Whether you are an athlete or a coach, mastering the mental game of sport will allow you to improve as a competitor. You can use mental training in many ways including all at the same time, or you can add them to skills you already have.
The Importance of Mental Training Skills
Yogi Bera has been quoted as saying, “sport is 90% mental and 50% physical.” Mental training skills are skills that allow you to do ordinary things under extraordinary conditions. During a big competition is when your mental training skills will generally be tested the most. For example in the 6th inning in the championship softball game and your team is down by 1 run. It doesn’t matter what level you are playing at… the effects are ussually the same unless you are able to stay focused and calm.
Every sport has 4 areas that we work on to improve, they are the technical, tactical, physical and psychological. The technical is the skills used to play the sport such as kicking the soccer ball or shooting the basketball. The tactical part of sport is the strategies that are used to play such as how to defend in football and the tactics are how to play standard positions such as second base in baseball or softball. The physical part of the sport as we know is about the strength, speed and flexibility such as in gymnastics where the athlete needs to hold themselves up during a rings event.
The one we are talking about here is the psychological or mental part of the game. This is being able to play the game or practice without the stress that can come with being nervous or anxious. Mental training skills are used to create a mental training strategy that will allow you to enjoy the experience of sports and perform to your potential.
Mental Training Skills Include:
- goal setting
- goal setting
- cue words
- self talk
- record keeping
- ideal performance state planning
Mental Training Strategies Include:
- distraction control
- emotional control
- game readiness
- self regulation
- stress management
- mental rehearsal