Mental training for performance: 3 techniques to start now...
Updated: Jan 3, 2022
Before you lace up your skates. Before you hit the gym. Before your take your game to the next level... two things have to happen to bring out your best:
and you have to feed your focus.
Fuel and focus work synergistically to build the foundation for the game and growth.
You don't have to be an athlete athlete to recognize that eating garbage doesn't generate your A game... neither does stress, anxiety, or negative self-chatter.
But how do you stay focused and motivated in the middle of a pandemic with a season that's on, off, or a rotating combination of the two?
Danielle McDonough has a few ideas.
Not only is Danielle a 16u AAA girls' coach, she also played D1 (full-ride at Providence), played pro in Canada and Switzerland.
She then earned her masters in Sports Psychology and founded Peak Performance Training to provide young athletes techniques to remove mental barriers to face athletic and life challenges with determination and motivation.
Last week I answered nutrition questions for Danielle's athletes, and she answered mine about sports psychology and mental performance.
Over the next few weeks I'll share more of her ideas about performance anxiety and negative self-chatter, but first we focused on three focus techniques to start now.
Control. Essentially, is the issue within or out of your control? We can't change if rinks are open or games are played- those aren't within our control and don't deserve our focused attention or energy. Instead, direct focus to things you CAN control: stick-handling, working out at home, nutrition, and sleep.
Focused Breathing. Intentional deep breathing reduces stress, improves circulation, and increases essential oxygen for the brain, blood, and body. Place your hands in the on your stomach and slowly inhale for a count of four. The stomach should expand out against your hands. Then, slowly exhale for a count of four, letting the stomach relax.
Practice Gratitude. Even during these challenging days, finding three things every day that you're grateful for prepares the mind greater focus and motivation. Keep a notebook by your bed and create a habit of listing 3 items every morning or night.
Like nutrition, mental training is a process, and the tools and techniques are valuable for the game and essential for life's adversities.
Building these three skills lays the groundwork for eliminating performance anxiety, overcoming negative self-chatter, and maintaining motivation.
Questions about building the nutritional foundation for individual athletes or teams? Contact me HERE.