Mental Training in Athletics

Cognitive Engagement & Mindfulness – Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai – Visualization and Execution a.k.a. BAD ASS NINJA FIGHT (Video: NSFW)

Visualization is a major key for high performing athletes. Working on their physicality is simply not enough, as mentality must be exercised as well. The best athletes perform mental rehearsal before each competition and practice. They imagine that they are competing in the game; they try to feel their jersey on their back and hear the crowd behind them. Different scenarios and plays are re-imagined in their head, predicting the outcome and winning every time they visualize competition. Engaging in a simulated game translates to the field as their confidence increases. The elite can perform at an advanced level when they have been in the situation before, which is why mental repetition is so important and widely practiced. Taking on new roles and imagining imperfect situations is a skill that separates the good from the great

“Focus on the present moment and be where your feet are”. It is tempting for an athlete to look to the future when competing in a long season. The championship may be months away but it is always the ultimate goal. This makes it difficult to focus on the present moment, or “the now”. Being mindful allows athletes to concentrate on their current experience, taking care of the little details that lead to the final outcome. The greatest teams are able to separate their overarching goals from the task directly in front of them.

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