“Linda, you are an IRONMAN!”
My athlete, Linda, became an Ironman last night. But just two weeks ago, she was a “DNF” (did not finish) at a different Ironman race. (Note: over 600 athletes were DNF because of brutal weather conditions).
Linda’s story is amazing, especially when you learn a bit more about Linda and the challenges staring her in the face.
“What you think affects how you feel and perform. Training your brain is as important as training your body.”
-Gary Mack, Mind Gym
There are countless professional athletes who are quoted saying mental “toughness” or the “mental game” is the most important part of their success. But what “is” the mental game and how do you train “it”?
When I began coaching Linda she was new to the sport of triathlon. With only a tennis background there was a lot to learn. Linda was not afraid to work hard, but I quickly saw that her mental game was limiting her success.
For example, when riding hills on her bike, she would say “that hill is huge” or “I can’t climb that” and even during the climb between breaths she would say something negative. Between the negative self talk and the negative attentional focus, I knew Linda needed the Powerful Mind program.
This is Linda after conquering a very challenging climb. Through Powerful Mind exercises I taught her, and then she applied on this hill, Linda completely changed how she rode her bike and has become a very strong rider.
The Powerful Mind program consists of skills and techniques to learn, followed by deliberate practice. I defined the Powerful Mind as:
“Actively engaging in ‘brain’ activities that promote the mind-body connection to improve performance”
As you can see from the Power Circle below, to perform at your best, you need balance on both sides. But how many athletes actively and deliberately practice mental skills? In my 20 years of experience teaching and coaching, I have learned that athletes need to be taught both what and how to practice mentally.
That’s where the Powerful Mind program comes in. As Yogi said, “90% of the game is half mental.”
For more information drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org