Prioritize Mental Strength Training

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Prioritizing Mental Strength Training

by Jane Crowshaw CEC

When coaches and athletes are asked about the importance of mental strength training for high performance, they generally agree that the mental side of sports is just as important, if not more important.  

Mental strength training is equally important for performance of any kind; corporate, sport, art, and music, to name a few.

The challenge is that when these individuals are asked how much actual time they devote to mental strength training and preparation, the answer is… “not much at all or not as much as they should.”

As we all know, when the physical, technical and tactical part of any discipline is put to the test, a mentally strong individual will be more prepared to handle the pressure, maintain solid decision making, and push past fear and fatigue.

Furthermore, research estimates the actual number of high performers who prioritize mental training as an essential part of their practice and preparation and competition is less than 10%.

The question is: WHY?  How is it possible that something proven and deemed to be of such huge value is not prioritized?  Some believe it just doesn’t make a difference, most don’t schedule it into their daily routine, and for others, it’s challenging to measure the benefits because it’s not tangible.

For mental strength training to be beneficial, there needs to be a clear understanding of what it is, why it helps, and how to integrate mental strength exercises and strategies into every day routine and training on the field and off.

We train and develop physical skill to be competent.  We eat healthy foods to maintain high energy.

We stretch our muscles to improve strength and flexibility.  And as importantly, we must train our mind to handle the pressure and challenges of our sport.

The unfortunate part of mental strength training is that individuals don’t embrace it until they are at a critical stage of needing help. They are struggling with nerves, choking, and sometimes for many, they may have waited too long to get help.  Building mental strength needs to be part of training, not on a ‘as needed’ basis.

Sustainable high performance demands a holistic approach. It is important to develop the whole individual by helping them understand who they are as a person and their mindset. Developing a solid sense of self and mind are two components that drive self-empowerment designed to support anyone interested in reaching their full potential.

You are never too young or too old to start becoming more self aware by exploring your relationship with yourself, your performance, and your mindset. This is how you build unshakable confidence in yourself and your abilities. Developing mental strength is absolutely a winning approach when the time comes to dig deep, work hard, and handle the pressures and challenges that come in sport, and life.

Most of us like to have fun, take on a challenge, and like being good at something.  What we can’t necessary anticipate is how some of this can change for each of us once ‘it matters the most’. The more you do to support mental strength training for your performance the more you are setting yourself up for consistent and sustainable success.  And in my opinion, that’s a check in the WIN column.