Knowing how to reach your top performance in sports competition can be challenging. Distractions and unplanned circumstances before and during the sports events may throw off your game. This is where mental performance coaches play an important role in preparing athletes to get the best out of their potential.
Performance is more than just physical prowess; it is also mental toughness. What’s good in a 7-foot basketball player if he panics when challenged at the rebound? How could a well-built boxer win if he cringes when pressured by his opponent?
Providing athletes with the mental tools through will help them manage their performance and make them ready to perform at their best. Mental skills in sports are learned in practice, just like any other training. Some of these strategies are:
· Goal setting
· Thought management
· Emotional control
Incorporating the elements above into an athletes’ daily practice will allow them to be more prepared and more focused.
The Benefits of Having a Mental Preparation Coach
The reason most of the successful athletes hire a mental preparation coach is that they understand and value the importance of mental preparation. Mental performance coaches use sports psychology principals and are experts in the guiding principles of human behaviors. Unlike what some believe, it is not simply about encouragement, motivation or a pep talk, in fact, it is a set of tools and methods for training the mind to be tough, resilient, to be able to withstand pressure and to develop new success habits.
What You Will Achieve With Mental Preparation Coaching
No matter how physical a game may seem, sports competitions are actually mental events. Even athletes whose only task is to lift weights needs mental planning and mental strength.
Here are some benefits of mental preparation coaching:
1. Develop a success-oriented mindset
Mindset is the way you look at yourself and your abilities. There are two different kinds of mindsets: growth mindset and fixed mindset. If you doubt yourself, you already lost half the battle. A fixed mindset can make you lose before you even start, and you might find yourself giving up early, at the smallest sign of defeat.
A growth mindset, on the other hand, will make you consistently improve yourself even when facing setbacks and difficulties. You will see efforts as a path to mastery. When a person with self-doubt sees a mountain, he sees an insurmountable obstacle. When a person with a growth mindset sees the same mountain, he sees a challenge. Having a growth mindset enables you to see the possibility of improving beyond what you think is your limit.
2. Build self-discipline.
Self-discipline is the ability to control yourself against your impulses. Usually, people who do not have self-discipline fail because they do what they want instead of doing what they need to do. Many athletes lose an easy fight because they skip training or eat what they are not supposed to eat for example. Others don’t have the self-discipline to stay away from distraction.
3. Boost confidence
Confidence is a big issue in sports, especially after a defeat. Lack of confidence can make you worried, which can hold you from achieving your goals. Confidence is what enables you to have the courage to win. With the help of a mental preparation coach, an athlete or a team can learn how to build confidence through various practices and strategies before and after the competition day.
4. Stress management
One of the most important skills an athlete needs to learn is staying calm under pressure. Without this skill, an athlete will find it difficult to win against a worthy opponent. The opposite of calm is panic, stress, and anxiety. When an athlete panics, he loses his focus and his opponent will beat him. Athletes can learn stress management tools for staying calm under pressure so they can focus on what they need to do to win.
Hiring a mental performance coach for your team or yourself will benefit you not only in your sports career but also in life in general. Many of the things we do in life, such as presenting proposals in the workplace, negotiating a deal, and solving problems require the same mental tenacity as in sports.