CogniFit's Science blog: Mind Training Exercises To Help You Excel In Sports

Mind Training Exercises To Help You Excel In Sports

It is amazing how much the mental side of things can affect an athlete’s performance compared to the physical aspect. Someone can stand in a gym and make 95 of 100 free throws, but what happens when you are down by one at the free throw line with 1 second left in the game?

There are mind training tips available that can help you persevere and push through the pressure.

The brain plays a huge part in one’s performance whether you like it or not. It can play tricks with us or act in our favor depending on how we view it. Every sport is different and requires different physical attributes. However, mental toughness does not usually change one bit from sport to sport.

If you are weak with mental toughness, your body build and overall abilities don't mean everything. Sure, they may take you to a certain level. But you will never get over the hump that separates the best from the strong. You have to program your mind in a way that success and winning is the only thing you think about. Nerves, intimidation and fear must be reduced to a minimum.

You will often hear announcers say a player just knows how to win. They may not be as equipped as their opponent or have the physical build as the guy next to them. But it is that mental toughness that will take them to new heights.

The first mind training exercise to help you fight through the pressure is to simply write the words “I Will Succeed” over and over on a piece of paper. It sounds simple and perhaps a little silly, but it will permanently stick the thought in your head. As for how many times you write it down or how often it is done depends on you. Try to project yourself in that situation. Visualize it and try to integrate it in your mind.

Next, set goals for yourself and rewards that will follow. People tend to strive for bigger and better things when they know there is a reward that comes with it. If you know that scoring a certain amount of points or winning the big game will come with a shopping spree or trip of some sort, you may have that enveloped in your mind rather than the distractions in front of you.

Another mind training exercise to help you succeed with sports is to watch games of athletes winning over and over and over. Get in the habit of watching Jerry Rice making the big catch in the Super Bowl or Michael Jordan hitting the crucial shot in the NBA Finals. Seeing video of the top athletes excelling at the biggest level can motivate you and help you engrain in your mind how to succeed and avoid succumbing to the pressure.