3 Mental Preparation Tips For Athletes
How do you prepare for competitions? For many athletes when they answer this question it will come down to physical and tactical preparation. However, the mental preparation is also just as important. Preparation comes down to mental, emotional, physical and tactical. If you are not focusing on the preparation of all the elements that contribute to your performance, then it will make it hard to have the confidence you need to perform at your best.
Preparation breeds confidence, and how you mentally prepare can come in different forms, but here are three I do with my clients on a consistent basis:
Tip #1 - Develop Action Plans
Action plans are about creating strategies for obstacles or distractions that could hurt your performance, and how you will deal with them. How you create an action plan can take different forms but here are some options;
a. Identify situations most likely to cause you to lose control, and make a plan for what you will do to help you recenter yourself and what action step you will need to take to perform. A good example of this is what is called if...then statements. If X happens then I will do Y. You want the plan to be detailed and specific. You want to give yourself something very clear to focus on. Writing out your if....then statements is important.
b. Create a plan around changing your thoughts. You will most likely have negative self talk at some point or self doubt. Typically we all have certain ways we think during certain situations. A good strategy to utilize is called thought stopping. Which is to write out the situation, then write out what your typical thought is in that situation and then write out the replacement thought. The one you would like to have.
Tip #2 - Imagery
Imagery is a great tool to use to help you mentally prepare. It can help you not only develop your skills, but also see yourself in situations, and get familiar with them. I have my clients do imagery at least 5 minutes each day. To see and feel themselves perform not only up to their potential and the ideal performance, but to also see themselves adjusting and responding to difficult moments. To reinforce the plans they made in their action plans.
"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." – Benjamin Franklin
Tip #3 -Train Your Attention
Your attention is your greatest asset. In order to perform you must focus on the right thing at the right moment, and be able to adjust your attention to the ever changing demands placed upon it during competition. You attention determines a lot in your performance. How in or out of sync you feel, how confident you are, or how self fulfilled you feel. If you do not train your attention you leave a lot of your potential on the table when you walk into your competition. Your attention is multifaceted and you need to train all aspects of it to help you be at your best. One of the best ways to do this is through mindfulness.
Mental preparation breeds confidence
Your mental preparation is a big part of your confidence and ability to go out there and perform how you know how. Make sure you find ways to mentally prepare, so you can walk out there and know you did everything you could to prepare. If you want expert help on how to build mental preparation strategies and implement them contact us today to find out how we can help you build the mental framework needed to explore the upper limits of your potential.
To your success,
Kate Allgood, Owner.
About: Kate Allgood is trained in the field of applied sport psychology. She holds two graduate degrees in psychology where she graduated with distinction. She has spent the past 12+ years working one on one with high school, college, Olympic, and professional athletes to help them with their mindset, mental performance and mental skills training. Kate has also been a consultant for professional teams, including the Anaheim Ducks primary minor league affiliate the San Diego Gulls, to help the team and players develop their mental game.