Mental Game- Toko "eblast"
Toko offers the opportunity for their sponsored athletes to write up little 'articles' for their blasts they send out weekly. These blasts cover a wide range of topics, and is really up to the athlete to choose what is pertaining to them. Heres a little piece I wrote on pre-race mental game- enjoy :)
As I have progressed as an athlete I have noticed that I put a heavier significance on my ‘mental game’ than in the past. When I was younger and competing at a lower level, skill was often enough to win the race. Now as I find myself battling for tenths or hundredths of a second, it has become more apparent to me that my mental game can make that difference. When referring to mental game some things that usually come to mind are self-confidence, visualization, and race day routine.
Self-confidence is the biggest deal breaker in athletics. Often times it is easy to over look, or get disheartened after a poor performance. However learning for mistakes and accepting that the greatest athletes all failed at one point is important. How you build yourself up after those moments is what makes you mentally strong and prepares you for success.
A few years ago if anyone had mentioned working with a sports psychologist I would’ve thought they were crazy. Now I work with one on a regular basis. A large majority of this process is simply visualization. It may seem like the simplest thing but trust me when I say it is a very powerful tool. It can vary in many different ways from visualizing success, overcoming fears, or simply memorizing a ‘perfect run’. No matter what it is you are working on, that engrained thought will help you succeed when it comes time.
Race day routine. I am a firm believer that going in with a plan helps you execute everything better. For me personally sticking to a routine makes it easier to focus on the important thing at hand- racing. For me this starts from the moment I wake up and I know I need to be in race mode. The rest of the day will include when I eat, what I do for a warm-up, what music I listen to, and start corral habits. It is important to figure out what works for you personally so all you have to do is race and everything else is second nature. Of course being flexible is still important, if something in your routine does go askew its important to adjust accordingly and get back on track without letting it cause stress.
These are just a couple things I find most important when approaching a competition. However it will all vary athlete to athlete. It is important to find what works for you, so don’t be afraid to try new approaches and dial in your own mental game.