Olympic heroes and six-year-olds share a common experience: satisfaction in becoming one with their activities. Engagement in the flow of activity and personal satisfaction are two-thirds of the components that contribute to optimal performance in athletic activity.
The five skills of mental fitness are the third leg of the Pyramid of Optimal Performance. It has long been established at the elite level of athletic competition that the difference between winning and losing is accounted for by an athlete’s ability to utilize the five skills of mental fitness. Many athletes have similar physical skills and abilities, but in competition the edge frequently goes to whoever is better prepared mentally.
Don’t let the things you can’t do stand in the way of the things you can do.
— John Wooden
Athletes at all levels can benefit from mental fitness training. The five skills of mental fitness are:
- Developing an active awareness of your emotional, mental, and physical self.
- Learning ways to develop a positive mental attitude.
- Using visualization techniques to create the image of where you want to be and what you want to achieve.
- Learning strategies to manage your level of energy so that you will be better able to psych yourself up, instead of psyching yourself out.
- Learning to set realistic performance goals along with the action steps that will ensure you remain on target in order to achieve these goals.
Through the use of Sport Psychology, an athlete utilizes these skills in a program tailored towards meeting his or her specific needs and goals. Sometimes the initial consultation centers around addressing an individual’s fears, anxiety, self-doubts. For others, the work focuses right away on enhancing an athlete’s already considerable strengths. Regardless of where we begin, we engage in a process in which the athlete’s skills and strengths are actualized on an ongoing basis. Performance is enhanced by the application of mental fitness skills, which leads to personal satisfaction that in turn increases the athlete’s engagement in the flow of the sport, which leads to further goal attainment.
Each athlete has a unique potential. Sport Psychology helps athletes get out of their own way so that they can more easily access that potential.
For more information on Sport Psychology contact the Association for Applied Sport Psychology.