5 Strategies for Developing Mental Toughness as an Athlete


What is mental toughness?

Mental toughness is the ability to consistently perform at your best in any situation. No matter what your skill level or talent, any athlete can learn to be mentally tough. Any athlete can use mental toughness to maximise their potential and get an advantage over their competitors.

Having the natural or developed psychological edge that allows you to cope better than your opponents with the many demands that sports places on you. Mental toughness leads more consistency, determination, focus & control under pressure. The difference between being good and great is often attributed to mental toughness.

Here are 5 tips and strategies to help develop yours

1. Be Present — Ignore the past and the future. There is nothing you can do about it in the present. Other than making a mental note of why you may have made the mistake, along with a plan to avoid that mistake in the future. Beating yourself up for a mistake will only erode your confidence and increase the likelihood that you will perform poorly in the future.

2. Develop Process Goals (Not Outcome Goals) — Process goals are related to specific actions. These goals shift the mind towards ideas that you can control, and actions which you are more likely to be able to execute 100% of the time.

3. Stay Positive — Anger and frustration increase heart rate, blood pressure, adrenaline and muscle tension, and can take several hours to physically recover from. Maintain a positive attitude, focused on believing in yourself, above all. Know that you can do this, that you have done this, and you will do this. By employing the following practice you are in a great position to stay mentally strong:

4. Embrace Nervousness — Use a number of strategies to decrease the effects of nerves. Use deep and calm breathing to diminish which can cause surges in adrenaline. Smile to release endorphins (natural pain relievers).

5. Visualise Success — Take time to picture you being successful. Feel the emotions and see the colors. Visualisation is a proven method for athletes and can enhance an athlete’s skill in a similar way as physical practice, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of training.

Which athlete do you think are the most mentally tough and why? Get in touch through social media and let us know!

Instagram @fitmind.app

If things ever get too much and you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about depression contact beyondBlue on 1300 224 636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.

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