Story By Noah Miyamae
One of the most important characteristics of an exceptional athlete is short term memory. This attribute, while clearly detrimental outside of sports, is necessary because it allows athletes to thrive at a certain degree of determination and fearlessness. The ability to forget and start over with a new mindset only moments later is almost more important than any tangible, physical trait.
Sports are based off of failure, and the threat of failure is often what causes athletes to shy away from a challenge. However, some of the greatest athletes are the ones with the guts to forget about the inevitable mistakes and focus on that one play that may require absolute focus.
In baseball, failure is inevitable as the baseline for a hitter’s success is 30 percent. This is well below what is acceptable in life, but baseball is a game built on defeat. Hitters attempt to do well in every at-bat, though most will go through frustrating mental lapses. The only way to overcome one of these “slumps” is to not fixate on previous mistakes and work toward improving for the next plate appearance. This concept also applies to more physically demanding sports. For example, in football, the quarterback often has be willing to execute a pass play even if they threw an interception in their last run.
The best way to optimize one’s athletic potential is to forget the past and act courageously in the present. Without a short term memory of sorts, the best athletes would falter in the face of a challenge and remain at a slowly deteriorating skill level.
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