May 13, 2014 by Dave Lefebre
Editor’s Note: The writer's opinions and observations expressed here are his own, and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views, policies or positions of FLW. Back in my band days, I was focused on playing music. I practiced every waking minute. I wanted to be the best. I breathed, ate and slept music. When I made even the slightest mistake I was extremely critical of myself and worked even harder to make sure it never happened again. There were very few things out of my control that could happen. I felt that if I worked extra hard, nothing could go wrong other than the occasional broken stick or string. I also had no distractions in those days. In 2002, when I started to dabble in the bigger bass tournaments with their bigger payouts, I had to make a choice. I was not going to do anything 50/50, and I made a decision to jump into this sport all the way. When I qualified for both B.A.S.S. and the FLW Tour as a rookie, I quit the band and once again was 100 percent focused on something, again, with few distractions … repeat first paragraph. At this point in my career, I’m not only more distracted, but the “uncontrollables” are working overtime. Bad things have been happening and at the worst possible times. Absolutely, I still want to win every time I’m on the water, and I work just as hard as I ever did, but overcoming distractions and the many unmanageable situations has just not been the case with me lately. Some guys can still perform at a high level with distractions all around them. Take Kevin VanDam, for example. He has dominated at times even while flying from one place to the next, appearing to be spread out way too thin. My plate, however, needs to be a bit cleaner, and my attention needs to be more narrowly focused on fishing. As far as the uncontrollables are concerned, well, that’s just the way this sport is. Everybody knows that. You simply can’t let them drag you down. All you can do is have confidence in your equipment and trust it, as I do. The Walmart FLW Tour has the best fishermen in the sport. The ratio of potential “winners” to “donators” is higher here than anywhere else. If you crack, or open the door even a little, you can automatically assume somebody is going to jump through and bury you up to your eyeballs. It’s no big secret; I’m in the middle of the worst season of my 12-year fishing career. I know things can turn around with one win tomorrow, but that’s not what my career has been based on to this point, and it’s certainly not what makes me tick. Not that a big win wouldn’t be welcomed, but consistency has always been my ambition. To not be performing at the highest level in the sport right now is a tough pill for me to swallow. In this game you can’t run on autopilot as I’ve been doing. You can’t dwell on the negatives or on what happened in the past – it’s done. I’ve allowed doubt to filter in, and negative thoughts have consumed me, even during tournament days when the first uncontrollable of the morning strikes. I had a forgettable (uncontrollable) first day to the season, and it has snowballed downhill since. Why? Because I allowed it to. Coincidentally, I was also launching a new business at the same time, which required an immense amount of work and attention – another big distraction. Despite all of this, I know what it means to have rock-solid positive mental attitude. I know how important having a strong work ethic and unshakeable focus is in order to compete at this level. I know these things, even preached the lessons to others over the years. Confidence, perseverance and belief are practically everything. The first step toward treatment and recovery is to diagnose the problem. I don’t know why, but I feel a fresh fire in my gut all of the sudden. I’m going fishing now. Follow Dave on Facebook and see his stats on his FLW Profile.