Inner mental training for athletes is essential to enhance performance, manage anxiety, develop mental toughness and create a winning attitude. Three variables that capture some basic elements of sports psychology are as follows:
- Champions think like champions.
- Champions are made in practice.
- The body follows the mind.
The key to unlocking motivation, self-discipline, confidence, ability focus have a lot to do with a positive mental attitude.
One of the keys is self-talk and building up self-esteem. A champion much have the thoughts of a champion in good times and bad. Champions believe in themselves knowing their effort, strategy, conditioning is solid. This mental attitude really shows up following a bad performance or injury. The ability to clear the “mental noise, fear, or anxiety” helps regain calm and confidence. However, if the practice effort is lacking, thinking like a champion will not help. Champions do what is requited and then some. Each practice is really a rehearsal for the game, match or competition. Doing a little bit extra each practice helps strength, but also mental strength in difficult situations. Take a look at the athletes who excel in your sport or on your team and then seek to match or best their work ethic.
Regarding the body following the mind, I want to relate this brief anecdote. On a run the other day I say a T-shirt that said, “My physical conditioning is 100% mental, my body only does what my mind tells it to do.” If your mind says you are tired or out of energy, your body will act that way. If your mind says, “you have reserves in the tank, you have trained hard, you can do it, go for it,” the body complies. A sport or competition is about your inner attitude, not your opponent, spectators, referees or external forces. It is about you pushing yourself to do and be your best that day.
It is also essential to have fun and enjoy competing otherwise, you will work against yourself, get negative and not achieve your goals. Take an inward look at how you think, practice and what your mind tells your body to unlock your confidence and achievement in your sport.