Mental Training Part 1 - Tips And Techniques
Many sports not only require physical skills, but a strong
mental game as well. Most coaches believe that sports are
90% mental and only 10% physical. Especially in sports where
hundredths of a second or tenths of an inch separate the champions
from the mediocre athletes, an extra edge can be extremely
crucial. Hence, numerous athletes are turning towards mental
imagery to take their game to the next level. Different uses
of imagery in sport include: mental practice of specific performance
skills, improving confidence and positive thinking, problem
solving, controlling arousal and anxiety, performance review
and analysis, preparation for performance, and maintaining
mental freshness during injury (Porter & Foster, 1990). This
article focuses on tools for improving confidence and staying
Training the mind is simple but it takes is consistency,
patience and little bit of time each day. Here are some common
tools for improving your confidence and training your mental
Attitude is everything. Poor attitude = poor performance.
The mind body connection is so strong that our thoughts can
effect our emotions, our physical abilities and our performance.
If you don't think you can do it you can't. It is that
simple. Practice positive thinking and negative thought blocking
every single day. Over time you can train your minds eye to
see the world with more confidence and positive perspective.
For some people this may seem as difficult as the physical
training required for their sport but we all have the power
to improve this skill with practice. We have all heard of
amazing human feats of strength that occur all with
the amazing power of positive thought.
Visualizations. Perfect practice makes perfect performance
on the track, in the court and in your minds eye. This powerful
tool needs to be practiced consistently in order to sharpen
your skills. By visualizing a perfect practice or skill you
can continue your training program without additional fatigue.
Studies have shown activity can occur within the musculoskeletal
and nervous systems during visualization. Visualization techniques
are also very useful for relaxation and calming nerves before
events. Injured athletes can benefit from the power of visualization
when they may not be able to physically practice their skills/event.
Mantras. The powerful phrases, words that are presented
to your mind repeatedly can have a huge effect on attitude
and performance. If you tell yourself you are weak, tired,
& pathetic over and over and over...how would that make you
feel? The opposite is also true. Preparing for an event should
include verbal and written mantras that are visible, dynamic
and powerful. Words such as STRONG, POWERFUL, SMOOTH, FAST,
FLOWING etc are examples of mantras that may work for you.
The important thing is selecting a word or short phrase that
resonates with you. Repeating this word during your practices,
and events can become an excellent tool for positive performance.
Event Preparation. There is more to a good performance
then simply hard physical training. Your event will always
be won in your head regardless of finishing times and
places. Start practicing your mental homework...
Here is a checklist for training your mind for your next
Competition Rehearsal. Weekly or daily begin visualizing
your event morning, event start, different sections of the
event/race, finish line/end of event (tall, strong, smiling,
powerful), visualize everything in detail with smells
and sounds. Be sure to visualize potential issues that may
arise on the day of competition and picture yourself
overcoming each of these obstacles without issue. You must
be prepared for the good and the not so good to avoid disappointment.
Gear. Wear something that makes you feel fast or inspires
you! Pick a colour or image that gets you moving (flames,
Inspirational mantras. Write positive words, with movement
to them, that motivate and inspire you power, flow,
courage, I am ready, I am strong, I am fit, I am happy, smile!
Leave these words where you will see them computer,
Inspiration elsewhere. MUSIC! Make a favorite play
list that makes you want to sing or dance! Play it all the
time while you are preparing for your event. On the way to
the event, before, during and after your training sessions
and during your warm up.
Reward. Have it all lined up. Perfect finish or no
finish, win or no win be sure to have a reward for reaching
your goal of getting to the start line.
Find out what motivates you and keeps passion in your training
and competition. Keep it consistent, positive and personal
and you will begin to unleash the power of the mind!
Sarah Seads B.A. Kinesiology, is the owner of Equilibrium
Lifestyle Management, based in the Comox Valley, BC, Canada.
She provides fun Fitness Adventures and Personal Training
Services in person and online. For more information visit
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