As athletes we focus so much on training our bodies – working towards being faster, stronger, fitter. However we often forget another very important part of being an athlete and that is our mental performance.
Competition provides a natural opportunity to develop active strategies for maintaining emotional wellness under stress, such as: thinking positive thoughts, practicing calming routines, and connecting with others. Training our minds to be calm, relaxed, and focused for sport is so important and makes us become the best athletes we can be.
Check out these TWO Mindful March training tips that can be done at home every day as a part of your training regimen, to help you develop a Strong Mind.
1) Visualize/picture yourself in your sport. You can picture/visualize yourself competing or you can visualize a skill you have been practicing.
- To do this, find a quiet place free of distraction. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to clear your mind of other thoughts. Then, visualize yourself in competition or training setting. Maybe it is out on the track, the soccer field, the basketball court or wherever you train/compete.
- Picture yourself performing a skill you have been practicing. For example, if you're a softball player playing on third base, maybe you picture yourself making a great catch and getting an out on third. If you're a golfer, maybe you visualize your tee off on the first hole.
- It is best to do this in real time. It should take you just as much time to visualize as it does to perform the skill in real life. Try not to rush the image.
- You can also make it more real by being in a sport specific stance, or even by wearing some of your equipment such as your softball or golf glove.
- If getting a clear picture is a challenge, that's okay. Keep practicing. Just as it would a sport skill, learning to visualize takes practice and time to learn.
2) Building confidence. What are two wins/successes you’ve had today that you feel really proud about? I challenge you to write about this success, draw a picture of yourself accomplishing it, or tell someone you’re close with about it.