Is your game not quite as good as it should be?

Do you train hard only to find that at critical moments your concentration not your skill fails you?

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Brad Stevens, Head Coach of the Boston Celtics, explains mental toughness this way:    “Mental Toughness in general isn’t being the most physical or just being able to make the big shot. It’s being able to do your job on the next play every single time. That’s hard to do. That consistency isn’t for everyone. And that’s why it’s the mark of really good players.”

build mental thoughness, grit and positive thinking for elite athletes



 Why do we need Mental Skill Building?

     We love to develop physical skills and physical fitness. We focus all our energy on it, hours after hours of training time. But if you ask any elite athlete what the difference between winning and losing at the highest level is, they’ll likely point to the mental side of sport. In saying that, it is also much more than creating mentally tougher athletes in the future. Building resilience and mental skills to be able to handle adversity is where the true benefit of sport involvement can transfer across to other domains in life. Simple skills like how to communicate effectively, use goal setting, engage reflective practice and learn focusing cues, can help teach young people the skills to be able to operate in future stressful situations and maintain resilience.

 Isn’t it all just about positive thinking?

             No it actually is not. When working with elite players and Coaches the common misconception is that Sport psychology, and my role as a mental skills trainer, is all about getting people to start thinking positively. There is this pervasive belief that somehow a 100% positive frame of mind will magically enhance long term success. Unfortunately, this is not factual.

One problem, life’s not always positive and during those tough times, our brain is not going to believe you when you say it is. Actually, you could look at it a different way and say that if someone isn’t experiencing a few negative emotions and thoughts, then they’re probably not doing something challenging enough. Because there haven’t been many people that have achieved something great without a few self-doubts and a bit of negative thinking along the way.

Further to this, there has been some popular advice out there that suggests you should imagine your goals happening to you. That you should visualize yourself as a winner and having achieved everything you want. In actuality, this has been shown to potentially have a negative effect on the chance you’ll succeed at what you want to. It’ll just be a fun dream.

So here’s the tip for young aspiring rugby players. When setting yourself a goal in rugby, take a different approach. Set yourself a positive, realistic and challenging goal, but then do something different: Write down all the things that are going to be extremely difficult about achieving your goal and then imagine yourself experiencing those moments.

For an example, if you set the target of making a representative team (make sure you have some small performance goals along the way) then think of all those potential obstacles you’re going to encounter. It could be getting up early for the gym in the middle of winter, avoiding alcohol when you’re out with the team, going through the process of learning how to catch a high ball or maybe not getting enough game time.

Imagine yourself experiencing the difficulties and still moving forward. Don’t kid yourself that it’s going to be all sunshine and rainbows. Think about the bad times, what it might feel like and how you’re going to get through them. You actually do want to Imagine yourself achieving your goals as well, but we don’t want to trick our minds into thinking that it’ll come easy.

So go ahead and dream big, but if you do, remember to contrast your dreams with some thinking about all the sh#@t  that you’ll have to deal with along the way.

  For help with your mental game call Emily at (215) 253-0042

Summerwind Circle
Bradenton, FL 34209
(215) 253-0042

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Summerwind Circle
Bradenton, FL 34209
(215) 253-0042
Request Appointment

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