Strength, ability and skill are all important factors that affect an athlete’s performance, although all three are rendered useless without a positive attitude. The brain is one of the most powerful tools an individual or team can utilise to gain a competitive edge.
It’s all a case of mind over matter. How do you expect to perform well or win a match, if you don’t believe it is possible? Thinking positive thoughts and being happy in one’s own mind is the key to achieving your potential. In this guide, we will explore methods to give you a psychological edge.
Focus on what you can control
Don’t get caught up in things outside your control. Don’t worry about a refereeing mistake or an injury, as there is nothing you can do to affect these outcomes. Focus on things you can control, such as your attitude, the amount of effort you put into a game and executing skills you’ve learnt on the training field. These are all things within your control that will improve your performance.
Don’t go into a game setting unachievable targets. Don’t say ‘I’m going to score 4 goals today’, as you’re putting pressure on yourself before you even start the match. Also, if you’re facing a much better opponent, look for positives in your performance rather than the overall result.
Challenge negative thoughts
There will be times when doubts enter your mind during a game, but don’t worry, as this is natural. What you must do is cut it off at an early stage so the thought doesn’t fester for too long. Tell yourself you can do it, and more often than not, you will.
Negativity is a problem that will spread through a team like wildfire. For example, if you’re running through field hockey drills and one player continually fails to execute the drill, try encouraging them rather than shouting at them. Also, try using training aids like https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Hockey/ to help your teammate better understand the drill. A happy team is a winning team.
Performance is all in the mind. Get your mental state right and everything else will follow. Don’t put yourself under too much pressure and don’t expect perfection every time. Ignore the nagging doubts you may have and concentrate on what you’re able to control, rather than things you can’t.