Mental toughness is a big part of sports success, but it’s surprising to see that only a relatively small percentage of athletes learn how to successfully use mental toughness skills. Even in 2014 when sport psychology training materials are more widely available than ever before, there are many athletes — including most young athletes — who still haven’t learned the basics around concepts like goal setting, focus, concentration, arousal control, and resiliency/coping. For some athletes the reason why they haven’t learned mental toughness skills is because they falsely assume only “loser” athletes need to learn them, while in other cases athletes simply haven’t found good information. In still other cases, athletes have valued the importance of mental training skills, but when it comes to dedicating time to learn the skills they haven’t followed through with any consistency.
Perhaps what is most unfortunate about not learning mental toughness skills is that these skills also work quite well off the field and provide great life skills training. For example, an athlete who successfully uses goal setting skills in sports can easily parlay this methodology over to life goals and likely see the same level of success. Similarly, when an athlete learns to focus only on the things that are relevant and under his control, he can use this same skill when involved in non-sport activities (like dedicating time to study for an important upcoming test).
If you are an athlete and sometimes struggle with anxiety and out-of-control nervous energy, there are sport psychology skills that can help. If you are a coach or parent and have watched a young athlete have difficulty with mental preparation, setting goals, focusing on the game, or dealing with adversity, take time to learn mental toughness skills and help teach athletes how to use them. Own the Game is one way to quickly get started — the video is designed to help athletes of all ages and skill levels quickly learn the basics of mental toughness, and can pay big dividends in a relatively short period of time.
Work smarter, not harder — confidence is king when it comes to sports success, and confidence building should be looked at with the same importance as weight training and sport skill acquisition.
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