Mental Strength and High Intensity Athletic Performance

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by GREGG SWANSON

Mental Strength and High Intensity Athletic Performance
For the next several weeks, we will be exploring 15 different ideas on how mental strength is just as important as your physical strength when it comes to high intensity athletic performance.

If you aren’t aware of what you are focusing on, you are cursed to continue repeating poor performances time and again.
The truth is only a few people understand the importance of how a high intensity athletic performance is impacted by the mind and how having great mental strength is critical for their performance. This can be seen in programs like CrossFit where your mind helps you to push through the process and work your body to new levels of intensity. Unfortunately, there are some people who still don’t see the correlation between these, and the result is an inconsistent or subpar performance.

Understanding just how powerful your mind is, you will find your mental strength is the key to long term success. However, this doesn’t guarantee you will reach your peak levels in a high intensity athletic performance that can take you to professional athlete levels. Instead, it will ensure that with the focus and the dedication that comes with it, you will remain a consistent performer within your own unique athletic ability.

During the next few weeks, I will introduce you to some specific steps that help you to:

• Better understand how mental strength training is critical to your routine.

• Provide you with the tools and techniques that are essential for your long term performance when combined with your mental strength training. The result being enhanced athletic performance.

So let’s get to it…

Step 1: Being Aware

Step 1: Being Aware
Although it is obvious, there are still many athletes who still have no idea what is going on in their mind. While this step is fairly short, it is one of the most critical ones for your mental health. If you aren’t aware of what you are focusing on, you are cursed to continue repeating poor performances time and again. Of course, you will remain restricted to your technical athletic skills, so you need to make certain they are also where they need to be.

With this step, you need to become aware of the power inside your mind and understand that your mind controls the success or failure of this process.

If you are struggling but have the physical and technical ability for the sport, your mental strength is where you are experiencing problems.
This means you are focusing on things that are not important and they are beyond your control: your mind is too focused on doing well but can’t perform because you are becoming tense. The result is a performance decline.

Why?

Your mind is giving you a negative self-talk that is distracting you from being your best. During this time, your desperate attempts to break free of the slump only will reinforce the mind frame that something isn’t working and distract you even further. These are the mental mistakes that are impacting you before and during your athletic performance and the results are negative.

Once a person is aware something is happening, and it is not their physical or technical skill, they can begin to move on to the next step of focusing on their mental strength.

Step 2: Getting Back in Control

Step 2: Getting Back in Control

In sports and in life…you will always get what you anticipate.
To get back in control, you need to recognize the mental slump and how you can move past it. As soon as you understand just how powerful your mind can be, you will recognize how it undermines your performance or enhances your athletic ability.

Two Key Mental Mistakes

It is important to recognize there are two main mental errors that can diminish your athletic performance.

  1. Participating in destructive self-talk
  2. Area (focus) of concentration (before and during event) is on all the wrong things.

Once you understand these critical mistakes, you can focus on building your mental strength so you can avoid future problems. This is done by:

  • Learning to maintain your cool in the clutch.
  • Letting go of mistakes.
  • Mastering the art of positive thinking.
  • Remaining motivated.
  • Being constructive after failing.
  • Preparing for events and get into a zone.
  • Boosting self-confidence.

To gain a better understanding of how your mental state directly impacts your performance, it is important to understand how the death spiral hits you. This is a slump you experience and as an athlete, likely stay in that zone.

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