The Athlete’s Secret Weapon, The Mind

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As an athlete, you’re wired with a desire for elevating your performance. An essential part of your performance during training or on the field is your state of mind. Ideally, participating in a competitive sport requires that you are mentally prepared for the task. Your mental strength will go a long way toward determining success in your respective sport. The phrase sports are 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical couldn’t be more truer.

Typically, any athlete can suffer conditions like anxiety during a race or training. You have heard of sportsmen and women who get nervous if the crowd is bigger and louder. This results in poor performance and more risks of injuries.

The human body has an amazing regenerative capability. That’s why some athletes have performance coaches to help them through. The thirst for calm mind has led to an increase in book reading, transformational classes, yoga and meditation classes. By understanding the power of your mind and using it to your advantage, you can improve your performance

One thing that separates the best athletes from average athletes is their deep and resilient belief that they can play at their best. Mental strength will enable you to effectively deal with the pressure, stressors and challenges to give your best performance regardless of your circumstances.

To properly prepare your mind for an upcoming match or challenge, you will need to try practicing the following tips.

Face Your Fears Head-on

There are various kinds of phobias that athletes can have. Some are always worried about getting injured while playing; others fear getting overtaken during a race, and so on. When you have such fears as an athlete, your concentration is divided when it is needed to focus on your training solely. To get rid of such fears, you need to train your mind to think otherwise.

This is very possible and has worked for many elite athletes like Eliud Kipchoge and James Lebron. If it is falling that you fear, think about all the number of times you have run without tripping. By dealing with your fears from within, the results are quick and the outcome can be evident within a couple of days.

Get a Performance Coach

If you can afford a performance coach, then you can do yourself a great favor. For the longest time, performance coaches have been helping athletes overcome their challenges and achieve their goals. Luckily, finding an excellent performance coach today is easy since you can access one through the internet. Keep in mind that a performance coach is not your regular kind of coach who will put you through continuous physical training. A performance coach focuses on your mental development by taking you through various psychological preparations. What they do is, identify your current situation as your starting point, and prepare a series of therapy sessions tailored towards helping you cope with training and achieve your goals. In preparation for the upcoming derby match, you will need both mental and physical build-up.

Maintain a Sober Lifestyle

It goes without saying that as an athlete, drugs are bad for your general health, and can adversely affect your performance. Note that other than making you make irrational decisions, long term drug use can lead to conditions like reduced concentration span. This can easily divert you from your training or, worse, make you get injured when training. Smoking is the worst kind of addiction, and it is highly discouraged for athletes. That is because it damages your lungs, reducing its capacity to supply oxygen to the rest of the body. Long term effects of alcohol can include liver problems, and that can interfere with the general functioning of the body in the long-term. Alcohol is also known to cause dehydration, and developing dependence can lead to symptoms like shaking and forgetfulness.

Be Positive

There is power in positive thinking and reasoning that will keep you from getting stressed. As an athlete, you also need to live a positive life. You may not know it, but negative emotions trigger the body to produce specific enzymes that can interfere with your training. When you are angry, for example, and you start training without making peace with yourself, you can end up overtraining. This can be harmful to your muscles, and in most cases, lack of concentration can lead to accidents. Keep in mind that better performance comes from within before it manifests and become a reality. Positive thinking will also help you cope with the result of your races and training. You have seen how athletes are composed and calm, even if they finish in the last position. The trick is to take everything positively and to work to improve your weaknesses.

Believe in Yourself

Some of the greatest athletes got to where they are because they believed in their ability first. When you believe in yourself, you eliminate so many kinds of limitations, and it is what every champion does. When you think that you can do something, you are more motivated to achieve. You will not mind the hurdles you have to jump before getting there. If you take time to compare what athletes do when training to what they do on the field, you will discover that training is harder than a real game situation. Without a strong belief that you can withstand what it takes to become the best, you are most likely to give up quickly.

Leave Room for Mistakes

You are human, and bound to make mistakes, whether while training or in an actual game situation. The worst thing you can ever do is give up easily because you have made a mistake. It is usually mental for any athlete to play lousily or give up the battle way before it begins. However, by accepting that you are capable of messing up, you will find it easy to want to recover and make up for the mistake quickly.

Conclusion

The best tool that any athlete has is their mind. Mental preparedness is required everywhere, especially for better performance. There are several ways of improving your mental health when playing at a consistently high level under challenging conditions. This post has discussed 6 tips to boost your mental strength.

Many athletes, like Tom Brady, who are dedicated to performing better go to the extent of creating time for meditation. Through meditation, you get to align your thoughts, resulting in the ultimate mental preparedness.

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