Preseason Mental Workouts
The preseason is a time when athletes often look to gain recognition from coaches and prove to everyone including themselves that they have what it takes. Often athletes increase their hours on the field as well as time in the gym. One area that many athletes overlook is how to get their mind ready for the season. Below are some tips:
1. Setting the Right Goals: When getting back into competing and striving for that positive jump in performance it’s critical that athletes set the right goals. It’s easy for many athletes to get ahead of themselves and plan on achieving more in the next preseason and even season than before. However, athletes should instead focus on setting goals that enhance the right emotions over objective goals such as scoring more points or running faster times. Setting goals on emotions in the pre-season allows for the athlete to start training their mind and body to stay in a good feeling state where they can stay more calm and focused under pressure. One of the most common statements that I hear from athletes who are playing their best is that they really enjoy the moment. Setting goals based on how you can enjoy each moment of the game even on the toughest days will pay off in the end.
2. Positivity Reps: Many athletes realize that they need to be positive in competition but few actually practice it. I like to compare this to going to the gym. If you train in the gym and workout each day does it pay off when you compete? Do you feel stronger than if you waited till the day of the game to give 100%? Absolutely. The same applies for positivity. In the preseason athletes should challenge themselves to practice being positive both on and off the field. If your sibling (off the field example) or coach (on the field example) is giving you a hard time, challenge yourself to see it from a positive angle. These positive repetitions will help get you into peak mental shape for when it really counts.
3. Taking Notes: The preseason isn’t just a time for getting back into the game, it’s about learning from your mistakes and being a more complete player. Training everyday and not taking notes is like doing your homework and not turning it in. In sports science studies, short-term memory is a key part of performance. Some studies have shown that short-term memory decreases significantly between the first 24 to 48 hours. Commit yourself to taking notes so that you do not lose what you’ve worked so hard to learn. Making sure that you can recall what you need to work on and what you’ve learned from your last preseason game or workout can be the difference in getting to the next level and not starting for your team.
4. Mental Workouts: Athletes often engage in various forms of physical conditioning but many times do not workout their mind. When in preseason one of the biggest goals is being ready for when it matters. This means handling pressure in competitive environments. During this time athletes should spend some time when off the field rehearsing how they plan on playing each game and imagine how they will overcome pressure and other obstacles.
For more information on how to improve your mental toughness or if you are interested in getting serious about your mental game visit www.gospmi.com and start training today. SPMI is a sports mental toughness training company for all athletes. Currently, SPMI works with over 20 different sports both locally in South Florida and world wide via 1-on-1 Online Mental training.
-Patrick Albán, M.S.
Director of Mental Training, SPMI