Athletes enter a season feeling like superman and suddenly feel like kryptonite is being thrown at them. For example, they start to realize just how much work it takes to make it to the next level; coaches are pushing them to the absolute limit in training camp; they have to balance their sport, school, family, and friends; or, they face an injury that sets them back. Whatever the case, no matter how hard you prepare in the off-season, reaching ultimate athletic goals is not easy and it is even more important to make sure that you have a plan entering the season to “keep your mind right.”
Number one is establishing a mindset for success. Often, athletes enter a season with a “success” oriented mindset which is centered around everything that will go “right” for the season. However, as soon as something goes wrong, an athlete’s thoughts can easily shift to a “failure” oriented mindset, which is negative outlook towards everything.
I encourage all of my athletes to picture the success that they want. Athletes are that much more likely to achieve goals if they can envision it. Mindset needs to be “success” oriented 100% of the time. Most professional athletes knew by the time they were a small child that they would be pros. There was no “if,” or “maybe.” It was already done in their mind.
How can you translate this mindset to your game?
Number two is work ethic. I love a quote from Mike Babcock, one of the best NHL coaches, who says, “when your talent outweighs your work ethic is when you will be out of this business.” Don’t flaunt when you are at your highs, and keep grinding at your game when you’re are at your lows. Most athletes who play their first year at a higher level experience failure at the beginning, but the failure they experienced was necessary towards success. Embrace this.
For example, if you’re a hockey player and turn the puck over in a game, will you hook, grab and take a penalty against the guy that took the puck, or will you back check and sprint all the way back to your own zone? One example is success oriented and work ethic driven, and the other is failure oriented and laziness.
Number three is to learn as much as you can. Learn from the best players in your game. Interestingly enough, there is a HIGH correlation between watching professional athletes in game situations and to your own success in sports. The best time to watch professional sports is during the playoffs when competition is up, creativity from skill players is at an all time high, game tempo is up, and players are willing to do anything to win a game. Learn from these games and watch with the intension of learning.
And, finally, number four is reflection. At certain points in the season it is important to reflect on what is going right and figure out how to fix what is going wrong. This is a critical part of development, knowing how to improve certain parts of your game. There is always another part of an athlete’s game that can be better and the best athletes realize this. It is often working on these “little things” that make they biggest difference.
Now that the summer is over, and the fall season sports are here, remember these points and keep a positive mindset for the upcoming season! Make this YOUR year.
Fitness Quest 10
There is a well-organized medical service with all necessary equipment. SCOTT & WHITE HOSPITAL- COLLEGE STATION.
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