Let’s get straight to the point, shall we. Most athletes that I know personally, have an idea of what they want…their goal. It goes something like this. ‘I want to be able to contribute to the team. I want to be better and stronger than last year. I want to be a better shooter.’
All these thoughts are great ideas. But only that…great ideas. What it lacks is specificity. When practice begins some athletes have no idea or plan for what to become aware of to help them reach their goals. The mistake athletes make is that they don’t personally plan out their practices or what they want to learn from it. As a sport psychology consultant, I believe this is critical for a strong mental game for 2 reasons.
1) What you remember, you see
I know that sounds a bit like the backwards way Yoda gives advice but that’s exactly how my mentor told it to me. What does it mean? It means that whatever you give your conscious attention to, will be the thing that most often resurfaces in your mind. And for athletes that do not think of anything during practice, what do you think would happen in an important game? Nothing. This is a quick way to lose confidence. By planning what you want to get out of practices, you give yourself the ability to automatically act out your skills in the game.
2) It builds your character
Going through the tough process of tracking your development personally, builds in you a persevering, resilient, self-starting spirit. All qualities any organization will want to have around their team. Sports is a great place where athletes can develop themselves. A great blog was written two days ago , by Janis B. Merideth, about the difference between defining and describing yourself as an athlete. I think it is worth the look.
So now that I pointed that out, what can you do? Here are two ideas.
1) Create a performance monitor for yourself. It’s like a personal diary, where you write down things that you learned or took from practice. And what you will work on in next practice. (So list your mistakes, measure the level of your confidence, your alertness, what you did well etc).
2) I listed this before in another blog. It is a simple form that can be used as a template: Goal Setting
What other ideas have you used in preparation that helps you stay focused? Click link below to leave comment