Friday, December 15, 2017

Where do good performances come from? The mind, body, or both?

January 18, 2013 by  
Filed under In The News

By Nicolette House

We know the cliche- sports are 99% mental and 1% physical. Athletes always see coaches point to their heads make references such as, It’s all up here, when a player makes an uncharacteristic mistake.

As an athlete and professionally trained life coach, I’ve taken a close look at how true this  theory actually is. Does mental toughness separate the good from the great or is that all in our heads as well? When it comes to witnessing a great athletic performance, we have to ask ouselves was it the result of mental toughness or just good training?

I’d venture to say that it’s a combination of both. I don’t see how an athlete can be relaxed at an event if they feel unprepared or how performance sport (like skaters or gymnasts) athletes can feel confident about performing routines full of elements they haven’t mastered. Certainly being prepared for an event is bound to remove some of the nerves, but is being trained well really all there is?

How many athletes out there can be fantastic in practice, but when it comes to game time they have trouble staying focused and present? These almost never get the results they want and often leave competition feeling disappointed in themselves. These athletes seemed prepared to be trained well, but they weren’t able to use that to carry them through competition.

I think the answer lies not in whether you’re trained properly or mentally tough, but in how competitiors use these two forces together and to their advantage. Athletes need to be focused and present  to train their physical muscles properly everday. Yet being in that state of mind, requires training the brain as well. It takes skill and time for athletes to learn how to block out stressors and unwated thoughts in practice. Setting an intention for what they want to achieve during each practice and working on being in the moment while training helps train the brain to block out distractions come competition time. The “zone” doesn’t have to resevered for competition- athletes can be in the “zone” every practice.

If athletes are trained properly their bodies know what to do come game day. If they train with intention and focus everyday, their minds also, know how to block out distractions. They can then focus on the task at hand, which is competing/performing at the best of their ability.

So which do athletes need more to perform at their best- good training or mental toughness? The two together make for a double win.

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