There are many ways that professional athletes train and prepare for big events: competing on a world stage, attaining the highest-level goals, achieving strength and endurance. What separates the top 1% of elite athletes from the rest?
Apart from physical preparation and having support from a coach and manager, sports psychologists are employed to ensure that the mental fitness of an athlete is in peak condition too. There are special ways that you can ensure that your mindset is as strong as your body. Physical and mental strength go hand in hand.
You need only look at the sheer power of will that helps a marathon runner cross the finish line. It’s a feat of athleticism and mental strength, regardless of if they finish first or last.
1. Positive Self-Talk
Every single person has thoughts that are harmful to their performance. Doubt, fear and a lack of self-belief can sabotage their physical performance, regardless of their actual physical capabilities. You can enhance your abilities by learning to be your own cheerleader, congratulating and encouraging yourself to be your best.
Anxiety can be a vicious circle. One negative thought can spiral into 10 before you know it. A moment of doubt can shake and rattle your nerves. Learning to use positive self-talk will help you develop a stronger mental attitude. This will strengthen your mind and help you achieve mental clarity and focus — both as you prepare for an event and when you are ready to compete.
2. Train Your Brain
The ability to give 100% of your focus to the tasks at hand is a mental exercise in endurance. We are challenged every day and juggle many tasks in modern life. The ability to focus on training and playing at a peak level requires a high degree of mental energy and calm at the same time. Meditation, quiet reflection and time away from the digital and social distractions of life are essential.
It is important to use physical reminders, such as post-it notes, in order to remember your goals and motivations. These will help you see the relationships at play between your time, your goals and your training. Staying on track in preparing and achieving high fitness levels can be a long-term goal that you are working toward. Of course, you are committed, but physical reminders are like seeing mental pom-poms.
You are a winner. See the trophy. Feel the trophy. See your name engraved on the side. Imagine the celebrations you will have after winning that race. This is not an exercise in make-believe but a powerful mental tool to help you prepare mentally for your big day. Our beliefs, dreams and hopes for the future guide our lives. Positive mental imagery reinforces our winning mindset. Dream big, champ. You can do it.