October 18, 2017

Find your Athlete by Nicole Bryan

Find the Athlete in YOU

When watching athletic events on television, ever wonder how the competitors deal with the stress, pressure and energy of it all? Athletes work day in and day out, not only on physical strengths, but just as important to their performance is their mental strengths. There is a certain mindset and perspective that leads athletes to greatness. Some people adopt a fearful or anxious reactive perspective. For example, what if something bad happens? What if it rains on the day of my marathon? Successful athletes adopt a perspective that focuses forward. For example, what do I need to keep moving forward; water, calories, etc.

Successful athletes are very efficient about getting their needs met. Instead of focusing on how bad muscles are feeling or tired they are at for example, mile 20 of a marathon, successful athletes focus on what they need to get through the next time, match or game. Focusing forward also empowers the successful athlete to keep at it. What’s your perspective?

Keep moving forward. Don’t over think, over analyze, dwell on what was or could have been. Simply keep it moving forward. One step, mile, lap at a time.

Talk nice. Positive self talk goes a long way when things get tough. Have a mantra in place which you repeat over and over again during training or workouts to use as your go to during an event. For example “I am strong and steady.”

Find your zen. Relaxing into your sport or event will allow your mind, and in turn your body to ease tension to simply take the next step forward. Take in the scenery or try to empty your mind and focus only on the athlete in front of you.

Don’t fight the uncomfortable-ness. The purpose of having a goal is to force us to stretch. There will be uncomfortable times, there will be doubt, and there will be challenging times. Accept it and move on.

Train hard, and visualize harder. No doubt that if we don’t put in the time to log miles or hours on our hobby or sport that we physically will be unable to achieve our goal. However, setting aside specific time to sit in silence and visualize completing our goal will provide direction for our mind. Picture every detail of your goal and do it daily.

Be prepared for the good, the bad, and the ugly. Most times a single event will have many emotions tied to it. And most likely we’ll experience a wide array of all of them. Have a plan how to break the mental pattern of negativity and doubt. For example, singing your favorite song in your head, remembering a special someone or simply blanking your mind and focusing on an object around you. Choose anything that will break the mental self-sabotaging pattern.

Performing or reaching a goal like an athlete means thinking and acting like an athlete. Don’t settle for less.

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