As the world continues to experience the Covid-19 pandemic everyone, including top-notch athletes, are affected. Unable to physically train as they would like, they are suffering not only physically but psychologically as well.
In order to be a professional athlete many attributes are needed: excellence in sports requires determination and skill, but these are not enough without the right mindset. "Sport is ten percent physical and ninety per cent mental."
Nobody seems to know who coined this phrase, but perhaps that is because it is such an obvious truth. Mental attitude is often neglected but actually is the determining factor among athletes of equal physical skill. Every athlete knows how physical condition can affect performance but not every athlete is aware of the power of mental conditioning.
Sport relies on stamina and strength in the face of adversity. Professional athletes push their bodies to the limit and test their resilience under duress. Psychological skills training is becoming more and more accepted by sports coaches as something that can give their team the upper edge.
Mental rehearsal, techniques that strengthen focus and concentration, and positive psychology all play a part in helping athletes play at the top of their game. The same techniques can help them deal with the restraints and the physical concerns connected to not being able to train during lockdown.
“The power of imagined practice is huge...it reproduces the neurological routes that would occur if we performed the situation in reality” (Fisher, 1986; cited by Jiménez, 2007)
In this time of anxiety during which athletes cannot train as they wish, they have an opportunity to use imagery and their creative mind to prevent any dip in performance and to prepare them for the post lockdown world.
“The pessimist seems a problem in every opportunity. The optimist seems an opportunity in every problem. ”
How can athletes use this period of lockdown to work towards long term success?
Strategies athletes can adopt to maintain optimal fitness levels:
Cultivate a Sense of Purpose
Your mental health is as important as your physical health: nutrition and sleep are vital but so is a sense of purpose and planning for the future. What can you focus on beyond this time of challenge? What are your goals for the future?
Create a New Routine
Even if you cannot train outside or with your team it is essential to maintain high levels of fitness. Develop an appropriate training regimen inside or at the park and maintain a daily and weekly routine. It can help discipline to train at the same time of day, each day.
Talk to your peers - you are not alone and discussion with others in the same situation will help!
Train the Mind
Hypnosis a wonderful tool that can open the doors to better margins.
Whatever the sport, whatever the level, hypnosis can give every athlete the
extra seconds, strength, centimetres that lay within those margins.
How can Hypnosis help enhance sports performance?
Sports Hypnosis can help athletes develop:
Discover how sports hypnosis training can help your team access peak performance
Throughout the lockdown, I am offering nation wide sports team a complimentary 1- hour online group session in order to enable them to access the psychological side of their sport. Keep your head in the game! Get in touch now!