Mental Training for Professional Athletes: Lean into the Discomfort
In this post I want to talk about leaning into discomfort and the opportunities it brings for growth and developing yourself as a person and athlete. We all want those times when we feel great, we have good confidence, results are coming and we are performing and feeling in the way we had envisioned. These times are great to have, they are also important, because they show us all the work we have done, and show us the benefits for the skills we have developed. However, you will not always feel the way you want to or get the results you want to or feel you are performing in the manner which you want. To have the good moments we must also go through difficult moments, uncomfortable moments. These are the times that test us, strengthen us and help us become the best version of ourselves.
This is why it is important to lean into those moments and times when things are not going as well as you would like or you feel more uncomfortable, less confident, more worried, or however else that might look for you. These times provide the opportunity to practice mental skill sets, to find our mental strength and provide an opportunity to grow. One of the most important elements during this time, is to have the attitude of it being an opportunity to grow, learn, and figure out what we need to do. Things are not always going to look or feel great, but that doesn't mean you can't still perform good or use the opportunity to become more consistent, to become better and more mentally tough.
One example of this is during meditation. I have a lot of my clients implement mindfulness and meditation in different ways, and most of the time it is not easy or comfortable. The mind wants to race, to distract us, even out physical body will do so, by wanting to move or itch. To be able to block out the noise of your internal voice or the desire to scratch is a skill set, and while the process may feel difficult and at times like nothing is happening or you are not getting any benefit from it because of how it looks or feels, is not true. You are actually getting more benefit by it being difficult, you are having to stretch you capabilities and learn to focus just on one thing and learn to tune out others. This is imperative for being a good athlete, whether it comes through meditation or another way.
So the next time things are difficult for you, or you don't like how things are looking, try and reframe the situation and make the choice to find how you can get better through it. Your choice of attitude in any situation is something you can fully control. A lot of things are out of your control and can be taken away, but this is one thing that can never be taken away. Learn to use this to your advantage.
To your success,
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Kate Allgood Masters Sport Psychology (with distinction) Masters General Psychology (with distinction) Sports Hypnosis Certification Muscle Activation Techniques Certification