At FTP, we are big on how athletes develop themselves mentally to prepare for their challenging career. While many aspire to become bulletproof in the head, just like base fitness, it all begins with the small things and how an athlete can tune themselves for better performance. Before we begin, we recently published a post about mental strength and you can read about it here.
Everyone assumes that mental strength is something we are born with. This is akin to thinking that genetically, sporting excellence is an innate talent and not a result of years of hard work. It all starts with the simple preparatory phase and this must be trained. It does not come naturally for most of us and most certainly will not just appear on match day. Preparation is key and practicing and honing these skills take consistent and hard work.
While there are a variety of techniques that we can touch on, we will speak about one of the most looked over ones this time round…. mentally preparing to train. We see so many athletes reach their training ground 5 minutes before a session and mindlessly pound away. Even worse, with today’s trend, consistently on their mobile phones and only turning them off just before a session begins. The inability or unwillingness to settle their minds before a training session ultimately reduces the quality of the training. For most of us, our minds are unable to turn on and off like a switch but instead requires time to zone in on what needs to be done. Elite athletes however, are able to think nimbly and further focus their minds at will when against tougher opponents or against rougher conditions not because they were born with it but because they trained for it.
During a match, the difference between an athlete who is mentally switched on and one who is telling and impacts results. The moment adversity hits, it is this empowerment by the mental fortitude of the athlete that sees them through. How many times have we heard athletes complain that the waves were too big or the headwind was too strong or their opponents were too tough? Why is it that only some athletes complain but some are able to get through it? Why is it that unseeded players are able to upset top seeded ones while others crumble at their feet? It all starts in the head.
So, taking this into consideration, arrive early for training sessions and free yourself from distractions. Focus on the next few hours that need a full chemistry between your body, mind and soul to optimise your training efforts. Since you’re already there, get the fullest out of it. Be prepared to take on anything during your training and cultivate that bulletproof mindset. The more you hone these skills, the more they become available to you during competition. Just like our bodies, our minds need the consistent training to become stronger and we always believe that its way better to fall apart mentally during training than for the wall to hit you during competition.
Fuel.Train.Peform is a website dedicated to providing elite level knowledge for athletes who wish to turn professional or are in the continuous pursuit of excellence.
Follow us on Instagram @fueltrainperform and hashtag us for a possible feature.