Sport Psychology Tip of the Month
Learn your Strengths and ID Your Mental Weapons
Great athletes have a keen awareness of their strengths and areas needing improvement. As I listen to Serena Williams in the Wimbledon press conferences it is clear that she knows that she has the power from the baseline and the serve to beat anyone. Like Serena, it benefits all athletes to take stock of their game.
- What are your weapons or strengths?
- What areas of your game do you struggle with?
At this point, I challenge you to spend some time thinking about your mental game.
- How confident are you?
- How well do you set goals that motivate you to practice?
- Think about your past performances.
Now complete the following exercise. Rate each mental skill or characteristic on the scale of 1 to 5.
1 = poor at that skill
3 = ok at that skill
5 = awesome, that is my mental weapon.
Mental Skill/Characteristic Current Level of Performance
- Confidence in my abilities ___
- Motivation to practice/train ___
- Desire; give full effort in competition ___
- Focus during competition ___
- Ability to refocus after mistakes ___
- Set goals that drive my training and performances ___
- Positive during competition ___
- Manage stress well during competition ___
- Control emotions during competition ___
- Ability to relax when nervous ___
- Exhibit positive body language/posture during competition ___
- Prepared for competition ___
- Practice with intensity ___
- Use mental imagery effectively ___
- Use routines effectively during competition ___
Now that you have spent some time taking stock of your mental game it is important to do two things:
- Rely on your mental weapons when you compete. Like a great pitch or move, use it often! If you are excellent at imagery, use it as a way to prepare for competition or to refocus while under pressure. If your mental weapon is being positive, use your positive thinking during games to overcome mistakes and to stay focused on the task at hand.
Assess your lower scores and develop a plan to improve these mental skills. Attempt to round out your mental game so that you have several mental weapons at your disposal. In future tips I will address many of these skills. You can also find more information as you search this website.
Come back next month for sport psychology information to help you gain the competitive edge!