Mental Conditioning Skills in Sports
The majority of our focus now in sports is on the physical side. We are obsessed with how high a person can jump or how fast their 40 yard dash is. Until lately, not much attention has been placed on the mental side of the equation.
With the rise of super athletes like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan we have listened to them talk more about what seperates them as athletes from the rest of the heard. The difference is their mental conditioning and mental toughness.
Mental conditioning in sports is becoming an increasingly studied practice. Team India made headlines recently with their mental conditioning coach, Paddy Upton, helping to push the cricket team on to a World Championship. Unlike a psychiatrist who deals with issues, a mental conditioning coach helps to build and strengthen the muscle of the mind.
There are many methods for building skills in the mind to produce mental toughness and focus – enough to fill entire books. But for the purpose of discussion we will narrow it down to a few quick points to go over.
Breathing – When preparing for a competitive sport take a few minutes to control your breathing before and during the event. The mind is like a puppy dog and will always follow your breathing pattern. Fast erratic shallow breathing makes for similar thoughts. Deep, slow and controlled breathing does the same for the brain.
Concentration – Not being able to constantly think about the subject or game at hand can be distracting. Learning to concentrate for longer periods of time will help increase you winning percentage within your sport.
Visualization – Being able to visualize your winning spot on the podium in great detail is a skill that can be developed over time. Making the winning shot or lifting your personal record are similar task with the same methods.
Check out the article below by Wayne Gretsky to learn how a great champion looks at his chosen sport and how he uses these same skills to rise above the rest of the crowd. Wayne Gretsky is one of the best examples of utilizing mental conditioning skills in sports.
Check out this video of Wayne Gretsky as he is interviewed and says the most important thing in hockey is to be prepared mentally.
Wayne Gretzky on The Mental Game of Hockey
By Peter Cohn
In a recent interview hockey legend Wayne Gretzky discussed the mental aspects of hockey. Gretzky is known by hockey fans as “The Great One” not only for his unbelievable talent, but also for his superior hockey mentality. To be a great hockey player you must display mental toughness and awareness on the ice. This means playing your hardest, reacting to different situations, and keeping up with speed of the game.
Gretzky believes that pregame warm-ups are key to winning in hockey. “You have to take advantage of your pregame warm-up. It helps you get in the right mindset to perform. Your warm-up sets the tone,” said Gretzky.
He also believes it is important to have a game plan for your performance before you step onto the ice. “You have to really know the team you are playing, and what you have to do win. If you’re playing an aggressive team you have to play fast and aggressive. If you’re playing a really talented team you need to know their weaknesses,” said Gretzky.
After an efficient warm-up on the ice Gretzky would go back into the locker-room and review his game plan. “I would take a few moments in the locker-room and visualize myself on the ice to help me avoid distractions and focus on my game plan,” said Gretzky.
Reviewing your game plan will help you focus on what you want to accomplish and free your mind of distractions. Set time aside before the game to visualize yourself on the ice executing your game plan. See yourself scorings a goal, completing a perfect pass, and defending your zone. This will boost your confidence and put you in a performance mindset.
Use your game plan to give you an advantage over your opponent. It’s important to stick with your plan throughout the game. Questioning your game plan will only distract you from doing what you need to do. Trust your preparation and give it your all on the ice.
If you have any questions on these mental conditioning-toughness articles or would like to be coached in mental conditioning techniques – please email [email protected].
Brad McLeod is one of the top mental conditioning coaches in the world and has taught hundreds of athletes and Special Forces candidates to reach their goals.
SEALgrinderPT can provide you with custom workouts and programs to increase your strength, flexibility, lower your running times and increase speed and work on mental conditioning and toughness.
I look forward to hearing from you and starting you on your path to your goals today.
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