“The Creature”- A thing we all fight!
Before I begin, I wanted to let you know that this blog is based on a Players’ Tribune article written by Khris Davis, a current MLB baseball player for the Oakland Athletics. The full article that can be found using this link: https://theplayerstribune.com/khris-davis-oakland-the-creature/
Even though this article is an article about a baseball player, this article hit home for me because not only do many basketball players face this issue, but every person in and out of athletics deals with “the creature”. As Kris explains, “the creature” is “doubts inside yourself that bubble up, right to the surface of your consciousness, when you’re performing a certain action. It’s that tiny voice inside you that somehow takes over at times, whether you like it or not. It’s a million negative thoughts — not even necessarily fully formed, but just present — that appear at the worst possible moment. It saps all of your confidence when you’re about to do something that you know you’re fully capable of doing well.”
Many times I see or work with players who do many things well but for some reason struggle with one particular skill such as a left handed lay-up, a free-throw, or a simple between the legs dribble under pressure. The player is usually embarrassed or frustrated when we work on this particular area. For other players, in practice they are fine, but when they are playing in the game, that is when “the creature” comes out.
The “creature” also can take form in other areas of life such as when giving a classroom speech, or when taking test. We start to overthink, doubt, and worry on what might happen which creates mistakes and results that are worse than what we know we can do.
When this happens, at first, we get ashamed and start to believe that nothing can be done with it, but as Khris points out in the article, once we recognize the creature and come to terms with it, we can actually work at it and improve in whatever area we struggle with.
If you severely struggle with free throws do not hide from it, but instead work on it harder and longer than other areas.
If you do not do great with public speaking, practice movie lines or speeches in front of your family! (you can start with in front of your dog first).
In life, it is tough to struggle and fail at things. As humans we tend to stay away and avoid these situations, which therefore makes the problem worse. Instead, embrace “the creature” for what it is and fight it in the open, and only then can we prevail over our self-doubts!