You don’t wait to get injured before working on your fitness. So why wait to train your brain?
When it comes to the professional sports industry there is more talk now about mental fitness than ever before. Every day we see more athletes coming forward and sharing their experiences and battles with mental illness. These high performing individuals are putting an increased focus of building mental health training into their routine to help with preparation for the big game. Despite seeing these improvements and increase in traction of mental preparation, it is still not being prioritized at the same level as physical training.
According to the Ohio Center for Sports Psychology there are eight mental skills that athletes – or anyone- can use to help achieve success in their field and other areas of their lives. So whether or not you’re an athlete, focus on harnessing some of these skills to improve your overall mental fitness.
1Choose to have a positive attitude
Attitude is a choice. It’s hard when negative thoughts are running through your mind, but we can choose what we listen to and what we let affect us.
Athletes are aware that there are many benefits that come just from participation, regardless of the outcome. Next time you want to skip something (like a workout) because you’re not good at that skill, just go. Get the experience, get the chance to practice and you’ll get the benefits just by showing up and putting in the work.
3Set high, but realistic goals
Set short-term and long-term goals, then stay committed to those goals.
Understand that there is a network larger than just the teammates and coaches, there is family and friends that are also part of your support team.
Using a positive, reinforcing voice can help you regulate your thoughts and behaviours during high-stress situations.
Use visualization. It may be hard at first, but imagine yourself in a drill in practice or in your game performing well, thinking clearly and logically about the task at hand. It can help you get into a healthy mental mindset before competition.
7Manage emotions (especially in high stress situations)
Know and practice using coping mechanisms to help with strong emotions, like excitement, stress or anxiety.
Focus on the task at hand, avoid distractions and regaining focus if concentration is lost during competition.
The more we train and spend time on an active recovery, the more realistic it is to achieve the results we’re striving for.