How Athletes Can Benefit From Sports Psychology

Mental Training Routine

Mental Training For A Competitive Advantage

In today’s world of sports, there has been in an increasing interest for athletes to engage in mental training. Many athletes looking for a competitive advantage have turned to sports psychology for an answer.

Yet a vast number of athletes think sports psychology is for “head cases” or don’t see how mental training can improve their performance.

So these athletes turn to more physical training or practice, which often breaks down their bodies causing performance to actually suffer.

Sports psychology gets a bad rap at times. Some athletes think something needs to be wrong in order for you to get benefits from mental training. That is the furthest thing from the truth.

Sports psychology can definitely get you back on track if you are experiencing difficulty with your competitive play, but when you utilize mental training to improve little things in your mental game, you will be able to take your game to a whole new level.

Just as it is necessary to condition your body to prepare for the rigors of competition, mental training provides the necessary mental preparation for the psychological challenges of sports.

Mental training can clear your mind so you can focus on your tactics, strategy and the play right in front of you. When you are competing at peak mental and physical levels, you are more apt to rise to the level of your potential.

Sports psychologist Dr. Jim Bauman, who has mentally trained Olympic athletes and Navy SEALS, compares athletic performance to the performance of a computer.

Optimal computer performance requires a seamless integration of different computer systems, just like athletic performance requires a balance of physical and mental processes to produce the best results in the competitive arena.

BAUMAN: “I have often compared elite athletic performance to our modern-day computer systems—it’s similar in terms of hardware, software and disk operating system (DOS). Hardware is your body below the chin, software is your body above the chin, or your brain, and your DOS is the operating system that makes your body and brain work together.”

“All three components are necessary for the system to work at maximum potential. All three need to be at increasing higher levels to keep up with the industry, whether that’s the field of computers or human performance. Athletes who work on and improve their hardware, software and operating systems will far outperform athletes who focus on just one system.”

If you still don’t know how sports psychology can help you, think of all the areas mental training can benefit you.

Here are a few ways that mental training can improve your performance:

  • Improving confidence
  • Managing emotions
  • Setting realistic goals
  • Improving focus
  • Improving self-talk
  • Enhancing motivation
  • More effective practices
  • Quicker sport-specific technique acquisition

Train… Train hard… And train smart with mental training.

Tips for adding mental training to your daily training regimen:

Focus on one mental skill to start, for example, confidence. The goal is to have proactive confidence, not reactive confidence.

Create a 3 step plan to improve this area.

For example, A Confidence Plan:

  1. Create a success journal
  2. Improve your self-talk in competition
  3. Understand what hurts your confidence and address these

Confidence must be earned through training and past success. However, your mindset plays a critical role in how much confidence you bring to competition.

Related Sports Psychology Articles

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