The mind is a powerful tool. Athletes who are able to effectively use their mind have more success than those who cannot. Athletic performance can actually be improved using the connection between the mind and the body. That mind-body connection has given athletes positive reproducible results time and time again. The only barrier in the way of the athlete is learning the process that improves athletic performance by enabling the mind-body connection. Our minds tell our bodies what to do and how to react. For instance, athletic performance increases when the athlete links the mind-body connection and visualizes the specific event in their minds several times before the actual event.
An Athlete’s Secret Weapon – Visualization
What can an athlete do to gain the upper hand over his or her opponent who has the same fitness level, nutrition regime, and game experience? This is where sports psychology comes into play. An athlete can rise to the next level and surpass their opponents with the use of mental preparation. Visualization, also known as guided imagery, enables an athlete to create clear detailed images in their mind that they want to manifest as reality during their game. Using imagery, an athlete can put themselves in every situation possible and practice responding successfully. The outcome is reduced anxiety and mental involvement before ever stepping onto the playing field.
Developing High Levels of Confidence
Confidence is the keystone to performing at your best. When athletes are confident, their mind and body are relaxed allowing them to perform at their best. A confident athlete has been defined as "being able to be positive, motivated, focused, and emotionally in control when they need to be. There are a few things that can be done to ensure you have the highest level of confidence possible. First of all, engineer your approach to competition so that you are doing things that you have already successfully done in the past. Just knowing that you done it successfully before, will give you confidence. When you are reviewing your performance in your head, see it working perfectly. A confident athlete has the belief that he/she has what it takes to be successful no matter what is happening on the field/court. The combination of confidence and a positive mind set