Jan 13, 2012 2:52 PM
In my first installment of The No Limit Athlete (Part 1) I covered The Physical side of the "no limit" athlete equation. Today I will share the second crucial part of the no limit athlete: The Mental. Again, physical training without mental training will never produce a consistent peak performing, "no limit" athlete. Like the physical the mental part of becoming a "no limit" athlete is always a choice.
While all athletes are accustomed to the rigors of physical training few understand or undertake significant mental training. For athletes and their parents mental skills training can be hard to wrap their heads around (no pun intended). In reality the game is 90% mental and when the rubber hits the road...when the game is on the line physical training alone is simply not going to be enough to get your athlete to the no limit level. Let's look at what mental factors will:
1. Thoughts are things. Building mental skills mastery begins with the recognition that thoughts are things and thoughts are powerful! We each have over 50,000 unique thoughts every day. What your athlete thinks about in terms of her game will determine her level of success. Thoughts can limit or propel your athlete toward no limit status.
2. Beliefs. Your athlete's beliefs about herself are interwoven with her thoughts. If your athlete believes that she can accomplish a certain task or play at a certain level she will likely create thought patterns which reinforce her positive "can do" beliefs. Likewise if your athlete engages in limited thinking, that she cannot accomplish specific tasks or play at a certain level, she will engage in thought patterns which will reinforce her limited beliefs about herself. Beliefs are extremely powerful and become ingrained within the mind. Young athlete's beliefs are often distorted, so question your athlete's beliefs about herself and her game.
3. Resiliency. Because of the difficult nature of the game your athlete must be resilient and bounce back from the inevitable adversity the game throws at her. This means framing mistakes and less than ideal at bats or pitching performances as opportunities to learn and grow from versus responding harshly towards herself after each mistake, causing a downward spiral in her game.
Thanks for reading! -- John Kelly, Softball Smarts