Many athletes don't know where to start when they set out to develop a sport psychology training program. First, think about sport psychology one dimensionally, similar to how you picture physical exercises like weight lifting or technical exercises such as learning plays.
Mental training is designed primarily to help you maximize the effort you put into strengthening your body and learning your sport skills. Mentally tough athletes are more confident and resilient; and they do not allow pressure to prevent them from performing at their highest level!
Here are a few quick tips to help you develop your own unique mental training program, which will in turn improve your mental toughness and help you win more games! These are some ideas to get you started, but be sure to talk to your coach, parents, or even a sport psychologist (if you have one available) to learn more about how this training can help you reach your full athletic potential. Good luck!
1. Buy a sports journal and add inspirational quotes, pictures, and anything else that gets you motivated. Use the journal leading up to and throughout a sports season. In it, write down all your goals for the upcoming season, including strength, sport skills and other things you want to accomplish.
2. Keep track of your daily accomplishments, record them in your journal and look for trends and other findings that will allow you to learn more about yourself. For instance if you seem to have better runs in the morning than you do in the evening, jot it down!
3. On the field, develop a pre-game routine that enables you to feel positive, confident and ready to go. You might listen to a song; use imagery to "see" in your mind how you want today's game to go; or write cue words on your hand to look at during games so you can stay tuned in to what's important.
4. Try and develop what I call a "bounce-back" mechanism to help with anger and frustration. You might teach yourself to pinch grass and throw it into the wind, or snap a rubber band on your wrist to remind yourself to "snap out of it" when you start saying negative things to yourself.
5. Prioritize your sport psychology training program. Maintain your journal and use it to maximum benefit.
Photo Credit: sportjournal.com