Nowadays, all professional sports teams have a sports psychologist on call. The reason for that is that being mentally prepared is as important as being physically fit in competitive sports.
Typically, sports psychology deals with reducing performance anxiety and coping with the unexpected. If you’re serious about your preferred outdoor or sporting activity, and you’re motivated to excel, you could benefit from the knowledge of sports psychologists.
For a mental performance boost, follow these tips:
Learn to relax
One of the main detractors for achieving better results in a sport is anxiety, which can become a distraction. To combat stress, figure out how you relax best. A great starting point is listening to music, so practice cooling down after your workout with instrumental music for a few week.
Another good way to relax is trying progressive muscle relaxation. To do this, tense each of your muscles for a few seconds, and then relax them. Start by tensing and relaxing the muscles in your head and work your way down until you reach your toes.
If you don’t have a way to measure and celebrate your progress, you’ll end up with nothing to show for your hard work but frustration. Effectively setting goals will emphasize the process over the outcome. For example, if your outcome is to run a marathon, set daily, weekly, and monthly training goals.
The goals will be your process, and they will help you achieve your outcome. An example of a daily goal can be running for a certain distance at a particular pace, and a weekly goal could be running two more miles than the previous week. To keep yourself accountable, write down specific goals that you can measure, and place them somewhere visible.
Visualize your outcome
By visualizing the outcome, along with any problems you may encounter along the way, you will be better prepared to handle any unexpected issues. For example, if your marathon is partly uphill you can visualize yourself breathing easily, feeling strong, and conquering the obstacle. You should create scenarios in which you are performing at an optimal level.
Set a mental plan
When you’re getting ready to compete, it’s essential to have a mental plan. Create a to-do list where you can include any visualization techniques, positive encouragement, and stretching. Completing the items will reduce your anxiety and give you a sense of readiness.