It's 2019 and you may think that you have your New Years Resolution plans all figured out. But why is it that so many athletes and individuals fall short of achieving their resolutions? This can be explained by looking at one simple, yet often misinterpreted concept called habits and rewards. First off, many athletes, coaches, and parents underestimate just how many days in a row are required in order to turn a positive action into a habit. In fact, when we surveyed over 100 athletes as to how many days are required to make a habit, most said 21 days and some even said as low as 3 days!
mental toughness tips
Getting stuck is a common trend among many athletes striving to be the best. Athletes work hard and see significant improvement throughout their early stages of competing only to find themselves in performance limbo. So why do many athletes fall short of their full potential? The best answer can be explained through 2 simple formulas.
Formula 1: Talent X Effort = Skill
Formula 1 applies to every athlete who is striving to get better. Although this formula is essential for enhanced performance, it is limited in achieving one's full potential.
One major challenge many athletes face when going after their goals is confronting expectations from others. Athletes may hear things such as, "You're way better than that player" or "I know you can do this." Although, it may come off as positive on the outside. On the inside, athletes often become nervous. This is because many top athletes are perfectionists by nature, excelling academically, and expecting the same consistent improvements in their respective sports. The setback from this is that in sports, athletes deal with many more variables that are outside of their control.
One of the biggest mistakes athletes make is the mistake of giving away their power. Think of power as an actual ball of energy that you carry with you wherever you go. This ball of energy is filled with confidence, positivity, maximum focus, and an ability to keep fighting no matter what happens. When athletes lose focus, what they are doing is passing their ball of energy or "power" to someone or something else.
Below are some examples of when athletes and teams give away their power.
Checkout the latest Mental Toughness Chat with Former Top 5 tennis player in world Jimmy Arias. Jimmy arias is also a commentator for The Tennis Channel. Here we discuss topics from a players point a view and a broadcaster point of view such as struggling with confidence, choking, mental toughness skills, and some of Jimmy's toughest losses such as his semifinal match at the 1983 US Open against Stefan Edberg.
Champion athletes understand that in order to perform to their full potential they must stay focused on the right objective. However, when the pressure becomes greater, the mind naturally wants to go elsewhere. Thoughts of potential mistakes, disappointments, and other forms of worry start compiling in the athlete's mind depleting the athlete's focus from the present task.
Below is one tip I strongly recommend athletes practice. This tip will help restructure your thought patterns into successful performances under pressure.
At SPMI, I have worked with athletes in over 35 sports. One key component every sport focuses on is the emphasis on performance data. For example, in baseball, players are focused on areas such as batting average or ERA. In Tennis, players are tracking first serve percentage, number of unforced errors, Golfers are big on shooting low scores, and greens in regulation. No matter the sport, data measures performance and success. But is performance data a good thing to focus on during an athlete’s performance?
In my work with athletes in over 45 sports at SPMI, I have found that at least 50% of wins and losses among athletes of similar levels are decided before the competition starts. The outcome of competition often depends on the mindset a.k.a belief system of an athlete. Athletes who struggle with maintaining a positive belief system also struggle with confidence. Without confidence, the athlete shuts down mentally and is never able to reach nor maintain their full potential because their mindset already decided the outcome of the competition.