As a mental performance coach, I like to shout the praises of sport and performance psychology practice from the rooftops, because I know how powerful it is.
I participate in many, many, many conversations about sport and training on social media, and with athletes, parents, and coaches I work with. I love the interaction, comparing notes, training tips, and strategies and videos of athletes getting after it.
When it turns to discussing mental skills,
This even includes upper echelon athletes and coaches competing at the national level.
The things I hear are often counter-intuitive, counterproductive, and just plain off the mark as far as using mental skills to create peak performance. To become elite, there is so much time spent doing extras in the physical realm.
They say sports are 10% physical and 90% mental, right? There are sport specific skill training private lessons, physical trainers, cryofit sessions, Arrosti, massage, you name it!
Athletes learn to manage their mental game through trial and error, repetition, and intuition. That’s a great start, but they get stuck at their own level of natural mental skill ability. Things done repeatedly become little clusters of neurons that fire of when triggered. An athlete is at the mercy of these automated processes. If they are subpar or counterproductive, eventually there will be a brick wall.
That is an unreliable method!
There is a better, more efficient, and reliable way. I teach this through my face-to-face coaching, my online sport psychology program for athletes (we also have one for parenting athletes!), and this blog. When mental skills training is coupled with a strong will, the level of performance will skyrocket. The brick wall of one’s natural mental skill ability can be moved waaaaayyyyy done the road, minimized, and crashed through once it’s met. A foundation of right thinking creates clusters of neurons and automatic processes that promote high level, repeatable performance.
The science of sport and performance psychology is just as stout as the science behind the physical aspects of sport. Getting mental skill reps is just as important as physical ones, too.
The fundamentals of mental skills training include things like: self-talk, focus, imagery, emotional, physical, and psychological regulation, imagery, mental toughness, and motivation.
Many people have a general idea of these things. They don’t realize they can be honed, polished and used as rocket fuel.
Intentional training of mental skills (with a professional, especially) will take any athlete to the next level. The more competitive the undertaking, the more likely that physical skills are equal between competitors. When comparing similar athletes, the best mental game will win consistently. Instead of relying on what is figured out along the way, an athlete can rely on a wealth of scientifically proven and validated methods that elevate performance.
Thanks for reading! I’m Dr. J., I run Mind Right Performance!
I help athletes, parents, teams, coaches, and anyone else looking to use sport and performance psychology to increase performance. Check out the Mind Right platform through the links, I would love to work together!