Training for the Gold (Arousal Control)

As our teenagers adjust to their changing roles in a wide range of interpersonal and family relationships, they often feel a strong pressure towards conformity.

Some become aware that they will soon have to be the generation that must run things or take over.

Looking towards such an enormous responsibility can be frightening but it also requires them to take stock of their lives and view their future goals realistically.

In 2017, we recently had the privilege of participating in the passing of the Queen’s Baton here in the Cayman Islands and many of our youth were honored to be a part of this endeavor.

The Queen’s Baton Relay, is a relay around the world held prior to the beginning of the Commonwealth Games.

The Baton carries a message from the Head of the Commonwealth, currently Queen Elizabeth II.

The Relay traditionally begins at Buckingham Palace in London as a part of the city’s Commonwealth Day festivities.

The Queen entrusts the baton to the first relay runner.

At the Opening Ceremony of the Games, the final relay runner hands the baton back to the Queen or her representative, who reads the message aloud to officially open the Games.

The Queen’s Baton will arrive on the Gold Coast for the XXI Commonwealth Games opening ceremony on the 4th April 2018.

The Queen’s Baton Relay is similar to the Olympic Torch Relay. Cool!

Approximately eight years ago, I was forwarded an email which asked the question, “Have we failed our children or is it our children who have failed us?” Wow!

Perhaps it is safe to say that with the right guidance, support and attention our youth will be equipped to take the baton or in this case, the Queen’s Baton and continue the next “leg of the race” for many years to come.

I strongly believe they can and must for the future hope of our beloved Cayman Islands.

So how do we as the older generation expect them to do so?

Training, Training, Training and more Training!

First, we must help them create achievable goals, show them how to be responsible and shape good character.

Help them to stay focused, disciplined and optimistic-constantly learning.

Teach them to believe in others; maintaining balance, humility, courage and ultimately achieve individual growth which automatically leads to collective growth in our communities.

These are just a few points that are easy to write but requires action to execute. Talk is cheap- Action is expensive!

According to Terry Orlick theoretical review of 1990. He vividly describes what is at the core for the sports performer in search of excellence. They include:

• A sense of mastery-the feelings of grace, power, accuracy, speed and control of particular movements and skill.

• A sense of achievement- with executing a skill, accomplishing a specific tactical ploy, or following through a pre-planned routine.

• A search for perfection-to excel, perform consistently, improve, attain high standards, surpass previous personal bests.

• Delivering a statement about yourself-through style, creativity and expression.

• Putting yourself to the test-meeting a challenge, putting yourself on the line, testing your nerve, to cope, to struggle, to overcome the odds, to explore your potential, to be at the frontiers of the unknown.

• Drawing on reserves-to dig in, stretch yourself to the limit, to give all you have, to emerge invigorated.

• Sharing with others-the exhilaration of success, the acknowledgement of joint effort and celebration of the team culture.

Creating achievable goals like the ones above can sometimes be daunting to an adolescent who is very sensitive to their social world.

They generally seek to adapt to the environment in which they live.

However; getting them involved in any of the numerous programmes and organizations in the Cayman Islands is the first step towards success.

Secondly, we must show them how to be responsible citizens with good character- holding them accountable for their actions.

Phillip Baker eloquently said, “The concept of character is often quoted but seldom practiced”.

Talk is cheap but doing makes the difference!

In this regard, character seems to be the forgotten words of our generation.

Character separates the mature from the juvenile, the champions from the mediocre, and the true leaders from the masses of pretenders.

Character cannot be measured by votes, record sales, congregation size, or bank balances.

It is both the most needed and the most underrated building bloke of our society.

The general character of a nation will help it to progress economically while protecting its citizens from social disintegration.

Subsequently we will need them to stay focus and discipline.

Proverbs 12:1 states, “Whoever loves discipline, loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid” I doubt anyone wants to be labeled as stupid.

The realization of their goal is all-important and to see it materialized will absolutely require them to be focused and discipline.

The ability to concentrate always brings results.

Another Sports Psychological theory I learnt was called Arousal Control. Interesting right?

When an athlete is faced with a situation which is potentially stressful, confrontational or dangerous he or she will almost always react with increased arousal.

Some examples are as follows:

• The individual anticipates the possibility of harm, either physically (e.g. pain) or psychologically (e.g. humiliation).

• Physiological changes rapidly occur which prepare the body to face up to the confrontation, including raised heart rate, increased perspiration, increased respiration rate.

Much has been written about the relationship between arousal and subsequent performance.

Traditionally it is thought that a certain level of arousal is beneficial to performance.

That explains why many athletes practice warming up and psyching up strategies to raise the level of arousal.

I was also fascinated by the fact that many athletes often recognize that they do not perform well when under aroused or when they do not anticipate a confrontation or challenge.

Under estimating the competition leading to lack of arousal often results in below par performances.

Over arousal is also thought to interfere with the athlete’s performance.

It is generally recognized as causing deterioration in performance and this is crucial.

