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Mentally Tough is the Most Overused Phrase in Sports

Drew Clark

WhiteFlag Athlete & Guest Blogger

We can all admit that losing sucks. We train hard all offseason, pull double days, commit to the weight room and the extra reps, miss important events and memories just to play and practice something that won’t be in our lives forever. We play because we love the game and the everlasting memories and experiences we get while playing it. We meet lifelong friends and make memories we’ll tell our kids one day. We experience different parts of the world when we play and different cultures that bring us together from just a sport. Sure, we're all mentally tough and compete everyday during practice, but sometimes our best just isn’t good enough. And that’s okay.

I really don’t like the saying, “Let’s get 1% better today,” quite frankly, because it’s unrealistic. If I got 1% better every day I’d be playing in the league and not college ball, but guess what, that’s part of the game itself. We have bad days, weeks, months, and sometimes seasons. But what do these struggles come down to?

“You don’t want it enough.”
“You aren’t as mentally tough as the other team.”
“You just don’t want to be here, do you?”

Actually, coach, I care more than everyone here and there's no place I’d rather be. I’m just having a bad day.

Has anyone else ever experienced a situation where there's just no way to tell your coach you have a life outside of the field? And sometimes it’s overwhelming to be at your best that day when you have other obligations going on? I’ve been there, and if you have, too that’s okay. At the end of the day we are humans and we can only be what we are that day when the sun comes up.
I remember one day in junior college I had a terrible day at the ball field. I pitched terribly and got screamed at by my pitching coach and was told that’s why I would never play at that school. Little did he know, that morning before the game I was excused from class to go to the doctor to get put on anti-depression medication. How could I tell him that? I couldn’t, so I wore it and moved on to the next day. But we need to get to a point where we feel comfortable telling our coaches that we struggle off the field and sometimes it affects our performance. We're all humans and just because your coach is your coach doesn’t make him or her better than you.

Next time you go to practice, remember everything you’ve been through to get to the position you’re at. Remember how lucky you are and how many other people wish they were in your shoes. Most importantly, remember you're human and don’t be too hard on yourself. If you have a bad day, forget about it. You're still mentally tough that day.
Keeping all of these feelings and thoughts inside can be stressful when all you want to do is perform. Without anyone to talk to it can be even more stressful, especially when you're worrying about repercussions from your coach or teammates. That’s why I use the WhiteFlag App. It gives me a judgment-free platform to use my voice when I feel like I don’t have one. The conversations I have on WhiteFlag with other athletes in the same situation help me know I’m not alone and that my voice matters and I won't be penalized by my coaches and or teammates. Whatever I can't tell my coach and teammates I know I can trust my fellow athletes on WhiteFlag. At the end of the day all you can do is be the most authentic version of yourself, and that’s exactly what the WhiteFlag App helps me do. Keep being yourself and enjoy where your feet are, I promise it’s a great feeling.

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