• Kate Allgood

Developing the mental skill of listening

Mental skill of active listening

You might be wondering what listening has to do with being a good athlete and having a good mindset? Well, one of the reasons listening is important is because it is through communication that we learn how we can improve as a player and person and it is also through what we hear that can either benefit us or cause stress. What I mean by that is often times we hear what someone is saying but it is through the lens of what we think they are telling us rather then what they are really telling us. Our emotions or own self doubt can could what we hear. Often times a coach will be telling a player one thing, and they interpret it in an entirely different way, either causing stress for themselves or missing the point of what the coach was saying and therefore not doing what they are asking.

Now it is not all on the listener, a person needs to be able to communicate and make sure they other person understands. But we have an issue with listening as humans. Most of the time when we listen we are thinking of what we want to say in response or what we need to do later, instead of really listening to what is being said. That is active listening. Being present to what someone is saying is a key mental skill to develop because it allows us to be present, to really hear what is being said, ask questions and not stress ourselves out unnecessarily. Being present is a difficult and major mental skill everyone needs. If you can’t be present while listening, how will you be present in a key moment of a game, when there is more on the line and more pressure? Use the opportunity to practice one of the most difficult mental skills to develop, and also see how it can benefit you far beyond just learning to be present.