This week’s conversation is a throwback. In 2018, sport psychologist Carly Anderson joined the Men’s Curling team for their historic, gold-medal winning run at the Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. She would go on to win the Order of Ikkos Medallion for excellence in coaching.
On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the Winter Games, Dr. Anderson sat down with David Plummer, who himself won Gold and Bronze medals as an individual competitor and part of the U.S. Men’s Swim Team at the 2016 Summer Games, to talk about both of their experiences at the Olympics.
In a wide-ranging conversation about all aspects of competition, the two discussed competing as “mature” athletes, managing emotions and expectations, and setting your own performance narrative on the world stage.
“Sometimes in our field, people will say, ‘I want to be mentally tough or I want to be mentally strong,’ and I often think about it like an oak tree. It’s really strong. It’s durable. But there’s a reason why there aren’t oak trees planted in Florida, where they get 200 mph wind and hurricanes. It’s because they snap and break. And when you send athletes to Olympic games, or to big events, you want them to be mentally adaptable, like a palm tree, engineered to be able to bend and come back up, and to be resilient in those moments. The goal is not to be mentally tough, it’s to be mentally adaptable.”
– Dr. Carly Anderson
– Reframing after disappointments
– Being okay with or without positive outcomes
– Where to direct focus before and during competition
– How to handle the world’s attention
– Mental adaptability
– Handling political distractions
– Olympic culture
– Managing expectations
– Finding a sport/life balance
– Measuring success based on process and controllables
– Writing your own story