On the last night of bootcamp, we were lucky enough to have former NHLer Zarley Zalapsky join our 2 hour session. First of all, the dude is a brick house, he's huge. It is remarkable how a professional athlete can pick up new skills as quickly as Z did. On court there wasn't anything to brag about yet, but Z has agreed to help our squash team get to the next level, something that I am very excited about.
Z came out for drinks with us after bootcamp and I picked his brain all night. He told me about the 88 Olympics, getting drafted by the Penguins, playing with Mario Lemieux, playing for Hartford and for the Flames then heading to Switzerland. Z also picked my brain about how I've improved at squash and our team. I told him that this is our first losing season in 4 years of playing together. Instantly, he had a solution and it was simple, it isn't easy, but its simple.
He said that I need to change the way I think. And the first thing I need to do is to be positive. My reply was that I am positive, but he said that there are ways to be more positive. He said that Mario didn't speak unless Mario had something positive to say, and not only that, but if a mistake was made, it was accepted and then he moved on. Anything negative was not allowed to linger. So lesson 1, be like Mario. Positive thinking isn't about being happy and high fives or making friends. Being positive is about understanding what you want and feeling good about the decisions you make to get there. It's about accepting that mistakes will be made, there will be set backs and we may not get what we want, and then to move on and keep at it. He spoke a lot about over thinking, and not allowing myself the opportunity to just do what I train to. We talked about focusing my energy on execution and not the process. Being positive is an all the time thing, it's about removing the things from my life that drain me emotionally. Trusting myself, taking care of myself first and it's when I am completely selfish, that's when I can start to worrying about everyone else and then be selfless. Its too easy to have someone else be the hero, and I need to step up and really trust that I am good enough. So yah, it's simple... Be positive and trust myself.
Let's see how this will play out, Zarley is a real Champion with so much to offer us. Hopefully we can help him improve his squash game too.