How do they guarantee they are in the perfect state for competition at that time?
Well… unfortunately for many they are not able to achieve anything like their personal best, for others, they outperform expectations.
These athletes have trained and competed for years, it is those pressure situations like that of these upcoming Commonwealth Games and currently the Winter Olympics that really highlights the need for performance mindset coaching.
Athletes are spending $Billions for the latest sportswear and technical design for equipment that gives an athlete the edge in sport.
Companies are capitalising on this need for the edge and consistency. Yet if the athlete is nervous before competition or during it, all the benefits of clothing and equipment become irrelevant.
We marvel at the abilities and determination of these athletes to do what they do and to be honest, we are not designed to push the limits of mind and body to this extreme. Every time they step out to train or compete, they are pushing the limits of one of the basic fundamentals of the human mind… survival.
The athlete who wins on the day is the one who has the best balance of physical abilities and mental strength.
At the elite level, when these international competitions take place, the physical aspect is done.
You have done all the training and the body is in peak condition physically and nutritionally.
Not many understand that physical training is also training the mind… like learning to walk!
Neural pathways create the ‘muscle memory’ from this physical repetition in the mind.
Interesting to note, when athletes train, they train in a relaxed state and then when they get to competition, the pressure can throw them into a stress response. This can tighten up muscles and all technique disappears, putting them at greater risk of injury and poor performances.
And that is not to mention the inner battle of self- belief… Are they good enough, is the training enough, how will the conditions be, will they be competitive, how will they perform on the day?
And for extreme sports… will the next competition be my last ever?
Having worked with World Champions from many sports, I know that the best way to bring it all together on the day is to be relaxed.
A great example is a Commonwealth Games sprinter just before his final at the State titles in February. I happened to bump into him in the shops between the semis and final. He was just too hyped and buzzing.
I told him to slow his mind through the processes I taught him. The following day, I had a great message of thanks, as this made the difference in his performance.
At the timing to write this article, he has become a 4-time National Champ and on his way the Commonwealth Games.
The level of arousal or adrenaline is critical for any athlete, some need to be relaxed, like shooters and others who need exlosive reaction like sprinters, will need a different approach.
Years ago, I had the pleasure of working with an U17 year old National 400m hurdles Champion.
The nerves he suffered from had him physically sick, days out from an event. After a few sessions over a month, we had him running 3.9 seconds faster. That is close to a 9% reduction in time. Remember, he was already a National Champion and over 400m and his gain, due to the reduction in time, was a staggering 27.6 metres!
You can see how dramatic nerves can be on performance and how managing nerves can be much more beneficial than any aerodynamic shoe!
There are 13 fundamentals of the human mind that I have documented over the last 12 years in clinical practice and all of these are constantly in play.
They are all survival mechanisms or emotional responses that are deeper than conscious thought and wishful thinking can get to.
To access the deeper thoughts, to manage nerves and get into the perfect peak performance level when it counts, you need a way to bypass the conscious thinking and responses to those automatic conditioning responses created during training.
A very simple and effective way to do this is to ‘project yourself’ into the future and live as much as that person with those traits as you can. You may think this is the ’fake it until you make it concept’.
I remember the story of Natalia Cook and Kerri Pottharst (Sydney 2000 Olympic Gold Medal, beach volleyball) and how they wrote down and projected themselves into the future. They scripted a document in past tense and this was one of the tools that helped them to deal with the nerves. In their minds they had already won and therefore, they just relaxed into it.
Too many athletes and their coaches work on being realistic, so they don’t disappoint. This has a reverse effect on mindset and performance at the deeper level where it counts.
Having a greater purpose is another way to manage performance in these athletes. If they have a ‘Why’, as in why they want success, when the times get tough in competition, their mind goes beyond the now to inspire the future generations. A strong WHY can have a real ‘dig deeper’ mentality rather than ‘this hurts, I will stop now’.
A few Days ago, Aussie Scotty James won the Olympic Bronze medal. In his interview he spoke about inspiring the kids of the future, like he was as a 9-year old. He even commented at that age about snow-boarding against Shaun White, the best in the world at the time.
Standing next to Scotty in the Gold Medal position was Shawn White himself. The 4 Time Olympian and winner of 3 Olympic Gold Medals.
So, to you athletes and coaches in sport, business or life; the best thing you can do is project your ‘athletes/clients’ into the future.
Get the belief flowing and find a why.
Stuart Walter is the Secret behind 33 World Champions. He is a specialist in peak performance mindset and getting the best of the best ‘in the zone’ for the performance of their lives… when it counts.
For the past 12 years, Stuart has served as a Peak Performance Mindset Specialist for elite athletes, business owners and individuals around Australia to be a better version of themselves.
He is highly respected as an authority for developing systems and strategies for accelerated and lasting transformations. Hypnosis and NLP form the basis of most of Stuart’s work because they quickly get to the cause of the issue and simply rewire the brain for success.
Stuart has directly impacted the lives of thousands of people with his individual programs, his published book ‘The Dear Diary Process’ and his talks, Nationally and Internationally.
This success in the sporting field is now in great demand in the business sector and with similar results.
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