How to be your best when you need to

I wanted to talk about how to rise to the occasion in your sport performance because it is something all athletes want to be able to do but very few are willing to put in the work away from the “limelight” in order to do so. Most athletes think that going to practice doing the work and then showing up to a competition is enough. However, the reality is that is no longer enough. At one point it was, when you were young or even decades ago for professional athletes it was enough. Today it simply is not, you have to go beyond what is required of you. A lot of athletes find this in doing other physical things. Working with private coaches and doing strength training, maybe even doing some things around nutrition. Others have also started to understand the mental side that is required, working with people like myself to help them develop more confidence, focus, mental toughness, or reduce performance anxiety. 

Working on the mental side is important but the philosophy is the same you can’t just show up and expect results. Working with athletes as young as 9 all the way up to professional and Olympic athletes I see a real struggle with doing the things I have asked them to do away from our time together. Whether that is meditation, cognitive training or doing some daily reflection to give both of us more insight into what is going on. Those athletes I work with do, no matter how old they are, are the ones that see the most “success” with the work we are doing. They are the ones I also know who will have the higher likelihood of being able to perform the way they want to when they want to.

The mental side of sports is work, the mind is a difficult thing to work with. People want to change their behaviors but aren’t willing to do the work because it is hard or doesn’t give them the same instantaneous feeling of doing something constructive to fix the issue. Everything you do away from your sport impacts your sport. Whether that is sleep, nutrition or controlling emotions. If you have never practiced deep breathing and used it in none sport contexts, the likelihood of you being able to properly implement it and it be useful in the middle of a high pressure situation that you care a lot about is not very likely. See the other times of your life away from your sports as a time to practice the skills you need while you are in your sport performing. Easier to get used to doing something and making it automatic, which makes it less likely to break down under pressure, when you are not in a high pressure situation.