• Kate Allgood

Mental training and Awareness

In the process of mental training there are a lot of factors that come into play for an athlete to be at their best. However, the number one factor that is important for any person to develop is self-awareness. One must have a certain level of awareness in order to be able to make the changes necessary to grow and become better. Most people avoid doing the work necessary to develop self awareness because it can be uncomfortable, uneasy and make them feel threatened, however, once you go through the tunnel and become more aware a whole new world is opened to you.

Awareness is not something that is developed over night, it takes time and there are stages of awareness, with each one getting you closer to being fully aware. Once you know which stage you are in, you will begin to be able to do the work to improve and move on to the next stage.

Difference stages of awareness:

Stage one:

In stage one we are unaware of our inner dimensions. We move through life with blinders on and have difficult seeing, for instance, our own anger and how it makes us act. For example, this is often seen when athletes start yelling at a referee or take bad penalties in retaliation.

Stage two:

We begin to become aware of our inner dimensions, but in retrospect. We see things after they have occurred. We see after our competition, how getting angry and taking action, impacted our own performance and that of the team. Often in this stage we think “why in the world did I do that?”

self awareness - mental training

Stage three: 

I think this is the most frustrating stage, as we become aware while we are doing something, without the ability to alter it. Using the example of getting angry at the referee or taking a bad penalty , we observe ourselves getting angry at the referee or taking the penalty, and are aware it might not be the best thing to do, but we have difficulty stopping ourselves from doing it.

Stage four:

In this stage we now have more of an ability to be aware and change things in real time. We observe our anger rising, we feel a desire to yell at the referee or take the penalty, but we are able to stop ourselves from acting on our emotions. Often this occurs because the part of us that observes the anger, overrides the emotion, by seeing the consequences of acting on our emotions.

Stage five:

This stage is about being proactive, and doing things regularly that help us to monitor our inner dimensions and take action before we get to the boiling point, and fall into stage four. Using the anger example again, we become aware prior to our competition that we are a bit angry, and choose to do something then to help release the anger before the competition. By releasing the anger, we no longer have it built up inside of us. With less anger built up we are less likely to become overly angry during our competition and the situation that made us want to yell at the referee, it no longer has such a dramatic impact on us.

As can be seen through the different stages above, one of the key elements in awareness is learning to become an observer and separate from our inner dimension. Everyday we get messages, from our body, mind and feelings. However, we are so attached to them, that we allow them to be our reality. We allow our body, mind and feelings to tell us who we are and how we are going to perform.

To learn more about how to develop awareness check out this video