It is no secret that athletes need to physically train hard to be competition-ready and spend many hours in the gym pushing themselves to be the best. However, physical training can only go so far. Mindset, attitude, beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and emotional states also directly affect our ability to perform.
While frequently overlooked, these cognitive skills are just as necessary as physical techniques in the athletic arena. Our competition mindset plays a vital role in our performance, whether it’s how to assist ourselves in coping with failure, loss, or injury or how to build resilience.
The Why Behind the What
This is not just anecdotal knowledge. Recent studies have found that your mindset and the way you talk to yourself leading up to and during a competition can dramatically affect how you feel and impact your overall performance. Learning to assess and take charge of your thought process is a vital skill for any serious adult or teen athlete. This simple step can increase your self-awareness and help you understand your performance better.
At Pure Health Center, we have recently introduced a Sports Mindset Coaching program for teen athletes. Sports mindset coaching works with teens to learn effective communication and how to reframe their negative thought patterns, self-doubt, and fear of failure into positive self-talk. This coaching ultimately leads them to do more of what they love and get out of their own way.
Keep reading to learn more about what this might look like.
Assessing your Mindset
Developing a healthy competition mindset begins with knowing first where you stand and what thoughts are getting in the way of reaching your goals. For teen athletes in particular, asking themselves reflection questions develops their curiosity, increases their ability to make better decisions, and accelerates their learning process. While the honest answers to these questions may not always reflect sunny positivity, they still give you a sense of where to begin.
The following are examples of questions you can ask yourself before, during, or after competitions, training, and recovery:
- How would I describe my best performance?
- How do I feel right now?
- How do I react when I am under pressure?
- What has worked in the past?
- Is there anything I can control in this situation?
- Is there anything I can do to help me feel better?
- What steps can I take to feel more confident?
- What skill or ability do I want to work on before next season?
In addition to these, reframing your thoughts or looking at things more positively, such as seeing a task as an opportunity rather than a threat, can put you back on track to helpful self-talk and developing a holistic and healthy mindset.
What Factors Influence a Holistic and Healthy Mindset?
At PURE Health Center through our sports mindset coaching, we use a holistic training approach to help you achieve your goals and maximize your results. A holistic and healthy mindset views each athlete as a whole being, with physical, emotional and mental needs, on and off the field. Our holistic athlete mindset coaching integrates an understanding of how physical training, nutrition, recovery, and mental health are each necessary components of the teen athletes we work with.
Our work together aims to instill competencies in athletes, such as perseverance, resilience, respect for rules and regulations, teamwork, team values, leadership skills, and awareness of good sleep hygiene. Additionally, we teach our holistic athletes to employ emotional regulation to remain confident under pressure, handle adversity, and reflect constructively after competitions.
Can a Holistic and Healthy Mindset Improve My Confidence and Performance?
All athletes are susceptible to anxiety, no matter their age or ability. Sports mindset coaching helps athletes deal with anxiety, depression, or stress that comes from these high-pressure situations. Coaching provides tools that can be easily incorporated into their training regime, reducing anxiety when it’s game time.
Instead of setting unrealistic expectations, mindset coaching assists athletes in setting manageable and realistic goals based on their performance. As a result, you gain confidence rather than feeling disappointed. As we better understand our unique abilities, skills, strengths, and weaknesses, believing in ourselves, and holding a positive perception of ourselves can improve our performance and raise our confidence.
Many athletes have found that assessing their mindset and working with a coach who gets it has noticeably improved their confidence and performance. In our sports mindset coaching program, athletes are encouraged to believe in themselves. Our approach rests on the foundation that they already possess the skills they need to succeed. Sometimes, athletes need guidance in finding the right tools.
We currently offer single sessions and a series of two to three mental workouts provided by our sports mindset coach, Katie—a licensed therapist, and an athlete. If your son or daughter is experiencing mental blocks that prevent them from achieving peak performance, or they’re paralyzed by perfectionism, we encourage you to reach out today. Please visit our website or call 312-324-4502 for more information or schedule an appointment.