Mental Preparation

Mental health is just as important as physical health when training for a sport. Four factors contribute to this health: mental, emotional, social and meta-mental (reflection, discussion). Each factor works together with the rest to influence performance in sport, exercise, and physical activity. Before we talk further about mental skills training ask yourself the following questions: Do you have trouble staying motivated? Do you struggle with your confidence or your belief in yourself? Do you find it difficult to deal with pressure? Do you have a hard time staying focused or dealing with...Read more
Focus and Re-Focus Being able to focus properly can help you perform as you want to. During practice or competition you should be able to focus completely on what you are doing. When the unexpected happens, you should be able to respond instinctively. Also, you should be able to tune out distractions and not be bothered by them. These are all aspects to a formula for excellent focus. Did you know that you can practice how to focus by following these steps: Take two deep, cleansing, calming breaths to help you focus or refocus (if you find yourself losing focus). Focus on the positioning of...Read more
Prior to, and during the 2000 Olympics in Australia I worked with several teams and athletes in preparation for the games. At that time I found myself becoming increasingly aware of the distinction between experience and performance at a major athletic competition. In part, this originated for me many years previously when an athlete that I worked with for many years described his Olympic experience as " three hundred serious athletes and ten thousand at summer camp." This may be a rather harsh indictment and an overstating of the situation, however he was making the comparison to...Read more
The best athletes in the world all have one thing in common; they systematically train and try to improve the technical, tactical, physical and mental factors associated with their sport. There is a constant need to pay attention to results (in both training and competition), and a coach’s comments, as well as to monitor subjective feelings of well-being and focus. The most efficient and effective way for an athlete to monitor and track their progress is through the use of a training journal. Training journals are effective in that they provide the athlete with an organized and guided...Read more
Although I am not an avid cyclist, I am a runner and have trained and completed a number of half and full marathons. The physical training has been difficult at times, but equally challenging has been the mental aspect of training and race day mindset. I will share some insights I have gained over the years with regards to the mental side of endurance performance: Hopefully most of you would have taken part in a formal or informal training program, incorporating long rides and hill training, leading up to race day. If you have, be confident that you have the physical ability and aerobic...Read more
Stages of Change 1. What Problem?...No intention to change in the next 6 months 2. Oh, THAT Problem...Intending to make changes in the next 6 months 3. Ready…Set…Planning to change in 30 days 4. GO!...Made the change less than 6 months ago 5. Keep the Fire Alive...Made the change more than 6 months ago 10 Ways to Keep Active Lifestyles ALIVE! These 10 tips are derived from extensive studies of human behaviour change, neuroscience, cognitive behavioural psychology, and adult learning techniques. One of the tremendous advantages of walking v. running is that talking is so much...Read more
Whether it's career, education or fitness, people who are successful at anything in life set realistic and meaningful goals for themselves. Goal setting gives our lives greater focus and direction. By having a long-term goal we create a vision for the future. Before you begin any SportMed RunWalk training program, it's important to identify your reasons for beginning a walk or run program. Long-term Goals Some people begin a walking or running program, for example, to become healthier and fitter, others to improve their appearance and still others start training to challenge...Read more
As an athlete the best motivation to play is to love doing it. The three ingredients of motivation – knowing you can do it, getting encouragement from others, and having a good time - are important for keeping your "love of the game." ("May 2006 Newsletter Feature 1 ). What is your motivation to play a sport? Do you compete because you are confident in your skills? How you feel about your abilities and the environment you compete in can make the difference between whether you are having fun or just running along. If you like the thrill of competing and enjoy feeling...Read more
Imagine what is possible if you were able to free yourself from doubts and fears. Allow yourself to dream big and imagine how successful you could be at your sport. Dream goals let you explore unlimited possibilities and strive to achieve your maximum potential. As long as you can envision that your dream is possible then you can challenge the impossible. Write down your dream goals and explore these strategies to help you move towards achieving your dreams. Motivation is the difference between training for a sport and just working out. When you train as an athlete you look for progress...Read more
Goals give you the motivation to stick to your routine and perseverance to move on when the unplanned happens. Burnout, illness, and injury are just a few factors that may interrupt your training routine. When the road turns in another direction, setting short and long-term goals help you stay on track in a number of ways: They can allow you to focus on what is required to improve. They can provide and clarify your direction. They can increase determination and persistence to achieve a task. They can increase confidence when tasks and goals are achieved. Goals should be self-motivated so you...Read more

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