How Mental Work Takes Athletes to The Next Level
How do elite athletes separate themselves from other athletes?
Other athletes define themselves by their limitations, “I’m shorter than most basketball players,” “I’m not as fast as other players on the soccer field,” or “I don’t have enough speed on my fastball to play college baseball.”
When you are focused on limitations or weaknesses, your level of work and preparation will suffer.
Size, ability, and strength are valuable attributes but are not the game-changing factors that make athletes elite.
For example, undersized NFL wide receivers have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Many tennis players had great careers despite not having overpowering strokes. Athletes have made names for themselves by out-hustling other competitors.
The difference-maker that launches athletes to the next level is WORK!
Putting in the work is not limited to working hard in practice. Work also includes preparation (diet, flexibility, strength training) and, most importantly, mental work (confidence building, focusing skills, managing stress, etc).
*When you put in the mental work, you learn technical skills quicker and you are better able to replicate those skills under the pressure of competition.
*When you put in the mental work, you will maximize your abilities and reach more of your potential.
*When you put in the mental work, you perform more consistently and at a higher level.
*When you put in the mental work, you are able to meet the demands of competing at a higher level.
Often, the mental aspects, the factors that contribute most to optimal performance, are neglected.
Adding mental skills training to your existing work regimen boosts your performance to a new level and helps you achieve more of your potential.
Canadian basketball player Natalie Achonwa is motivated to help Canada win their first ever Olympic medal.
Achonwa will be competing in her third Olympic Games and is doing everything she can to prepare and help Canada reach the podium at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
Even through the adversity brought about by the pandemic, Canada has found methods to build team unity and prepare in every way possible.
ACHONWA: “We did a virtual training camp where we spent about two hours a day on a Zoom call doing everything from team building to mental training with our sports psych, to tactical stuff, watching film, breaking down film. It was a tactical week via Zoom.”
The Canada Olympic basketball is putting in the work, fully preparing mentally, tactically, and physically.
Team Canada is taking advantage of every opportunity no matter what obstacles the team encounters. Imagine how much you could accomplish if you had greater commitment to mental training.
Doing the Mental Work:
Just as your coach has a seasonal plan for your training, you should create a seasonal plan for your mental training.
What mental skills will benefit you most? How will you develop these skills? Where will you engage in mental training? What resources will you utilize to improve your mental game?
Once the physical training is complete and it’s time to compete, that’s when the mental work pays off. You must commit to putting in the mental work also.
Related Articles on Mental Game:
- Focus on What You Can Control in Sports
- How to Stay Composed When You Make Mistakes
- How to Improve Your Practice Mindset
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