Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

"I choked, I caved under the pressure..."


I choked. I caved under the pressure, so I started to collect data from Olympians. What they were telling me was a lot different than what I thought. I was trying as hard as I could on every shot to get it in the 10 ring. I was very outcome oriented, and the Olympic champions were telling me not to be outcome oriented, not to try to win. They said you should try to execute. The process is more important than the outcome.

The quote is from a guy named Lanny Bassham. He's talking about his experience in the 1972 Olympics where he competed in shooting. At the next Olympics, he won.

I came across the quote in a NY Times article about Bassham's work with professional golfers. The quote struck me as relevant for a lot of situations, including orienteering - the idea of focusing on process rather than outcome.

I Googled Bassham and came across his web page where he sells his ideas in a wide range of applications, from shooting to golf to "dog sports" to beauty pageants.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 8:18 PM


If you read any sports psychology book it will tell you exactly the same thing
This topic has been on my mind for a long time.

I completely agree this approach is very applicable, perhaps essential, to orienteering, and probably other sports, such as the shooting sports, and golf. (Actually with golf, I am completely baffled as to how to achieve peak performance in a competive setting.)

However I don't think this "process over outcome" approach applies at to combative or head to head sports. Even in straight running races, I think a focus on winning, or other success goal, during the event, is actually quite essential to peak performance. Still process cannot be completely excluded either. (Biathlon (winter version) might defy categorization.)

On the other hand, I believe there is a very important role for goal oriented focus in orienteering, and most other sports, and that is during training, where I think this provides important motivation and discipline.
The previous post was by EricW
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