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.
the mental game
Ever get so overwhelmed before competing that it causes you to underperform? Sometimes it’s more about distracting yourself before competition than focusing on it. Distractions can serve as useful tools in protecting our mind from becoming overwhelmed before competing. As athletes, we often experience overwhelming thoughts and feelings due to our fears of failure, disappointment, and expectations from our self and others, and even that once in a lifetime shot at achieving our dreams.
Getting Ready to compete………………. It’s less than 1 hour away from competition and every athlete is getting ready. Some athletes are physically warming up by doing some repetitions of a few basic skills. Others are stretching and listening to music, and some are strategizing with their coach and loved ones, while others are alone collecting their thoughts. Different Routines, Same Goal……………………..
As a junior tennis player looking to maximize your game the last thing you want is to let your passion turn into anger. Anger is a type of emotion that often translates into poor performance and has a positive effect on improving your opponent’s confidence as well as turning college coaches away from considering you as a serious candidate for their team. Think of getting angry on the court as an injury to your mind. Like a physical injury, your mind needs time to heal.
Bruce Lee said it best when asked about failure. “Defeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.”
For athletes to be successful at the highest level it is critical that they fulfill 3 of the bottom areas discussed below. Some athletes may be stronger in one or two of the areas where some athletes may only dedicate most of their mental game to one. Below, I explain how each area relates to peak performance.