How to build mental toughness
To build mental toughness takes a few different areas of sport psychology that when pulled together create the mindset one needs to have the mental toughness and fortitude to reach peak performance and excel consistently in their sport. While there are a number of things I could go over in this post, I want to go over 4 pillars that are a great starting point for anyone starting this journey. As I mentioned they are not the end all be all, but provide a great place to start. These are even the same tools Navy Seals are trained in to also develop the mental toughness they need.
4 Pillars to Mental Toughness
1.Visualization: I have talked in length about the importance of visualization in past blogs and YouTube videos. I can’t really explain just how important this tool is for mental toughness, but to help I want to give an example of how it can be used and lead to success. I have a cousin who is a Navy Seal and when he was going through the process to become one, he used this technique in particular to help him pass on of their phases that other than Hell Week is the most difficult phase to pass and has a high drop out rate. It is something that they never get to practice fully what it will be like. So he spent a lot of time visualizing the test, and what he would need to do and how he would need to stay calm in order to pass. Well he was one of only two guys to pass first try in his class.
2. Arousal Control: Be able to not only control your emotions but also you overall level of emotional arousal is exceptionally important. Too high or too low and you will under perform. It is important know where your ideal level is. For information on how to find this check out the video below. When we have the right level of AC we have the level of focus we need, are more clear headed and able to make appropriate decisions, aren’t getting distracted by irrelevant thoughts or information.
3. Goal Setting: Most people understand the important of goal setting. We need clear goals in order to be successful. Both in the long term but also in the short term. They have show through research that clear goals more easily help you get into the zone and be able to reach peak performance. Make sure you have both result and process based goals, but focus on the process based goals on a daily basis, and when you are setting a goal for practice or game. Only clear and controllable goal is huge for getting into the zone.
4. Self Talk: How we talk to our self is so important for focus, as well as confidence. What you think about you bring about. Your focus is linked to what you are thinking in your mind. If you say stop passing to the other team. Your focus is on passing to the other team, not to mention the brain doesn’t hear the negative connotation. So in this instance it hears, pass to other team. Then think about what you say to yourself, would you say it to anyone else? If you did would they trust you? Be your friend? Would that help their confidence? If not then probably not something that will help you.