Mental Preparation For Competition
Have you ever wondered how Olympic-level athletes are able to focus despite all the pressure to perform?
Mark Gangloff is an American former swimmer and two-time Olympian. Gangloff won Olympic gold in 2004 and was the American record-holder in the 100m breaststroke.
I interviewed Gangloff about his mental preparation for high-level swim meets.
Gangloff talked about the importance of a strong mental game in the sport of swimming.
COHN: “How important is the mental game in swimming at the higher levels when you get to the collegiate and Olympic levels?”
GANGLOFF: “As you move further and further down the line in the sport you are doing, the mental game becomes even more important than your preparation physically. At the top, everybody seems to have about the same physical attributes, but it’s whether or not you’re mentally prepared for the race or the stress of the situation.”
Gangloff identified the ability to focus as the premier mental skill of top-level swimmers.
COHN: “What are the common mental characteristics of the top swimmers?”
GANGLOFF: “To me, it’s being able to focus your energy and stay within your own race plan and block out the outside aspects (crowd, media) and stick to your plan and what you are prepared to do.”
Gangloff admitted he experiences anxiety prior to his Olympic events but revealed his secrets on how he sharpens his focus prior to these stressful races.
COHN: “What are you doing specifically mentally to get into that level of focus that you need before a race?”
GANGLOFF: “If it’s a high-level competition, like the Olympics or Olympic Trials, my anxiety level may be a little bit higher, for me, I have to do a couple of things: First, I have to release that anxiety a little bit and what I tend to do is think about my wife and my daughter. Then I think about one or two details of my race, usually it’s my start and the first three strokes and then, after that, I try not to think about anything else… and let my body do what I trained it to do.”
COHN: “In dealing with anxiety, it sounds like you try to put things into perspective. Does that help you mellow out before a race?”
GANGLOFF: “Swimming is always going to be a sport, but it’s not the biggest thing in the world… So, for me, I know my wife and my child will still be here after it is all over and done with. That helps me bring the situation down just a little bit where it’s more manageable. You are still going to get nervous no matter what happens but it helps get the butterflies out of my stomach.”
By applying some of Gangloff’s strategies, you can improve your focus and achieve greater success in your sport.
Try these tips to develop an Olympic-level focus:
- Tip #1: You, first, need to overcome any anxiety. Think about something outside of the sport that is important to you. It is when you are overly focused on an event that your anxiety level skyrockets.
- Tip #2: You want to establish your focus just prior to competition. Pick 1-2 things to focus on prior to the moment you need to perform.
Successful athletes have learned to boost concentration and eliminate distractions. We’ve created The Focused Athlete, Workbook and CD program to help you do this.
Boost Your Self-Confidence With Mental Game Coaching!
Master mental game coach, Dr. Patrick Cohn, can help you or your athlete(s), ages 12 and up, overcome mental game issues with personal coaching.
You can work with Dr. Patrick Cohn himself in Orlando, Florida or via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone. Call us toll free at 888-742-7225 or contact us for more information about the different coaching programs we offer!
What are our students saying?
“WOW!!! What a week I had. I was able to perform with a confidence that allowed my style to shine through–no more entering the arena with that “deer in the headlights” look or feeling. I stopped evaluating myself while I was performing, and I actually left the arena after my patterns feeling like I had experienced a lot of fun. Thank you so much.”
~Julia Dreyer, National Champion Equestrian
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D you have a negative self-image of yourself as an athlete that stifles confidence?
No matter ow positive you try to be, are you unable to shake the doubt that rushes into your head when you size up your competition?
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What are customers saying?
“I first purchased The Confident Athlete to see how the program went and immediately saw results. I then purchased the rest of the confident athlete series and have noticed a dramatic improvement in my level of play or should I say consistency. I currently play NCAA Division 1 baseball for Lamar University, and even my coaches have noticed a change in the way that I approach the game. My attitude and confidence at the plate.”
~Tylor Prudhomme (Listen to his success story)
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~Shaun Burrell, Professional Surfer (Listen to his success story)
For Young Athletes and Parents – Learn More About How to Help Kids Improve Confidence Quickly!
We’ve got a great program for you called “The Confident Sports Kid: A 7-Day Plan for Building Ultimate Self-Confidence.”
The Confident Sports Kid is a 7-day program for sports parents and kids to boost young athlete’s performance, happiness and success… in sports and life!
The Confident Sports Kid is two programs in one. There’s a manual and CD for parents/coaches, and a workbook/CD for young athletes.
Packed with mental strategies that you and your kids can start using immediately, this program teaches your athletes how to identify confidence busters, proactively deal with them, manage expectations that undermine confidence, and mentally prepare to stay confident when faced with adversity.
What’s more, our program teaches you, as sports parents and coaches, how you may be hurting your kids’ confidence and gives you instructions for changing your behavior in ways that will improve your athletes’ performance, confidence and enjoyment.
Learn more about one of our most popular CD programs in The Confident Sports Kid Series…
What are parents and coaches saying about our program?
“I appreciate the advice to parents as to how to help your child become more mentally resilient to bullying in sports. The specific advice and scenarios are extremely helpful for any child on a team and very helpful in guiding parents, coaches and administrators in how to deal with bullying in sports. I cannot thank you enough for your input, and I am so reassured to know that there are people like you who are writing articles and doing interviews on such timely and important matters.”
“Dr. Patrick Cohn and Lisa Cohn are to be congratulated! Together, they offer a wealth of knowledge, information, and practical mental tools for sports parents on the substantial “mental game” challenges and pressures facing today’s young athletes.”
~Marc D. Anderson, LCSW, MGCP, Mental Game Coach
For Mental Coaches – Add More Value To Your Mental Training Programs!
This workbook series was designed for coaches and mental coaches to use with their athletes.
The Athlete’s Mental Edge workbooks complement your existing mental training program. Each of the 15 workbooks in the Athlete’s Mental Edge System teaches your athletes a specific mental skill to improve their performance.
For mental coaches, this system is ideal for between session education.
For sports coaches, you’ll be able to conduct 15 team seminars using the workbook system.
In the Athlete’s Mental Edge workbook system, you receive 15 easy-to-read, practical Mental Edge Workbooks on PDF, as well as 16 coaches’ game plan MP3 audio files.
What are coaches saying?
“I am really pleased with the Athlete’s Mental Edge workbooks – they are fitting in really well with my coaching! I find they offer a great framework for doing workshop sessions. I have also used the workbooks with a few individual athletes – for the younger ones (12 and under). They are giving a good structure and framework to our sessions. The workbooks have worked well with all of them!”
~Kerri Morgan, Mental Game Coach
“I am impressed with the willingness and openness of Dr. Cohn to share all of his assets (intellectual, products, etc.) with the MGCP students. You have developed an incredible model/package for mental training. Even though we are paying for your service, you are passing on a legacy built on your contribution to the world of sports. Thank you for that.”
~Tony Melito, MGCP