coach that is unable to see the fire that burns beneath each athletes surface.  Regularly, they are reinforced by the compliments of teammates that enjoy a loose locker room.  As with most things in life however… beauty is on skin deep when it comes to blustery proclamations of future success.

True confidence is well-summed up by Matt Larsen, founder and president of the Modern Army Combatives program at Fort Benning, GA.  In the June issue of FIGHT! magazine he states, “The defining characteristic of a warrior is the willingness to close with the enemy.  Confidence comes from competence.  It is not enough to simply tell soldiers to be aggressive.  They must have faith in their abilities that is build through hard and arduous training and know that they are going to win.”  Talk is cheap.  Quality training builds competence.  Competence leads to confidence.

Let the media adore the soundbites… however don’t feel obligated to give any to them.  Athlete’s shut up, train well, and believe in themselves.  Develop competence first, find the macho mumb0-jumbo later… with competence however the athlete will find little need for chest thumping and fist pumping.

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