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Updated: Jul 27, 2021

Long story short, as the NYT reported: “Hope Trautwein of North Texas threw a perfect game that outdid all the others, striking out 21 in seven flawless innings”.  Remarkable enough, yet it was the follow up commentary that caught my eye, Hope said, “I guess I didn’t really register that all of the outs were strikeouts until the end of the game”.

Now, that’s an awesome example of a young athlete regulating their emotions and maintaining a mindful presence in the midst of pressured competition.  As part of my studies at the University of Edinburgh, I remember reading the work of a Prof. Henin on Individual Zones of Optimal Functioning, and if you have the time, here’s some background.  Long story short, Henin neatly discussed what I jokingly call the Goldilocks theory of psychology… “not too hard, not too soft, but just right”.  Now, while Goldilocks was searching for a place to rest her head, Henin was describing the zone where an athlete was excited enough, but not too excited, relaxed enough but, well, not too relaxed.

Ms. Trautwein appears to have nailed that individual zone of optimal functioning, at least as it relates to her on that one occasion and should be an inspiration to us all when we compete.  Concentrated, intense and goal oriented, but without getting uptight or distracted by the performance.  With competition rapidly approaching, let’s remember that no matter how fit we are, how good our four strokes become, that we are only as good as our mental game… and that should be reflected in our preparation.


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