“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” –Henry Ford
I have trained for sports my entire life, but it wasn’t until my college years that I realized the importance of mentality. Once I began developing my mental game, I elevated my success on the field. There is a direct correlation to mentality and success. If you are interested in becoming the best athlete you can be; here are some skills, by Jack J. Lesyk, Ph.D., which can be developed to elevate your game.
Source: Ohio Center for Sports Psychology
Detailed Descriptions of the Nine Mental Skills
- Realize that attitude is a choice.
- Choose an attitude that is predominately positive.
- View their sport as an opportunity to compete against themselves and learn from their successes and failures.
- Pursue excellence, not perfection, and realize that they, as well as their coaches, teammates, officials, and others are not perfect.
- Maintain balance and perspective between their sport and the rest of their lives.
- Respect their sport, other participants, coaches, officials, and themselves.
- Are aware of the rewards and benefits that they expect to experience through their sports participation.
- Are able to persist through difficult tasks and difficult times, even when these rewards and benefits are not immediately forthcoming.
- Realize that many of the benefits come from their participation, not the outcome.
Goals and Commitment
- Set long-term and short-term goals that are realistic, measurable, and time-oriented.
- Are aware of their current performance levels and are able to develop specific, detailed plans for attaining their goals.
- Are highly committed to their goals and to carrying out the daily demands of their training programs.
- Realize that they are part of a larger system that includes their families, friends, teammates, coaches, and others.
- When appropriate, communicate their thoughts, feelings, and needs to these people and listen to them as well.
- Have learned effective skills for dealing with conflict, difficult opponents, and other people when they are negative or oppositional.
- Maintain their self-confidence during difficult times with realistic, positive self-talk.
- Talk to themselves the way they would talk to their own best friend
- Use self-talk to regulate thoughts, feelings and behaviors during competition.
- Prepare themselves for competition by imagining themselves performing well in competition.
- Create and use mental images that are detailed, specific, and realistic.
- Use imagery during competition to prepare for action and recover from errors and poor performances.
Dealing Effectively with Anxiety
- Accept anxiety as part of sport.
- Realize that some degree of anxiety can help them perform well.
- Know how to reduce anxiety when it becomes too strong, without losing their intensity.
Dealing Effectively with Emotions
- Accept strong emotions such as excitement, anger, and disappointment as part of the sport experience.
- Are able to use these emotions to improve, rather than interfere with high level performance
- Know what they must pay attention to during each game or sport situation.
- Have learned how to maintain focus and resist distractions, whether they come from the environment or from within themselves.
- Are able to regain their focus when concentration is lost during competition.
- Have learned how to play in the “here-and-now”, without regard to either past or anticipated future events.
If you are interested in reading more information on mental skills, click on the link of the cited source above. Jack J. Lesyk, Ph.D, offers a pyramid representing the relationship between the nine skills and how they build on each other (also seen below).
“What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” -Napoleon Hill
By: Matt Lindamood