Summary by Nicole Westrupp
Sport and exercise is all about passion, if you don’t enjoy something how can you achieve your goals, gain success and be the best that you can be if your heart is not in it?
Sport and exercise carry a variety of emotions, from excitement to worry, contentment to depression, pride to shame, satisfaction to dissatisfaction, boredom to anxiety, and frustration to fun. It is the athlete’s ability to deal and cope with this variety of emotions that influences their success.
Quite often the difference between a good and a great athlete is not so much their skill and their physical capacity but more so their psychological skills, in particular their mental toughness.
All athletes/players should train their ‘thinking’ skills along with their physical, technical and tactical skills to be the best that they can be. The importance of psychological skills training is to get the brain and the body working together as a team.
To improve your psychological skills you need to identify your strengths and weaknesses which can then be sorted into three categories. The categories are;
- foundation skills which are motivation, commitment, self-esteem and self-confidence;
- performance skills are controlling activation (psyching up), coping with pressure and concentration/attention;
- facilitative skills which are communication skills, team building, training motivation, psychological rehab from injury and retirement and lifestyle management.
The methods to improve these skills are;
- practice and education
- goal setting
- mental preparation
Working on your mental toughness will enhance your peak performance, just check out Michael Jordan;
“I think my mental ability has improved drastically, and maybe my physical ability has diminished a little bit. But I think, in the overall picture, I am a better basketball player” Michael Jordan (US basketball player, after being named MVP when the Chicago Bulls won the NBA champs in 1996).