One key to mental training is being well prepared
Mental training is growing more and more popular with athletes. Athletes of all ages and skill sets understand that sports and more than just physical and actually mostly mental. However, few spend time on the mental side of their development, partly due to a lack of understanding of what they need to do. One thing I have found that is extremely important for an athletes success but is often left out of the equation is planning. Taking the time to think about how you will accomplish a goal or get over an obstacle. Instead athletes either don’t want to address, maybe due to fear of thinking about what could go wrong, or think that by just knowing their goal that they will get there.
The problem is by doing so you leave more of your success to chance. There are a lot of uncontrollable factors in the world of sports, and life in general. So it is even more important to do something and take action with the few things you can control. Making a plan is one of them. What I mean about making a plan is looking at a goal you have and creating the steps required to get there. If you want to run faster, have a harder shot or more accurate shot, what do you need to do daily and weekly to get there. What drills do you need to do, how much time will you dedicate to it, do you need to seek out help from someone? By doing this you give yourself direction, you feel more in control and it brings you to focusing on right now, and what you are doing now to get better down the road.
You also want to do this with obstacles. A lot of athletes don’t want to think about the things that could get in there way or happen. Sometimes this is due to fear that they will make it occur by thinking of it. However, making a plan for how you will deal with things that could come up, creates a sense of confidence and calmness, because you know you are prepared if it should arise. Then in the moment it helps to keep you focused on what you need to be focused on and rebound a lot faster because you are not having to think in the moment of what to do. You are also not as surprised. The simple act of writing out “if this happens I will do …” is very powerful and something I encourage all athletes to do.
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