When we think about training for sports, we tend to think about the physical side of training. While strength, endurance and sports skills are all important for athletes to have, a large part of success in sports can come from being mentally prepared. Engage in some mental training to be the best that you can be. Here are our best tips to train your brain and be on top of your game.
Put an Emphasis on Fun
Especially for young athletes, sports should be first and foremost about having fun. Though training for sports is tough work, getting through the bumps in the road is so much easier if fun is the primary objective. Winning is nice, but enjoying your time playing is more important.
Engage in Positive Self-Talk
We are often our own worst critics. Negative self-talk can leave you feeling defeated before you even hit the field. Don’t say unkind things to yourself that you wouldn’t say to others. Give yourself grace when you make a mistake. Use mistakes as learning opportunities rather than opportunities to criticize yourself.
Practice Visualizing Success
Your mind is a powerful tool in your success on the field. As a pre-game prep, visualize yourself going through the motions of game play. Think positive thoughts on the outcome of the game. Get very specific when you visualize how things are going to happen. Just thinking positively about the experience can help your physical performance.
Practicing mindfulness can help your overall mental well-being and keep you on top of your game. Mindfulness means being fully present in the moment and aware of what is going on around you, free from distractions. You can practice mindfulness by taking a moment when you are getting distracted — take a deep breath and come back to the present moment. Meditation can also help you with mindfulness.
Don’t Pressure Yourself
Competitive sports should be viewed as a challenge for yourself, not as pressure. You can choose how you interpret situations that might make you feel pressure. Actively engage and check in with yourself to see how you’re feeling. If you’re starting to buckle under self-imposed stress, give yourself a pep talk. Having a good attitude and engaging in positive self-talk will put you on the road away from pressure.
Your Performance Is Not Your Worth
Sometimes people will confuse what they do with what they are. Performance in sports should never define who you are as a person. Keep in mind that everyone makes mistakes and those mistakes do not define you. The effort you put into your sport is more important than the outcome. If you have put forth your best effort, praise yourself. If you’re encouraging your young athlete, praise their efforts instead of the outcome and let them know they are loved and supported unconditionally.
Competitive Edge aims to develop the “complete athlete” using performance sports training in Woodbridge, VA and surrounding areas. Members are able to enhance their athletic performance and develop a competitive edge to excel in their desired sport.