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Positivity Dec 8th, 2009

By Pavan Sandhu

In sports we need to remain positive in order to ensure our goals are achieved. Positivity contributes to our success. I have had many instances in Biathlon and cross country skiing where positivity has made even the worst situations positive. When we are positive we allow ourselves to think of the positives in our lives, rather than the negatives. Focusing on the positives makes us believe that we are able to achieve our goals. When we start focusing on the negatives we tend to suffer. We aren't happy with our performance, our abilities, and we may think of ourselves as insufficient or inferior to others. With this mentality it is very difficult to succeed in sports. When we start thinking and training with a positive attitude we ultimately will be able to achieve our goals, and become successful athletes.

The past two years being in Biathlon I have learned and have been told many of times that in order to be successful and appreciate yourself as a biathlete you have to be positive. This isn't to say that I'm positive 100% of the time, no one should be, and it's probably not healthy. As an athlete I have difficulties trying to focus on the positives because the negatives are always present. Let's say I have a knack for spotting the negatives in a situation, but despite this you need to try and get these thoughts out of your head. I have had good races and bad races and thinking back to them I would have to say I had good races because I was being positive. I had one really good race last year where I placed 4th in my category. I remember before the race I was panicking, and worrying myself. I was getting butterflies in my stomach and I didn't know what to do. Everyone was around and talking about the race and going on and on, and I couldn't handle all the thoughts around me. So I decided to go do my warm-up on my own. During this warm up I essentially was talking to myself. I was telling myself my race plan, what I'm good at skiing wise, and going over my range procedure. Overall I was positive self talking. By the time I got to the start line I did have butterflies, but I was in control of my thoughts, and in control of myself. I had shot really well in this race, and by the end of the race I had a great result because of this positive talking. This was probably the best race I had last season. After this race I had let the negatives that I found in myself and around me consume me which led to bad race results and an overall bad attitude. I began to notice how others around me were improving so fast compared to me. I was thinking of myself as an inferior athlete to the other racers. I just wasn't improving, I thought of myself as slow, and a bad shooter. I was so angry with myself that I was the only athlete on the Canmore team to not make it to Nationals. I was getting so frustrated with myself. During the month off in April, and being away from biathlon, I had a chance to do some thinking. This is where I started to change my attitude. I reflected, and made goals, positive goals, which would help me, improve my personal goals, training goals, and racing goals.

This season I have changed some of my perspective. Rather than thinking of the negatives I have turned these negatives into positives. Rather than getting angry with myself because others are improving I have decided to others as my goal or inspiration. I try to keep up with the girls who are more advanced than me, and by doing this I believe that I can improve myself as an athlete. I recently have received help to improve my shooting abilities. I have had my rifle adjusted and fitted to me, learned some shooting technique and now I am starting to shoot good groups, and shooting all my targets. Despite these positives I continue to face negatives, but I don't focus on them, rather I try to turn the negatives to positives.

In Biathlon, and life in general we will all face negatives that are difficult and at times these negatives can consume our lives. Choosing to be positive rather than negative makes life better and difficult situations not as bad. Ultimately it is our choice to be positive or negative but when we choose to be positive we benefit and are able to be happy with ourselves as an athlete, and as a person.