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I have seen a completely false quote floating around in various social media that says you can’t learn mental toughness.
I used to get angry when I saw it. But now, I smile because I know that those who ignore that and work on their mental game are giving themselves a huge advantage and I’m just the one to teach them. That is, YOU. While everyone else is buying that false statement and falling behind, you can take the lead. The mental strength game is the new frontier in sports.
The great news is that becoming confident and focused on success is no different than learning the fundamental physical skills any athlete learns for a sport. You just have to work on a few mental drills and over time, mind strength will become automatic for you just like any other skill.
Also, just like any coach, I have many drills I could teach you to improve your game but we have to start easy and build up to mastering your mental strength.
BTW: the great thing about this kind of training for sports is that you can do it anywhere. You don’t have to wait until competition in order to strengthen your mind.
So, here are the top 5 mental drills that any athlete should work on if they want that competitive edge.
In no particular order:
Drill #1: Imagination practice.
Other trainers call this “Visualization” but I am not a fan of that word. Why? Because a lot of people are not visual…and that’s ok, you do not need to be in order to get the benefits.. I teach the details of this in my programs but the bottom line here is that athletes make 2 mistakes with this: 1. They don’t do it enough. 2. They are too vague and general with what they want to achieve.
Get more detailed and specific in your practice, see better results, faster; it’s that simple.
Drill #2: Get present.
This is also very underrated as a skill but can easily be improved upon. Multiple times a day, place your attention on what your 5 senses are taking in to get into the present moment. Why do this drill? Because FEAR cannot exist in the present moment (unless you are faced with physical danger). FEAR is our biggest enemy in sports. Conquering fear is also one of the biggest SKILL’s in sports.
Drill #3: Use a mantra.
Find a really powerful, motivational sentence, a few words or even one word that you are open to repeating often to yourself, multiple times a day that will (eventually) mean something to you about your ability to compete at your best in sports.
Example: “I am capable”, “I never give up” or “I work harder than everyone else” etc. Say this to yourself dozens of times a day until you believe it wholeheartedly and you will notice a major increase in confidence, I assure you.
Drill #4: Learn to Let go.
Undesirable things happen to us every day in our life.
Make it a conscious practice to reduce the time between when those bad things happen and when we can move on. I know that may sound like its easier said than done, but the trick is to make it a habit to verbally forgive yourself when you make mistakes that cause those undesirables – especially in game situations. Sports mental toughness is about who handles making mistakes the best. Build resiliency with this practice. That’s really all you ever need to succeed at anything.
The ability to focus is like a muscle that gets stronger by using weight training. You get better and better by working on this as a daily habit. As with most sports you only need a very short time for intense focus and you can strengthen this ability easily.
It’s mostly about strength training for your brain. The more you do it – the stronger you will get!
Now it’s your turn.
Multiple times a day, pick something to stare at and time yourself for how long you can focus on that thing without any other thoughts creeping in. Something related to your sport (like a basketball hoop, a net, a ball, a puck etc) is ideal but it does not have to be related.
There you have it. It’s not so much about “doing it right” like you must with physical skill development. It’s about having an intention and getting your reps done.
Are you pumped up now!? I know you can do this. So let’s do it, lets supercharge your mental strength starting…NOW!
You got this. I know you do.