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Monday, September 26, 2022

US Sports Psyche: The X-Factor-Mental Conditioning

 -Author Tyler Fleetwood

The X Factor Most Often Ignored

Most important problems that athletes and competitors struggle with are not the result of poor practice, lack of physical work, inadequate coaching, or lack of physical abilities. Rather, they’re the result of poor mental conditioning.

Be honest with yourself. How much time do you dedicate each day to mental conditioning, although great coaches and athletes will state, without exception, that mental toughness is the biggest factor in determining great champions, whether they be a champion in athletics, business, or life in general.

When the heat of competition is turned up high, the individual performer or team that falls apart most often does so because of mental factors like runaway nervousness, intimidation, poor concentration, negativity, lack of confidence or an inability to let go of mistakes or bad breaks.

To realize your full potential as an athlete or performer, you have to start training your mind as well as your body! Just as you develop physical skills and techniques, you have to learn to develop these sports psychology mental skills. What are these so-called mental skills?

• Staying relaxed under pressure, in what could be called "good nervous."

• Focusing on what’s important and letting go of everything else.

• Rebounding from mistakes, bad breaks and handling last minute self-doubts and negative thinking. If you’ve done the preparation, don’t doubt yourself. BELIEVE!

• Using visualization for upcoming performances. See it like you want it to be before it happens.

• Motivating yourself by setting personally meaningful and compelling goals. The ability to self-motivate is probably the greatest factor for success in any aspect of our lives. Those who look to others for their motivation in any area of life are usually left standing on the corner waiting for the bus. The bus will either be late, or probably, never will come.

• Recognizing mental traps and avoiding them. Run away from negative people. Listening to or participating in negative talk will never benefit you and will always take away a piece of your edge.

• Developing self-confidence and a positive, go-for-it attitude. In other words, if you’ve done the preparation, what are you waiting for?

Before accomplishing a goal, or participating in a crucial sporting event, you wouldn’t leave your physical conditioning to chance……. why would you leave your mental toughness conditioning to chance. How many times have you observed the competitor that "wouldn’t give up" triumph over the competitor with superior physical talent?

There is a wealth of great motivational/mental toughness information out there. Go to a bookstore, find a great mentor, but take a step. The greatest "muscle" you have is the one between your ears.

Don’t ignore it!

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