Picture attributed to PlusLexia.com.
Go visit them and see that their mission is to build the 'go to place' for young dyslexic for finding positive stories, about life with dyslexia, to motivate them to succeed in life.
For years now, I have observed many athletes who focus only on their fitness and technique to improve their performance. Unfortunately, they’re missing a critical piece. Improving fitness and technique works well at the lower and intermediate levels, but it’s clearly insufficient for high-performance. The greatest athletes in the world agree that “the mind is what separates the competition.” Obviously, athletes at every level need to take care of both the physical AND the mental. But how is an athlete supposed to DO mental training? It’s an important question.
Think about it for a second – what do you do to overcome issues like slumps, burnout, performance anxiety, nervousness, anger, choking and underperformance? As you will probably agree, the answer is not simple and the challenge is not minor. There are 10 “maxims” athletes can use to start overcoming these problems:
1. When you have a big enough “WHY” the “HOW” becomes easy. Do you know why you do what you do? Why do you practice so many hours? Conversely, why don’t you train as hard as you should?
2. If you do not know to which port you are sailing, no wind is favourable. (Seneca). You have got to have a clear path to reach your goal. I find most athletes do not know what they want or how to get there. They just hope that by setting off in any direction, they’ll somehow arrive in a favourable place. It doesn’t often happen that way. They end up making too many mistakes and are more likely to miss their opportunity to succeed. Worse, they copy other athletes – if you follow someone else’s dream you will only end up frustrated.
3. Process, Performance and Outcome goals are necessary parts of an effective Roadmap. Process goals are fully controllable actions you take daily that tend to cause you to perform in a way that increases the chance of attaining big outcomes. You need a combination of 3 types of goals – Process (highly controllable), Performance (moderately controllable) and Outcome (barely controllable). The Outcome goals can inspire you, the Performance goals can motivate you, and the Process goals can direct you.
4. Believe it to see it. It’s tough for most of us to believe something before we’ve seen it. Hundreds of runners had to watch Roger Bannister break the 4-minute mile, something thought to be impossible for over 2,000 years, before they could believe it was possible for them to do so as well. By the way, they all did it within 1 year after seeing it done. Bannister believed it BEFORE he saw it. Someone out there has to be the first believer – whether it’s in yourself or in a new goal, you have got to believe you can do. Confidence is the key to belief.
5. Visual imagery prepares your body to perform successfully. Every time you clearly imagine the action you intend to take, you increase the chances your body will successfully do it. Imagery is one of the most tested, reliable techniques to improve confidence and enhance performance.
6. Awareness is power. The only way you can change something for the better is to first become aware of the problem, and then become aware of the solution. Most athletes allow harmful thoughts (the crazy self talk) and images to stay in their mind because they don’t recognize them in the moment, or don’t know how to change them.
7. Recognize, Replace, Rehearse. We all have harmful thoughts and images that come into our mind at times. The key is to recognize the thought, know it’s not helping, replace it with a strong thought you’ve prepared prior, and then rehearse the process until it is a habit. It is what the best athletes in the world do – you can benefit from this 3-step process too!
8. Thoughts affect emotions that affect performance. Every athlete has an ideal emotional state that produces their best performance. The most reliable and effective way to create that emotional state is by learning to control thoughts. Use ideal thoughts to change your emotions so you perform better.
9. THE ZONE does not only come to athletes randomly. Athletes can enter the zone because of very specific reasons, and those reasons can be controlled. Athletes can be taught to apply mental skills that increase the chances of their Zone occurring. Bet you thought the ZONE was random??? Guess what, it’s not. Start by thinking back on the last time you were in the Zone. How did you prepare, what were you thinking about, what emotions do you remember? Use what worked before to build your own Roadmap to the Zone!
10. When describing how they feel when “in the zone”, athletes of all sports often use words like: carefree, effortless, automatic, powerful, energized and simple. If you HAVEN’T experienced the Zone recently, you can learn from those who have. Find ways to care less about the outcome while still trying your best. Keep things simple and let what you’ve practiced occur automatically in competitions.
And finally, guess what?
The best thing to read about right now is that in 2018, there is an innovative company coming to you that looks specifically at helping athletes master the mental approach. New ideas, state of the art technology and proven techniques will enhance every athlete and even business person’s ability to be truly ‘on top of their game’. That company will be the difference that makes a difference.
Keep tuned for more news!