Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Don't look at the marshmallow!

Rob Bradlee, head coach at CSU, emailed us some motivation the other day. I thought it was a good message, so I'll just quote.

"I heard an interesting show on the radio today ("On Point" on WBUR) about the subject of delayed gratification. Seems that a researcher did an experiment with four-year old children. They were put in a room with a tasty marshmallow treat on a table. They were told they could have the one marshmallow now, or if they could wait till the researcher got back, they could have two. Some children gave in right away, some made it a little while, and a some waited an entire 15 minutes. How did the "Long Delayers" do it? They did NOT look at the marshmallow. They distracted themselves by singing songs, looking around the room, or playing games. Sitting and looking at the tasty marshmallow just made the temptation to eat it too much to resist. The study subjects were examined 14 years later and it turned out that the Long Delayers were much more successful in school and life in general than those who gave in right away. And it also turns out that their techniques of delaying gratification can be learned.

Cross-country skiers are champs at delayed gratification. No other sport has 8 months of dry-land training for 4 months of being on snow. Nevertheless, we can always improve our ability to delay gratification. What things play the role of the marshmallow in our training and racing? How do we distract ourselves from indulging in those temptations and instead work towards distant goals? What are the marshmallows in being a good student? How do you resist those and get your studying done? Do you have good habits that you can share with your teammates?"

So to all those skiers thinking of that important race nine months away... don't look at the marshmallow...

1 comment:

gewilli said...

i wonder if it applies for cyclcross too... hmmm