Post By: CoachNelson57 | Tuesday, April 14, 2020

MENTAL SKILLS performance sport psychology

Each year only one player in all of college football is awarded with the prestigious Heisman trophy (given to the nation's best college football player) and only one team gets to hoist the national championship trophy at seasons end. Former LSU QB did both and famously celebrated with a cigar. You may not have been born with the physical tools of Burrow or have been gifted with the natural abilities of some of your collogues; however the best way to unlock your true potential and enjoy a victory cigar is through the use of daily CCIGARS! Let me be clear, I am not advising you suddenly take up smoking but rather utilize mental skills training.

CCIGARS is an acronym designed to help you remember all of the necessary components found within a successful mental training program including: confidence, concentration, imagery, goal setting, arousal control/energy management, the use of routines and self-talk control. Mental skills training does not guarantee that you will ultimately reach number one, but it does guarantee you will become the number one version of yourself; as the use and improvement of these skills is needed in all of ones pursuits and relationships.

Mental skills training is not just for those who have already “made it” but should also be used for all who are striving to “make it.” In the competitive arena in which you compete (sport, school, business, etc.), don't you want every competitive advantage possible? No matter where you are in your journey, the use of mental skills training is shown to have a positive effect on your performance. Simply devoting just 10 minutes per day to the development of the “mental game” allows you to perform your best when your best is needed and your best is needed right now! To work on your own mental game try these tips:

Confidence: The most important step in accomplishing anything is the belief you can do it; therefore optimal confidence is earned through preparation.

Concentration: To “win” you must think W-I-N (what's important now). By practicing mindfulness through various breathing exercises, one is better at staying in the moment.

Imagery: Research shows that the body will listen to what the mind is thinking, for example, “don't think of a pink elephant.” Therefore prior to performance, imagine yourself performing exactly the way you want to.

Goal setting: New Year's resolutions fail not because individuals don't want to achieve but rather because they fail to create a detailed plan on how to do so. As Antoine de Saint-Exupery said, “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” Long term goals are important but the process of executing short term goals is the fuel of achievement and should be used to achieve success.

Arousal control/energy management: In order to perform at his your best, you must find your optimal mental state needed for performance. Relaxation techniques such as mindfulness can help when you're “too amped up” or energization strategies such as psych up breaths or positive affirmations can help you pick it up a notch when you're feeling down.

Routines: Mental performance set you up for success by directing your focus on the process rather than the outcome. To develop your own mental routine, start with the end in mind and use positive self-talk/affirmations, the proper energy management needed and positive visualizations while following your mental checklist you have created to achieve success.

Self-talk: The most important person you will speak with today is yourself; however many of us say nasty things to ourselves that we would never say to another human being! Positive self-talk does not guarantee success, however, offers the best chance to achieve your goals. If you catch yourself saying being negative, flush it (or another mistake term you have created) and move on!

So there you have it. As an elite athlete and performer we are constantly on the pursuit of grabbing an edge. Whether it's the pre-season, during season, or in the midst of a global pandemic, there are always opportunities to sharpen the mind by grabbing some CCIGARS.