Popular sport psychology states 4 characteristics of a successful athlete:
A foundation of quality physical training is an obvious requirement for skaters who are seriously pursuing an elite level. What is not so apparent is the plateau that can appear in physical training or performance due to a deficit in mental fitness. What you think affects how you feel and perform. Sport psychologist Gary Mack and co-author of Mind Gym: An Athlete’s Guide to Inner Excellence believes that “a champion wins in his or her mind first and then they compete, not the other way around” (Casstevens & Mack. 2004).
To make the most of their physical practice, athletes must also acquire a mental practice.
Achieving inner excellence is a process, building mental muscle, like physical muscle, requires time and effort. The more you work on the inside the more it will show on the outside.
The mind works most effectively when you’re telling it what to do rather than what not to do.
Think about the last time you were really on your game and performed at your best. Consider your mental-state; what did your self-talk look like, how did you see yourself?
“Under pressure you can perform 15% better or worse” – Scott Hamilton
Peak performers are goal oriented. Goals improve the quality of practice and performance. They clarify expectations, and increase self-confidence by seeing progress. Goals also increase the motivation to achieve.
Two of our greatest fears are the fear of being out of control and the fear of the unknown. Small, attainable goals allow your confidence to grow as you improve. Strive for progress, not perfection.
Your mind is a powerful tool. With mental training you can use it to perform at your best by choice rather than by chance.
If you’re interested in working with me to build a mental fitness program for you/your skater, contact me here.
Casstevens & Mack. (2004). Mind Gym: An Athlete's Guide to Inner Excellence [Audiobook].