MENTAL HACKS FOR ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE | Healthy food, ample rest, and rigorous training are integral to an athlete’s life. As a sportsman, it’s essential to keep your body fit, healthy, and fully functional at all times. But most athletes and their trainers miss out on a component that plays a crucial role in athletic performance – the mind.
It’s believed that athletics is 10% physical and 90% mental. And although this is may seem like any other statistic, when you actually think about it, the evidence is quite compelling. Every high-level athlete is subjected to the same rigorous training and diet plan. So how come only a handful of them always come out on top? It’s because of how they train their minds.
Here are 3 mental hacks used by top athletes. Employ them, and you’re sure to improve your game.
The human mind is pervaded by millions of thoughts every day, and it’s easy to get distracted. So it’s quite natural for your focus to drift just before a big game or competition. Most athletes tend to recall past experiences and conceptualise future probabilities instead of being in the here and now. This can be extremely counterproductive at a time when you’re required to focus and perform optimally.
To remedy this, top athletes practice something called mindfulness meditation. Being ‘mindful’ means being present in the here and now, or as they say, “Enjoying the moment”. By bringing your awareness to your breathing and what’s happening around you, you can drown out negative self-talk and focus completely on the task at hand.
To be more mindful, meditate daily for at least 5 minutes. During this time, focus on your breathing and any sounds you hear around you. Simply bring your awareness to the present moment and keep it there for as long as you can.
Body scans are another technique used by world-class athletes to ensure peak performance. By getting in tune with different body parts, you can release any stress or tension that may be pent up in your muscles.This will help you develop a better understanding of your body and allow you to push yourself during peak performance.
For this technique, simply lie down on a comfortable bed and breathe deeply. Each time you exhale, imagine the stress and tension slowly disappearing from your body.
Once you feel completely relaxed, bring your awareness to different parts of your body. Start with the soles of your feet and make your way up slowly till you reach your head. Feel each body part as vividly as possible, and let go of any residual tightness or tension that you may be experiencing.
By strengthening the relationship between your mind and body, you can take your performance to a whole new level.
This is perhaps the most well-known tactic to boost performance, and yet, few people are aware of it.
Affirmations refer to ‘self talk’ or the things we tell ourselves on a regular basis. So if you keep saying things like, ‘I’ll probably mess up a few passes’, or ‘I doubt I’ll make it to the next round’, then it’s quite likely that you will achieve these outcomes.
Instead, if you tell yourself that you’re worthy and that you’re going to come out victorious, you have a much higher chance of performing well in the competition.