What I have taken away from the last two years with the pandemic is how much mental health and strength are essential to a pro athlete’s success. So, I am sharing some mental tips that I hope will help you make the best of the new season.
The new professional seasons just kicked off for some parts of the world and sports, and it is a great feeling. We are still to begin officially for a few others, and it is both exciting and stressful. You want to get back out there on the court, on the pitch, the track, to feel that joy and adrenaline rush that only competition can give you. Especially after the last two years and how much the pandemic has impacted sports, you just want to go out there and see how much you have progressed, how much your efforts in the offseason has paid off, and most importantly, win.
Stay in the moment
Reading Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now, I realised how much we miss because we try to look too far ahead or get caught up and
stagnant because we can’t let go of the past season(s). All you have learnt so far, from experiences to training, are meant to serve you at this moment, right now.
Staying in the moment can be a little challenging as athletes because we plan a whole season, have internal and external expectations, pressure, and balancing personal life and work. However, learning the power of being present in the now will go a long way in helping us meet our long term goals.
I have always believed that our mental fortitude is part of that extra 1% that separates the truly great athletes from the rest. We have all faced some adversity as professionals, whether from within or our environment, it is always present. Our response to that adversity is very important and key to us becoming better.
When you meet adversity with mental fortitude and the right attitude, you grow stronger, smarter, and that boosts your confidence. You become better. The great thing about mental fortitude is that it can be cultivated. Read, question, introspect.
Being physically ready before each game is important, and so is being mentally ready. As an athlete, being intentional about your mental preparation and readiness for a game is empowering and necessary. Mindfulness helps to sharpen your awareness, find stillness, and gain an advantage over your opponent.
Mindfulness is not just about meditation for an athlete; it is also about visualisation. When you have lived a particular move, action, or moment over and over in your mind, your body learns it. The late great talks about this in his book, Mamba Mentality. Practising mindfulness helps you stay in the moment and cultivate fortitude. The great thing about it is that you can do it anywhere and all you need is as little as five minutes.
These are just a few tips to get you started on your journey to becoming an athlete who is present and effective physically and mentally. Mental health is very essential for an athlete.