I'd like to introduce to everyone The Thinking Mind. It likes to show up on big occasions and crash the party. Perhaps, you have recognized its presence before a big game, during crucial moments of competition, or right after sudden unexpected changes in your environment. In life, the thinking mind may present itself in decisive moments such as right before a big test, losing a job, or engagement proposal. In war, the thinking mind presents itself more and more before soldiers are sent into war.
Although, there are numerous mistakes athlete's make that cause poor performance, the act of focusing on time is one of the most common and one of the most detrimental. Focusing on time applies to much more then what you currently read on your watch or on the home screen of your smartphone. Below are several of the most common time related concentration mistakes that athletes need to be aware of and work to remove from their focus during competition.
Top athletes all share one successful mental skill that separates them from the rest of the field, a highly skilled ability to control and shift their focus from internal to external and from external to internal during the right moments. At SPMI, athletes are taught how to properly shift their focus as well as how to maximize each type of focus for all moments of performance. Internal focus is based on the athlete’s cognitions or thoughts. Internal focus is best used by the athlete when learning a new skill or dealing with a new discovery.
One of the most common issues athletes face is the overwhelming pressure that they feel before and during competition. Along with this pressure comes a shift in focus and an often fragile state of confidence. Many athletes then look for ways to improve their mental performance by asking how they can improve their confidence, stay more relaxed, and quiet the mind (avoid over-thinking). But the problem with many athletes goes beyond just the mental skills that they have not learned or mastered.
One of the most common struggles that many coaches and parents face when working with athletes are their difficulties in helping athletes stay in control of their emotions. Many Parents who first approach SPMI state that their son or daughter gets overly emotional and that they have tried everything to stop it. What is unfamiliar to many parents and coaches is just how the emotional process works among athletes and individuals. First off, to go into the details of how human emotions are produced would take far more space to explain.
Empathy is defined as the ability to focus on what other people are thinking and understand how other people see things. This critical skill in sports has tremendous benefits to not only athletes but also to parents and coaches. Research shows that when individuals are able to show sincere empathy to others in pain or emotional stress, it produces a powerful calming effect. This effect depends on the level of empathy that an individual can demonstrate to the distressed individual.
Professional Tennis player and SPMI athlete, Teymuraz Gabashvili, reaches his first ATP semifinal of his career last week in Sydney, Australia after beating #1 seed and #17 ranked player in the world, Bernard Tomic. Prior to reaching the Semifinals he was 0-16 in his career in quarterfinals. "Temo" has been working with SPMI for just 1 month.
One of the worst feelings every athlete has experienced at least once in their life is choking. It's that moment when the athlete feels a sudden, unpleasant, overwhelming sensation, where their body and mind almost gets taken over by a performance virus. This virus, if you will, debilitates the athlete's performance and ultimately leads to a loss that should've never occurred. In my work at SPMI, I am fortunate to reach out and help athlete's overcome this disastrous feeling time and time again. I want to share a little about why it occurs and some ways to help combat the symptoms.