Many athletes are very physically talented, but they lack the mental strength necessary to success. Others find that though they may not be overly talented in a physical way, their mental strength helps them. Very few have the perfect balance of both physical and mental strength. The hardest part? Finding it.
A lot of athletes suffer from pre-competition stress. This is one of the main things we look at with mental strength. The problem many athletes have is that they can perform great in practice but once they get out there to compete and do the real thing they’ve been working for, they get nervous and mess up.
The key is to keep your mental thinking process the same. If you think and concentrate the same way you do in practice, you will perform the same way in competition. For example, if you’re a figure skater going into a jump in your program, think through it the same way you always do. Don’t think “don’t mess this up!” Think about what you need to do and how you always do it.
But first, you need to CALM DOWN. You can’t perform well unless you calm the nerves inside of you. When I wait for my turn to compete, I close my eyes and find my “happy place.” This place is personal to you: don’t think “I like to go to the beach.” Think, “holding my kitten in my arms.” Try to think of a specific occasion that felt safe and happy: something that will calm you down.
Once you’re focused, calmed, and ready to go, get your mind into gear. You can’t achieve anything with half-effort: attack everything you go for. Don’t be afraid of messing up, just go for it 100%. If you try your best and trust your training, it’ll work out.
Stress comes to all athletes: whether you’re a figure skater, baseball player, gymnast…heck, even if you’re a singer. Any time you are under stress, these tips can help you to calm your nerves and perform your best.