Ready to take on the mental side of training? Today, we have special guest blog post writer Francois, who is the physical and mental coach I work with to talk to you about mental training, what it looks like and how it can help you in your training.
Let's dive into 4 tools to start your mental preparation with a mental and physical expert.
Below, learn 4 tools you can use to help yourself cultivate a healthy mental preparation routine from a mental mindset specialist. This is a guest post from author and owner of Athletic Health Performance, François Joacquim Semet. François is an extremely balanced professional with a masters degree in physiotherapy. His expertise is in manual therapy and physical preparation with certifications in dry needling, mental preparation, and posturology.
Francois Joacquim Semet writes:
In the pursuit of any big athletic goal, physical training is only part of the equation. The often overlooked and unknown of mental training is one of the keys to finding new peaks of performance and resilience in the face of challenges of life. Being an athlete is demanding, not only physically but mentally if you don't prepare.
If you harness the power of your mind and soul through intentional mental preparation you can gain a lot even after your career transitions or ends. In this introduction to mental training, we'll get into four main crucial tools you can start with today to start building your mental training.
Tool 1. Build your knowledge and self-awareness
First thing first. You are the key in how far you get. Coaches can help. Trainers can give you workouts. But on the competition floor, it's just you, your body, and your mind. When the competition ends and you're laying in bed at night, it's only you and your mind again. You can start with building your own knowledge.
Building knowledge independently is one of the biggest things I've seen working with athletes between those who make it and those who break down mentally of physically or just come up short in their sporting careers. That means, learning about your sport. The ins and the outs. While coaches and external resources play significant roles, the intrinsic understanding that comes from self-driven exploration is unparalleled.
With a sense of self-awareness, you can look at performance nuances many people overlook and identify areas for improvement with precision. Actively engaging can look like developing your:
learning the physical basics
testing and understanding what recovery tools work for you best
learning how to listen to your body and emotions
understand training methodologies
finding the best ways to communicate to yourself or your coach
take time to self-study on nutritional principles
In short, this is a list you can start checking off to start sharpening your critical thinking.
All this transforms you into an architect of your own success. This empowerment extends to mapping out training plans, setting personalized goals, and establishing objectives that align with your unique aspirations.
This proactive approach not only fosters independence but also equips you to actively contribute to your development. Your coach, if you have one, then becomes a valuable collaborator, refining your vision and providing expertise where needed. The synergy between internal understanding and external guidance becomes a powerful catalyst for growth and achievement.
Tool 2. Start Framing Your Goals
Goal setting is more than a checklist of what you want; it's what will guide you as an athlete on your journey. When you set your goals, you want it to be:
realistic time frame
Even in the face of adversity or less-than-ideal circumstances, well-defined and adapted goals act as a North Star, keeping you committed to the performance journey.
Once you have your goal written, you will start writing down all the how to's to get there. From daily routines, to technical parts of your sport you'll need to get better at to even your mental blocks so you can reach these goals.
The big work will consist in creating your frame after you have the goals written. What precise steps will you take?
With a realistic timeframe you can factually check your efforts and results to see if they match your objectives. This has to be framed on what you are able to do based on your physical, mental availability and life outcomes. That means if you work a job or are a student, you will need to plan around your and in your life to make sure these goals are achievable.
You will then be able, or not, to make conclusion of your experience based on facts more than feelings or beliefs, and adapt. And with a frame, you can make it happen.
Tool 3. Understand Your Internal Dialogue
Do you say nice things to yourself? Do you talk negatively? Do you even notice the noise in your head?
The mind can be a powerful support or a negative energy sucking voice, especially in sports. The internal dialogue or the conversation we have with ourselves, can either propel us forward or act as a self-imposed barrier and influence our behaviors, our way to move, to run, to jump, to push.
And guess what, body language directly reflects what our mind is saying and reacting to. Everything influences what we think and what we think becomes who we are, how we act, and how we communicate. From external elements like how we grew up, to teammates and family, emotional triggers can influence your mental speech.
Start listening to your voice and connecting it with where you got it from. Do you repeat negative things that a coach once said to you? Or maybe it's from a parent?
If you can identify where that voice is coming from you can realize that no one is born with negative self talk. It's taught. Which means it can also be untaught. By identifying and eliminating negative mental discourses when possible or identifying the psychological limits, you can begin to free yourself from the shackles of self-doubt and hesitation.
Tool 4. Plan Your Routine
Inconsistency breads anxiety. And anxiety is like a marathon for your mental that you never even needed. Instead if you focus on routines, you can start to find something that little by little gets you closer to your goals and relaxes your mind.
Finding the routine that matches your life is is key, and trust me, everybody is different. This has to be tested and repeated. Maybe you work out best in the mornings or maybe you train better in the mid afternoon. But if you never test it, how will you know? Each day that you build on your routine, you will feel a new sense of confidence especially once you start to see progress.
From pre-meets rituals to training sequences, understanding and fine-tuning these routines ensure that each step aligns seamlessly with the path to success.
It can be focused on whatever you need but it all starts with self care and really self love. This will help enhance your:
stress management and more
Well, you have all the base to get it started, devote some time for yourself and I hope my words and thoughts will help you to get back on track peacefully. If you have some mental preparation approaches that have been working for you, leave a comment below.