Being fit for competition is one thing, but being mentally capable of performing when it matters is a chain of sports psychology that’s red hot in the sphere of professional sports. Everyone who’s ever been a member of a club has known an athlete who excels in training, yet blows it when it truly matters. Some people are able to deal with the pressure of competition, while others should stick to staying fit and perhaps coaching.
According to Dr Jim Loehr, author of The New Toughness Training for Sports and chairman of the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Florida, mental toughness is, “the ability to consistently perform towards the upper range of your talent and skill regardless of competitive circumstances.”
Here are TRAIN FOR HER’s top five tips for helping you face and conquer the mental challenges posed by tough competition, thus allowing you to compete at your very best:
So, things are not going your way. You lost a player from a tackle or your opponent got switched at the last minute. One of the keys to staying mentally strong is the ability to adapt and remain relaxed, without going all defensive. Also, stay open to growth and development: remember, every champion is also a student.
Even when the chips are down finding the inner strength to come through adversity and fight to the end is essential in professional sports. As NFL Hall of Famer Vince Lombardi once said: “Winners never quit, and quitters never win.”
Cutting corners is nothing but a fast track to failure. Hours in the gym and honesty in competition are the key to a healthy mind, body and spirit. When you prepare right then you can compete with a clear conscious and 100% confidence.
Winners lose. It’s how athletes bounce back from any setback that truly makes them a champion. Being able to learn from mistakes, and push forward from a defeat is what separates the good from the great. Likewise, it’s human nature to make a mistake once in a while. Developing thick skin is the prerequisite of any pro athlete.
Becoming a cheerleader for your team, or simply masking a heavy blow from an opponent are all forms of sportsmanship that must be mastered to succeed. Never let an opponent know they have you down, it will only lift their performance. Instead smile at any challenge and always support your team.
For more expert tips and full-length articles on how to physically and psychologically strengthen yourself, check out TRAIN FOR HER.