Article Written By: Taylor Valentine

Head Coach, Centre College

Athlete focuses before the game using his mental skills training

Top Mental Skills Training Routines for Athletes

Mental skills training is something that a lot of athletes should incorporate into their daily lifestyle. It will help them better prepare themselves for that big moment on the field. Everything that happens off the field is so important for an athlete’s success. The time that they put into their craft when it’s not in practice. Are they putting in the extra hours to outwork their teammates, or are they just showing up when the practice is scheduled? Many athletes think mental skill training is a waste of time, and they don’t see the other side of it that can be beneficial to helping them.

Setting Goals

Regarding mental skills, training athletes should set high and realistic goals. This will keep them focused on what they want to achieve throughout the season. Athletes don’t want to set goals too high or not think about the team. Realistic makes more sense; if they accomplish that goal, they can select another one.

Embracing a Positive Attitude 

Having a positive attitude should happen more than often because athletes have many things to be thankful for and talents that they were blessed with to be able to compete at a high level. Even when athletes compete and things aren’t going their way, they need to find something positive out of it. When athletes have a positive attitude, other athletes and coaches enjoy being around that player.

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Being a Self-motivated Athlete

Self-motivation is something that athletes can’t be coached on. It's something you have, or you don’t. Self-motivated athletes want to be the best of the best, and they’re going to push themselves to be the absolute max. Self-motivation can be challenging when it’s been a long week, but you have lifted at 6 am 2 times a week. Having the self-motivation to get up and get your day started is self-driven. People that typically have good self-motivation have a lot of positive self-talk. Positive self-talk is super important because you want to see the positivity of all the hard work that you have put in. The outcome and the results are super important to athletes because they want the answer asap.

Having a Good Support System

Dealing with people is also a tremendous mental skills training because you have many people in this world that are trying to cut you down for all of the achievements you have made. People cut people down because they’re jealous or they want what you have. So surrounding yourself with the right people is super important because you want the people that have your best interest and that are going to be your support system. Your support system is typically your family;

  • They will always love you  
  • They will always support you through good and evil
  • They will give you tough love when you need it
  • They will provide you with love when you make things happen.
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Focusing on Mental Imagery

Mental imagery and managing your emotions are all you can control as an athlete. By watching your feelings, people can tell if you have a good or bad game. Your emotions tell coaches everything you need to know about you. You don’t want to ride the emotional roller coaster. Your mental skills training is on you!