I live in Illinois and in the winter, it can get really cold. So, we set the thermostat to control our heat. If we don’t use the thermostat to actively control our temperature, then our house could get freezing cold in the winter and sizzling hot in the summer.

A thermostat doesn’t control the temperature, it simply measures it. When we’re competing in our sport, it’s better to be like the thermostat than the thermometer. During our state playoff runs in volleyball, we played in some gyms where our opponent had a lot of loud and energetic fans cheering for their team. If we didn’t control our emotions, we could have easily felt overwhelmed or intimidated.

Instead, we went in with the mindset that we were going to control our emotions to stay positive and feed off the energy in the gym. This was especially helpful my senior year in high school in our Elite 8 matchup against one of our big rivals, where we saved three match points and eventually won the third set 28-26 to advance downstate to the Final 4.

Here’s a few ideas on being like the thermostat instead of the thermometer when you compete:

  • Have a theme for the season or game to keep you focused (One Team; This is our house; The best us; Stronger together)
  • Talk about the situation before you get into it (big crowd, loud fans, other team’s strategy against us, keys to success)
  • Keep a list of the 2-3 most important things that you do for your team and review them before each game (”I communicate with my teammates quickly and confidently”; “I keep my elbow in and follow through with my wrist on my jump shot).

Most important, if something doesn’t go your way, mentally move on and be ready for the next play. That will keep you hotter than Arizona asphalt in August!

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