Everybody has a little Polonius somewhere inside of them. That judgmental pleaser. Even if you don’t want to admit it, and no matter how small it may be, there is a small Polonius that exists within you. It exists in everybody.
Polonius plays a significant role in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. He is the chief adviser of the king, as well as the father of Ophelia, Hamlet’s true love, and Laertes, Hamlet’s competitor in the final scene. Polonius gives terrible advice and spies on nearly everyone, but that is not the Polonius I am talking about. I am talking about the Polonius that makes numerous wrong judgments over the course of the play and feels he has an obligation to halfheartedly please everybody.
Everybody makes judgments and everybody is a pleaser at one time or another. There is nothing wrong with that, but if you let that side of you show on the field (or court, or track, or pool, etc.), it could prove to be very detrimental towards your game.
Never judge your opponent because, like Polonius, you will be wrong most of the time. It’s always tempting and I do it myself sometimes, but it will only have a negative effect on your mindset. The smart thing to do is study your opponent. If you see somebody big, don’t assume he’s slow. Have it in your mind that he may be slow, but play against him as if he is the fastest guy you have ever faced. Cliché, but true, people are usually not what they seem. On the off-chance that you are correct in your judgment, it could still have a negative effect. How often have you seen less talented teams, or individual athletes, upset the favorite? It happens nearly every day in nearly every sport.
Butler was a Cinderella story two years in a row, as they made it to the National Championship in 2010 and 2011.
You may want to make some judgments if you’re in this kid’s shoes.
There’s nothing better than pleasing somebody that you look up to (your parents, your coaches, etc.). However, playing intentionally to please others is simply not the way to accomplish that feat. What happens when you try to please people? You end up trying too hard and, ultimately, not succeeding. You will show people how great you are just by being you and playing the way you are used to.
That little Polonius, the one that can be found in everybody, will find a way to let himself out. He will try to catch you when you’re off-guard. Just always be aware when you are competing.