So…apparently there’s this opinion floating around social media that a person cannot actually learn mental toughness as a skill.

I used to get angry whenever I think about it. Now I just smile because I know that those who ignore that nonsense and really work on their mental game are giving themselves a huge advantage!

While other athletes are buying into this fallacy and falling behind…you can take the lead!

Mental strength training is becoming the new frontier in sports coaching!

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.

Finally, an excellent aspect of these training drill is that you can practice them anywhere.

You don’t have to wait until competition to strengthen your mind!

Here are 5 mental drills that any athlete should work on if they want to gain that competitive edge:

(In no particular order)

Drill #1: Imagination practice

Some trainers call this “Visualization” but I am not really a fan of that word. Why is this? Well, many people are not visual…and that’s OK! You do not need to be in order to get the benefits. The difference is simply semantics.

I teach the details of this in my programs but the bottom line is most athletes make two mistakes with it:

1. They don’t practice it enough

2. They can be too vague and generalized with the goals they want to achieve.

Being detailed and specific in your practice will yield better results and faster…it’s that simple.

Drill #2: Get in the present

Often overlooked as a skill but it definitely is and, as such, can be improved upon.

Multiple times a day, focus your attention on what each of your five senses are taking in. This is to really get you into the present moment.

Why do this drill? Because FEAR cannot exist in the present moment (unless genuinely faced with immediate danger). FEAR is our biggest enemy in sports. Conquering one’s fear is a very important skill for athletes.

Drill #3: Use a mantra

Come up with a powerful motivational phrase that is personal to you. It only has to be a few, or even a single word that you are open to repeating often to yourself.

Repeat this “mantra” multiple times a day and it will become meaningful to you about your ability to perform at your best in sports.

For example: “I am capable”, “I never give up” or “I work harder than everyone else” etc. Repeat this to yourself dozens of times a day until you believe it wholeheartedly.

You will notice a major increase in confidence, I assure you.

Drill #4: Learn to Let go

Less-than-desirable things happen to us all the time throughout our lives.

The lesson here is to make it a conscious effort to reduce the time between when those bad things happen and when we can move on.

Easier said than done, right?

The trick is to make it a habit to verbally forgive yourself when you make mistakes – especially in game situations. Sports mental toughness is really about handling making mistakes, learning from them, and moving forward. Build resiliency with this practice. That’s really all you ever need to succeed at anything.

Drill #5: Practice Focusing

The ability to focus is sort of like a muscle that gets stronger through resistance training.

You get better and better at mental focus though a daily routine. As with most sports you only need a very short time for intense focus and you can really strengthen this ability!

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!

The Mental Toughness Academy is a cutting edge program created to help athletes improve their physical game by ensuring their mental game is on point.

We all have mental roadblocks we may not even be aware of that hold us back in and off the field. In our program we show you how to overcome the mental roadblocks keeping you back from performing at your fullest, instill you with confidence, and become the competitor you were meant to be.

Take Your Sport To New Heights With The Mental Toughness Academy

Welcome to the Winner’s Circle!

Craig Sigl, The Mental Toughness Trainer and Youth Sports Specialist