Athletes spend countless hours on the playing field honing their skills. They invest money in equipment, coaching, and nutritional support. However, one thing athletes often overlook is mental training.
A person’s mental skills go a long way to improving their performance. How can a person elevate their game with the help of mental performance coaching?
Neutral thinking is a technique used by many athletes and one that comes recommended by a pro football mental performance coach. Most people are familiar with positive and negative thinking, which are extremes. Neutral thinking falls right in the middle and offers a balanced approach to a problem. The athlete doesn’t focus on the positives or negatives but remains centered on the here and now.
The player removes judgment when using negative thinking. They don’t worry about the play they just messed up, as they are concentrating solely on the play happening at the moment. This allows them to think quickly and logically. Any person can use neutral thinking when they need to make a decision or wish to live a more intentional life.
Embrace the Pressure
Any athlete who has performed before a large crowd knows the pressure that comes with doing so. It’s like pro football players during Monday night games. They know fans only have one game to watch, so they must be at their best. Athletes must train for these moments and embrace the pressure rather than letting it overwhelm them.
One way an athlete can do so is to remind themselves the game itself hasn’t changed. Playing football on Monday night is no different than playing on Sunday afternoon. Doing so will help prevent an athlete from freezing up and making a rookie mistake.
Visualization can help with this. Run different scenarios through the brain. When doing so, imagine them happening in a high-pressure situation. By preparing for these situations before they happen, an athlete won’t feel as much pressure.
Keep a Positive Mindset
An athlete’s mindset plays a key role in their overall success. With the right mindset, an athlete finds it easier to stay motivated on tough days. They don’t lose focus while practicing or during a game. In addition, they feel confident even when everything seems to be going wrong. They know they will get back on track. A positive mindset increases an athlete’s resiliency.
To develop this mindset, an athlete must focus on their strengths while trying to improve on their weaknesses. Progress cannot be made if they don’t try. The athlete should also remind themselves of the goals they have set and how far they have come in achieving them. These simple steps go a long way in helping an athlete develop a positive mindset.
Every athlete needs to develop a pregame routine that gets them in the right mindset to play. They aren’t alone in doing so. Actors, dancers, public speakers, and more also have a routine before they go on stage. Finding this routine may take trial and error but the results make the time put into finding it worthwhile.
The routine should cultivate positive traits that will be used throughout the game. Some players use visualization training. Others prefer breathwork to get them into the right frame of mind. Once it has been determined which mindset is needed and what traits should be developed, figure out which tools and techniques are needed. Now is also the time to identify goals for the game.
A person who is good at what they do has more confidence. They can overcome adversity and losses easier than fellow players who lack confidence. Everyone fails at one time or another. It’s how a person reacts to failure that counts. Great athletes never lose confidence in their abilities. They rely on their abilities and dedication rather than the results thanks to this confidence.
People find it easy to become distracted today. Employers were surprised to learn their workers could get more done at home during COVID, but one reason the employees were able to do so was that they had fewer distractions. Athletes aren’t exempt from these distractions either.
There is a reason jockeys put blinders on their horses before a race. They want the horses to stay focused on the track in front of them. Human athletes need to do the same. They must find ways to eliminate distractions to elevate their game. A mental performance coach may be of help with this.
Mindfulness is one way to stay focused. Not only will this reduce distractions, but it will also leave the person feeling calm and relaxed. They can put their energy into the game rather than what is going on around them. Mindful meditation is something every person should try, and there are additional techniques a person might use to achieve this goal.
Most athletes don’t think of gratitude when they talk about elevating their game. They often turn their thoughts to any weaknesses they have and where improvements need to be made. Now is the time to focus on those things the athlete should be grateful for, as this will allow them to grow. Gratitude helps put a person in the right mindset for this growth.
Gratitude also helps to overcome any negative emotions the player is feeling. When they think about what they are grateful for, they feel a sense of peace. To get into the right mindset, the athlete needs to practice gratitude on a daily basis. A journal can be of help in doing so.
Any athlete struggling to elevate their game should consider working with a mental performance coach. Many benefits come with partnering with this professional. The athlete may go into the sessions thinking they are only there to improve their game.
When they come out, however, they find the things they have learned extend far beyond the playing field. Reach out to a coach today, as an athlete who does have nothing to lose and plenty to gain.