Learning from Legends
Seventy-two teams competed at our eight regional sites on Saturday, February 9‚ an increase of 18% over last year! We have heard many compliments from the presiding judges and scoring jurors regarding the student presentations; your hard work paid off as you demonstrated your knowledge of the law, critical thinking skills, and effective communication. Well done! We hope that you enjoyed the experience and look forward to next season.
I trust that you also found the case topic, sports-related concussions, to be timely and interesting. As a person with a "foot" in both the world of competitive soccer and mock trial, I see many parallels between mock trial competitions and soccer. Mental preparation, hard work, and determination are required to excel in both arenas.
In a magazine for N. C. soccer referees, I recently read an excellent article by eighth grader Cameron Keating, a competitor who enjoys middle school mock trial and excels in soccer (playing on a Premier level U15 team). In fact, Cameron had the opportunity to train with the legendary Mia Hamm last summer and wrote an article describing some of the lessons she learned. I spoke with Cameron's father, Mike, and he has given me permission to share some of Cameron's insights with you; for the entire article, visit their blog at http://www.learningfromlegends.com/front-page-of-paper/
Cameron detailed several "Big Ideas" that she learned from her time with Mia, ideas that apply equally well to success in mock trial as in soccer. Three of them particularly resonated with me: Channel your emotions; Train at the Edge; and Gobble up your mistakes.
In my last blog post, I wrote about adapting to new situations and not being thrown by unexpected events during a mock trial (http://www.ncmocktrial.org/blog/2013/01/goals-expectations-and-adaptability). "Channel your emotions" is another way of looking at it: rather than psyching yourself out when an objection ruling goes against you, or your co-counsel uses up part of your allotted time, the effective advocate or witness will learn to use that stress to refocus and overcome unexpected adversity.
Cameron also learned to "train at the edge." Too often we choose to take it easy, relax, and not really push ourselves to reach that next level of delivering an opening statement without notes, or learning the rule numbers for common objections, or knowing every detail of the witness affidavit inside and out. To reach the next level, you must fully engage with the case material and "train at the edge."
When you take that risk of pushing yourself, you are bound to make lots of mistakes. The first time you try to deliver your opening at team practices without notes, you may stumble and lose your train of thought. But do not retreat; "gobble up your mistake," focus even more intensely, and you will amaze yourself with what you can achieve!
Mock trial, just like soccer, can be a wonderful venue for building habits and skills that will serve you well in whatever path your future holds. Learn to channel your emotions, train at the edge, and gobble your mistakes, and you may someday become the legend who inspires the youth of tomorrow!