Athletes understand that in order to improve performance, both skills practice and weight lifting are crucial. However, little attention is ever given to practicing and strengthening the mind…the mental game. This is interesting because most athletes who have any awareness realize that once the game starts, the majority of performance depends on what’s going on between the ears. Have you ever heard of the athlete who is an all-star in practice, but when it comes to a real game, seems to fall short of their potential? This is due to a lack of mental strength training.
WHEN: Be ahead of the need. Many coaches, parents and athletes feel that work on the mental game is not necessary until a slump comes or confidence fails. Yet, like a car that gets an oil change or maintenance check-up regularly to prevent problems down the road; the mind of an athlete needs daily check-ups to make sure it is running properly. With daily upkeep, athletes are less likely to fall victim to “slumps,” and when they do occur (and they will), the athlete will have the tools to help him or her get back to right thinking and playing well quicker. When should an athlete start working on his or her mental game? Now! If they haven’t started already.
WHY: The question should be, “Why not mental skills training?” For anyone who desires to approach their full athletic potential – practicing the mental game is more than half the equation. Yes, physical skills and talents are crucial…but mind is the master controller of the body. When the mind is disciplined, the body will be disciplined. For the body listens to whatever the mind tells it to do (for good or bad). Mental Strength Training helps athletes be prepared for what is about to happen, know what to do while its happening, and how to evaluate it after it has happened. This speeds up the learning curve and allows those who make mental skills training their own to have the greatest advantage possible over their opponents.
HOW: An athlete must understand that enlisting the services of a sport psychology consultant is not because there is something wrong with them; but because they are healthy and want to tap every available source of improving their game. Next, they must understand the importance and value of mental strength training (MST), and become convinced in their own mind that improving their mental game will lead to improvements in their performance on the field. Once convinced, Mental strength training works similar to physical skills training. First, an assessment is made for what mental skills their sport demands. Then each athlete must be evaluated for their strengths and areas of improvement (AOIs). Then a mental strength program can be built for that individual based on athlete and sport demands.
For more information about how to give yourself and your team the best chance of success, send an email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a visit.