International Mental Game Coaching AssociationIMGCA official website
Member Login

IMGCA Article - The Mental Game of Sports


Seven Ways to Access Peak Performance

Susan Dunn, M. A.

1. Practice. Obviously if you want to learn to play the piano, you have to practice, but studies show that mental practice may be as important as physical practice. Visualize yourself performing the act you have in mind perfectly, and you'll come closer to it. Mental rehearsal can improve your self-confidence and your attitude toward what you want to do is very important.

2. Studies show that emotion plays a part in learning and memory. A basic example of this is touching a hot stove--it hurts, so you tend to learn it immediately and forever. Anxiety is another emotion that makes a difference, because if you're anxious you can't concentrate well. It stands to reason, therefore, that increasing your emotional intelligence (EQ)--your ability to handle your emotions and those of others--will affect your ability to learn and to perform.

3. Also learn to control your self-talk; it's crucial in your ability to learn and to perform. If you start out saying "I can't do this" or "I hate this" it's going to affect your ability to assimilate new information and to perform.

4. Strengthen your 'brain muscle' with exercise. Try HappyNeuron for some happy stimulation. Try new things. Work puzzles and mazes. Increase your reaction time.

Increase your flexibility by broadening into areas you aren't familiar with. Drive to work a new way. Dip into a field you know nothing about. Talk to someone you ordinarily wouldn't talk to. Learn a new language. 'You don't know what you don't know' so expand into those areas and find out what you really don't know.

Use it or lose it; your brain needs stimulation and new things. When you learn something new, you're actually forming new pathways. Give yourself plenty of "brain food." Take a course. Learn a new motor skill. Keep yourself out and about. Be open to trying and learning new things. Learning something new makes it easier to learn something new! And do the 'meta-practice'--practice adjusting to new things. Get the right kind of stimulation from people, and the converse is also true -- some people provide a negative drag. Avoid them.

Work out both sides of your brain. Traditional study will improve the left-brain--analytical, logical and reasoning. Music, art, poetry and myths will work out the right-brain. You need both, and you need good communication between the two.

5. Use music. We've all heard about the "Mozart effect." The validity of listening to Mozart hasn't exactly been proven, but we do know that music can soothe us (new age) and hype us up (rap). Experiment! It's certainly good for the right-brain.

6. Certain drugs can increase oxygen flow to the brain and/or increase blood flow, but they should be used judiciously as some can be harmful or lethal. The results still aren't in yet on St. John's Wort for depression, or gingko biloba for Alzheimer's disease. Stay up on the research and check it out.

7. Practice extreme self-care. What you eat and how you exercise affect your brain just as they affect every other organ in your body. We know that aerobic exercise can improve scores on some types of creativity tests. It will also, of course, improve your self-confidence to exercise, eat right and be in top shape. Build up reserves of energy and get enough sleep. Give your brain a break!

Remember that it works if you work it.

Susan Dunn, M.A., Clinical Psychology, is a personal and professional development coach specializing in emotional intelligence. Email her for her free ezine.

Article Source: Articles Factory

Return to The Mental Game of Sports Articles directory.

Procoach Systems International Association of Coaches Independent Book Publishers Association IMGCA

The International Mental Game Coaching Association
P.O. Box 50372, Palo Alto, California 94303, USA
Phone: 408-705-8877

Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm PST. Closed weekends and holidays.
Private backrooms in the IMGCA membership and certification areas are open 24-7, 365 days a year.

The IMGCA name, design and related marks are trademarks of The International Mental Game Coaching Association.
© 2006- IMGCA. All rights reserved.
Use of this website signifies your agreement to the terms of use and privacy policy.
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Policies Notice