How to Get Started With Mental Training
Mental training works to increase your mental skills as an athlete. The stronger your mindset, the better you will perform. That's why it's important for you to be training your mind.
But in sports, training your mind isn't as common or straightforward as working on your physical skills. From an early age, a lot of focus has been placed on developing your mechanics and the fundamentals of your sport.
This is very important because without proper fundamentals, you won't get very far.
The same holds true for your mind. You want to focus on building the fundamentals of a strong mindset.
When you have high level physical skills and pair them with strong mental skills, that's where you find peak performance.
So, in this article, you will learn how you can get started with mental training as an athlete.
Two Approaches to Using Mental Training
There are two approaches you can take to using mental training as an athlete. You can either train on your own or seek the help of a mental coach.
Working With a Mental Coach
Mental coaching is all about proactively building positive mental skills. These positive mental skills will be what translate into greater success for you on the field or court.
A mental coach is a professional who works with you to uncover your current strengths and challenges and then helps you build positive mental skills.
They will show you different tools and techniques you can use, along with different exercises to begin putting mental training into actionable use.
When you work with a mental coach, this will happen through weekly coaching sessions either performed in person or virtually.
With the mental coaching I offer, each coaching session is followed by action steps. These action steps allow you to begin putting what you're learning into practice.
Working with a mental coach is the best way to get started with mental training because they will help you understand your mindset and what challenges are currently holding you back from performing your best.
Working on Your Own
The second option to getting started with mental training is doing so on your own.
As a mental coach, I am not at all against an athlete going about training themselves on their own. That's why I've created so many free resources you can use to get started.
There is nothing wrong with trusting in yourself to do the research and piece together a routine to follow. But there are some specific things you want to think about and pay attention to when getting started.
That's what we'll be covering in the remainder of this article.
Tips for Getting Started With Mental Training
If you decide to get started with mental training on your own, there are a few principles you want to follow.
What I'm going to do is list out those principles, and then outline a few of the main mental training tools you can use to begin strengthening your mindset.
Tip #1: Take a Personal Evaluation
Whenever I begin working with an athlete, the first thing I do is give them an assessment. This assessment helps me get a better understanding of their current strengths and challenges.
You want to take the same approach for yourself.
What you can do is make two lists. The first list should be your strengths. The second list should be your challenges.
The reason you don't want to only focus on your challenges is because you want to be sure you are continually building upon your strengths. They shouldn't be ignored, otherwise they run the risk of turning into challenges themselves.
Tip #2: Create a Routine
When it comes to physical training, you understand the importance of a routine. You don't just go to the weight room every once in a while thinking you'll somehow get stronger. And you don't practice your swing, shot, catching, or anything else on an inconsistent basis.
The same is true when it comes to mental training. You must train your mind consistently.
In order to train your mind consistently, you want to create a routine for yourself. This is known as your mental training routine.
It should consist of the exercises and tools you will use each day to strengthen your mindset and build mental toughness.
Tip #3: Focus on Proactively Building Skills
Whenever you are making use of mental training for yourself, you want to be sure you approach it in a proactive way. What this means is you are using mental training as a way to enhance your performance.
Yes, mental training is a fantastic way to overcome and manage challenges you are facing. But even when I work with an athlete to overcome performance anxiety, for example, our work revolves around proactively building positive mental skills.
One of my favorite skills for managing anxiety is self-talk. We use self-talk as a way of proactively building the athletes confidence and training their ability to control their thoughts.
So for yourself, you want to use mental training proactively. Focus on building positive mental skills just like you focus on improving your physical skills.
By doing so, the mental skills you focus on developing will work to overcome the challenges you identified.
Tip #4: Keep it Simple
There are many different tools you can use when it comes to mental training. But sometimes, all it takes is one tool to completely transform your game.
One of the things I've found that helps the most when I'm working with an athlete is keeping things simple.
But simple does not mean ineffective.
In fact, the simpler you can keep mental training, the more of an impact it will have on your game.
And what I mean by keeping it simple is sticking with just one or two tools you've found work for you. Also, not getting too complicated when it comes to the individual exercises.
The simpler you keep mental training, the more likely you are to actually use it consistently, and more importantly, the more likely you are to apply the tools and techniques you learn during games.
Main Mental Training Tools You Can Use
How to Get Started With Mental Coaching
By following the tips outlined above, you can feel confident when it comes to getting started with mental training.
But if you would rather work with a mental coach instead of going about it alone, what does that process look like?
Well, mental coaching is a one-on-one process where I will work directly with you on building mental skills and show you how to make the most of mental training.
With mental coaching we will have weekly coaching sessions (these are performed virtually so you have access to mental coaching no matter where you are in the world).
Then, following each coaching session, I will give you action steps. These serve as a way for you to take what you learn during the coaching sessions and begin to apply the mental training directly to your game.
To start the process of mental coaching, please fill out the form below.
Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of success in all that you do.
Contact Success Starts Within Today
Please contact us to learn more about mental coaching and to see how it can improve your mental game and increase your performance. Complete the form below, call (252)-371-1602 or schedule an introductory coaching call here.
Eli is a sport psychology consultant and mental game coach who works 1-1 with athletes to help them improve their mental skills and overcome any mental barriers keeping them from performing their best. He has an M.S. in psychology and his mission is to help athletes and performers reach their goals through the use of sport psychology & mental training.eli's story
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