I know that is a Bret Bielema quote…or at least that’s the person Arkansas fans heard utter that phrase the most frequently. But Bret didn’t invent that phrase. And, regardless of where that quote did originate, it is obviously and absolutely true.
I am not a coach. At least in athletics. (Well, I do teach golf to kids as a volunteer…and I coached my daughter…but that hardly counts). But, I am a coach in the musical universe, and I understand this tendency to collapse in the fourth quarter and its causes all-too-well. Its simply called fear. Or, in my world, stage fright.
I have singers all the time that sing great in lessons. And rehearsals. And even in not-so-important performances. But when the lights are brightest, stage fright does grab some people. They forget their words. or even their pitches and rhythms. Their throats close up. They go flat. Or sharp. I’ve seen crazy stuff happen. You try to prepare and prepare as a conductor…but if the moment get’s too intense, some performers just struggle.
And, once you falter under pressure, it increases the odds of another collapse. One baritone we had at CofC recently left the field of music altogether because he just kept collapsing under pressure…with one collapse leading to another. He’s in NY now living with his parents.
This is what’s going on with the Hogs. Fear of failure. Plain and simple. Intense fear at that. It began with this group of kids a few seasons ago…under a different staff. But changing coaches doesn’t rid someone of the fear.
What is the way out? There are a zillion techniques. Some work better than others.
But the only CURE is to keep putting yourself in the situation and fight your way to a successful outcome (or maybe, RELAX your way to a successful outcome). Its a little like hitting a golf ball or shooting free throws. “Trying harder” may not solve the problem (might even make it worse).
No…you simply have to use whatever techniques you believe in and ultimately have a successful outcome…then BUILD ON THAT.
AKA, confidence is earned.
So…I suspect this is going to plague our Hogs until we finally manage to hang on. Then, with that bit of confidence, maybe we can hang on the nest time…and ultimately build some confidence. And replace the fear that is so obviously there…from the last few YEARS.
Here’s hoping we go into the 4th Q today with yet another lead…and hang on this time. I for one don’t want us behind in the 4th Q. That feels like an even bigger formula for a loss.