It may be gradual (and therefore manageable) or catastrophic (and therefore unmanageable) as suggested by Lew Hardy theoretical review of 1990.

He also goes on to say that the athlete may be consumed with doubt (cognitively anxious) and therefore the deterioration is likely to be rapid and irretrievable or irreversible, however if the athlete shows little cognitive anxiety the deterioration may likely be more gradual and therefore redeemable. Cool!

I guess for me, the question is, how do you control your arousal levels?

Apparently, control is very essential and arriving at an optimum level of arousal demands that the athlete has the ability to regulate their arousal levels. Hhmmm.

This may mean increasing arousal on some occasions and decreasing arousal on others.

An athlete who recognizes his optimum level for the task and has the techniques to modify his arousal to meet this optimum is clearly enhancing his or her chances of performing well.

During the month of April in the year 2010, we were proud as a country to host the XXXIX Carifta Games which is held every year, right here in the Caribbean.

We saw many athletes from the other Caribbean countries as well as our own, showcase the results of their training and perseverance.

I could only look-on in admiration since I am not an athlete. I felt proud of my role as a Marshall and meet a group of great people whom I worked with.

Remember, focus, discipline and my new term ‘arousal control’ is needed, even if you are sitting an exam, making it through a negotiation process, writing a book, making a movie, dating a really hot guy or simply losing weight.

Concentration always yields results! Seeing results then brings out the sunshine in an otherwise cloudy day.

Our optimism skyrockets and we feel better equipped to move forward. Optimism is believing that despite everything, there is more going for you than against you.

Now I’m excited to report that the Cayman Islands will once again be hosting the Flow CARIFTA Games.

This would be the third time for the Cayman Islands to host the games, after doing so for the first time in 1995 and then more recently in 2010, when 13 CARIFTA Games records were broken.

The CaymanCARIFTA2019 will mark the 48th running of the CARIFTA Games. Mr. Austin Sealy inaugurated the event in 1972.  The Games promoted relationships between the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean after the dissolution of the West Indies Federation.  This marked the transition from Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

When is CARIFTA? and What Rules Govern?

The CARIFTA Games usually occur during the Easter weekend – April 20-22, 2019 – and can include over 150 events.  The Games are contested in two age categories: under-17 and under-20 girls and boys.  The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) guidelines and rules govern the meet.  Each country may enter two athletes per event; up to six athletes for relays (including 2 substitutes) and three athletes in the combined events.

It is one of the best Youth Development meets in world athletics.  College and University coaches and scouts from the United States use the meet for identifying up-and-coming athletes.

Past CARIFTA Accomplishments:

The CARIFTA Games have produced notable World Record holders including Usain Bolt (Jamaica) and Darrel Brown (Trinidad & Tobago), World and Olympic Champions such as Veronica Campbell-Brown (Jamaica), Kim Collins (St Kitts-Nevis), Pauline Davis-Thompson (Bahamas), Alleyne Francique (Grenada), Obadele Thompson (Barbados), Kirani James (Grenada), Tonique Williams (Bahamas) and Ato Boldon (Trinidad & Tobago).

The Games are hosted directly under the auspices of the North and Central American and Caribbean Confederation (NACAC) of the IAAF.

Now ladies, believe me when I say there are no small parts to play when it comes to the career of being a woman. Each of us has been carefully crafted, intricately designed by God, to fulfill what He views a crucial call in the big picture of this thing we call life.

The real news is that life is one big movie, God wrote the script, He is the director, and we all have our part to play. We were created to be what we are as women.

A man spends his entire life looking for his missing rib. There is something missing within him, and we are it!

what men want
Passed up for a well-deserved promotion, sports agent Ali Davis wonders what else she needs to do to succeed in a man’s world. Hoping to find answers from a psychic, Ali drinks a weird concoction that suddenly allows her to hear what men are thinking. Using her newfound ability, Ali starts to turn the tables on her obnoxious male colleagues while racing to sign the next basketball superstar.

The missing piece that completes the circle of love and well-being in his world.

Children are comforted by the ability to return to the comfort and security of their mothers.

This is all of God’s incredible thoughtful design when He fashion us as women.

Psalm 139:13-18 states,

13 For you form my inward parts; you covered me in my mother’s womb.

14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works. And that my soul knows very well.

15 My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in your book, they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.

17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!

18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake (as if from a dream), I am still with You.

Do we as women need men? Of course, we do.

I think it is healthy to have a network of platonic male friends. We need to learn a lot about men in order to have an enduring relationship with that one special person.

True friendship, minus the pressure associated with a committed, romantic relationship, is the best way to learn how men think, feel, and behave in various situations.

Now this is what I call real arousal control. Especially if he’s ridiculously hot!

There are rich friendships to be had with men.

Many men are loyal, honest, and refreshing to be around.

They also share another view of life and offer interesting alternatives to problems.

So, let us teach our youth humility, balance, and here’s my new favorite phrase, ‘arousal control’, courage and self-worth.

Encouraging them to believe in their fellow neighbors and promote positive change.

For in this process we truly find the diamonds in the rough.

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