Mindset Predicts Success as an Athlete | STACK

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Mindset Predicts Success as an Athlete

February 10, 2013 | Lee Gordon

Dejected Athlete

There are four components necessary to become a complete athlete: movement, nutrition, recovery and mental state. Coaches spend years working on movement, athletes personally invest in nutrition, and trainers focus on recovery. Mental performance is often overlooked. So who's in charge of interconnecting the components by going inside the athlete's mind? (See Test Your Mental Toughness With the Sports Performance Assessment App.)

Athletes' Performance works with athletes on linking the four pillars together, because to achieve success, an athlete is only as strong as his or her weakest link. According to Trevor Moawad, AP's Vice President of Mindset Programs, every coach is looking for consistency; and the mindset piece helps connect the dots of all the other elements of elite performance. Moawad says, "The most common misunderstanding in sports psychology is that it's 80 to 90 percent mental. [Being mentally tough] comes from having [good] habits and... putting in a plan to do [them] daily."

This is not about radically changing the way you approach your daily life, but upgrading your game plan to be successful on the field and off. Successful athletes know how to prepare from the minute they wake up to the time they go to bed. It's about doing the small things savagely well—like adequate hydration, fueling, sleep and recovery habits—as well as training and on-field performance.

Moawad relates his work as similar to a net. You throw a broad net of athletic development over these athletes. Some will get hooked, others will connect best with a trainer, and still others will connect better with a psychology consultant. The one thing in common is the skill of the practitioner.

"Regarding mindset, everything you communicate is common sense," Moawad says. "There's nothing I can tell an athlete that they haven't heard before, but it's how I do it that matters. My broader skill, what allows me to be successful, is to communicate. [It's] the way you stay connected to the athletes. You have to be your authentic self. That athlete can tell authenticity."

Working on an athlete's mental state is valuable to some, but shunned by others. Not many schools have a "mental" budget, so this kind of education doesn't always pass muster in the athletic department. But now more than ever, schools and professional teams are allocating resources on recruiting services, yoga instructors, nutritionists and mental coaches. All of these services contribute to the success of an elite athlete. But to be that elite athlete, you have to understand your value off the field and always be thinking about how to improve your place in the world. The same can be said of a sports psychologist.

Want to develop your own strong mindset? Check out these STACK articles:

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Don't Take Your Headphones to the Gym

How Mentally Tough Are You?

5 Steps to Changing a Bad Habit

Summer Mental Training Plan for Wrestling

4 Tips for Building Confidence

6 Ideas to Build a More Cohesive Team

What's Your Backup Plan When 'Plan A' Fails?

How to 'Keep Your Cool' on the Football Field

5 Tips to Becoming a Successful Athlete

Mental Warm-Up: How to Build Confidence Before a Game

Home Field Advantage Is Real, Says Science

Overcome Your Fear of Failure

Make Goals, Not Deals

How to Improve Mental Focus on the Baseball Diamond

Tips to Be a Better Leader

Get Tough on Your Goals to Get Fit

So You Didn't Make the Team? 5 Ways to Move On

5 Tips for Playing Mentally Tough Tennis

Overcome the 5 Most Common Mental Mistakes in Sports

5 Steps to Becoming a Better Coach

Study: Athletes Think Faster, More Accurately Than Non-Athletes

Are You Playing With a Winning Mindset?

The Holistic Approach to Impactful Sports Coaching

3 Ways to Develop Your Football Warrior Mentality

How Clayton Kershaw Gets in the Zone

Growth Mindset: How to Think Like a Champion

A Coach Describes What It

Can a Faster Brain Increase Sports Performance?

Visualize Yourself Winning, and You're Halfway There

Positive Affirmations for Athletes

Why You Should Be Training Instead of Exercising

How Mental Performance Affects Your Workouts

Regain Your Confidence by Getting BIG

The One Word You Should Never Say to Yourself

Use Sports Psychology Against Your Opponents

4 Obstacles to Better Goal Setting

Build Mental Toughness in the Weight Room

How Mental Flexibility Boosts Your Game

How Nik Wallenda Prepared to Walk Across the Grand Canyon

4 Ways to Turn Mental Toughness Into Physical Toughness

4 Reasons Your Team Is Losing

Prepare for Any Situation With Mental Sunscreen