Get Ahead of the Game: Learning to be PRO-ACTIVE
The struggle to get ahead of your mental performance obstacles is happening each day, each performance. The longer athletes and performers wait to strengthen their mind game, the more difficult it will be to learn/implement skills during the most crucial time of the season, performance, or event. I say this every day to my clients- the practice of mental strength is JUST AS (or even more) important as your physical training. Being prepared mentally, will provide you the ability to succeed during the performances that mean the most.
Here are some tips for being a mentally pro-active athlete or performer:
1. Talk about it: Whether it is with a parent, teammate, or coach, talk about what it means to be mentally fit. Ask yourself the following questions:
Do I feel so nervous that it affects my performance during crucial competitions?
Do I have negative body language during play (head down, shoulders tense, shrinking posture)?
Do I have an overwhelmingly fear of failure?
Do I know how to control my negative thoughts and stay in the flow during play?
Do I feel confident in my abilities to be a good player and teammate?
2. Discover your triggers and stressors: What are your triggers? When we talk about triggers, we are talking about certain things, situations, events, people, etc., that can trigger a negative emotion during our performance. Identifying our triggers and stressors will allow for us to be more pro-active on how to deal with the emotions they create.
3. Get Help: Asking for help can be a challenge but once you get past your fear, you will see the benefit of being pro-active! It is MUCH MORE productive seeing a sport psychology professional during the off season (to prepare for the season) rather than right in the heat of the playoffs. Learning mental skills during the off season allows athletes time to work on implementing the skills prior to big performances. Practicing mental skills will allow athletes to be able to use the mental skills that work for them during the most crucial moments of play.
As summer approaches, including many athletes' off season, start thinking about how you can be mentally pro-active for your future performances!