Mental Toughness – The Overlooked Discipline

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Here are 10 perception Stretchers that can be used on a regular basis to help build mental toughness in both day-to-day and in training and competing. This list was adopted by Kenneth Baum from his book “The Mental Edge – Maximize your Sports Potential with the Mind-Body Connection”.Mentalwod

  • A Loss becomes a gain. Every performance can be used as a learning experience. Even when a goal or time is not met, things can be learned. After a competition, good or bad, take some time to make a list of things that went well and things that didn’t go so well. Use this list to learn and modify training plans to do better the next time. Only focus on one or two things to tweak at a time. Just brewing on the bad things will on make matters worse. Remind yourself of what went well.
  • If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. Change is good. Doing the same workout schedule every year, week in and week out does little to make progress. Be an experimenter. Become an innovator. Instead of getting frustrated because of lack of improvement ask yourself “What don’t I like about my results and what can I do differently?”
  • The imagination is more powerful than the will. Be creative.
  • Bodies work perfectly; the mind gets in the way. Don’t over analyze. Sometimes it’s good to let the body do what it knows how to do and just let things happen. If you’ve done the training, both mentally and physically, you have the tools to perform up to your potential.
  • Limitations are temporary. Approach each obstacle as a challenge rather than a brick wall. Instead of asking “What’s wrong with me? Why am I stuck in a rut?” ask “How far can I go? What can I accomplish?”
  • Anyone can play any sport better. Pattern yourself after another outstanding athlete in your sport. Break down their performance into mini-goals for you to copy. Visualize and imagine yourself performing like your role model by seeing yourself exactly how you want to be.
  • Events have no meaning except what you give them. Every event is just an event. It’s not life or death. It’s something that you’ve trained hard for. Try not to put too much pressure on yourselve. The competition is something that we should enjoy and not dread.
  • Getting better is more important than winning. The goal should be to perform at your peak level and if it includes winning great. If not, you did your best on that day.
  • Practice like you play. Very few of us can go out and perform hard on competition day without putting in the hours in training. We need to practice hour after hour to establish and strengthen that mind, body and emotional connection we need for competition. For this reason we need to practice the way we want to perform in order to perform the way we want to perform.
  • The more you expect from a situation, the more you will achieve. Expect to do well and you are more likely to do well. Expect to fail and you are more likely to fail. When you focus on the possibility of real success, you will be that much closer to your full potential.

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