Over the past year I have come to realise there is a lot more to being a successful athlete and competing at a high level than I first thought! You have to have dedication, be willing to make a ton of sacrifices but most importantly have belief in yourself and a very strong mind as at the top there is no room for questioning yourself.
Before you can work on your mind you must know what your goals, dreams and ambitions are? Are they aligned in your head and do you know how important they really are to you and how much you want to achieve them? To perform at the top you have to have the mind-set of a winner, a champion. You must work hard, repeat things and just have the will to never give up.
I have always been a pretty independent person so I do not require someone to babysit me all the time and tell me I am doing well in my training. I am also fortunate in being so strong willed that I do not need someone to hold my hand and push me to train, I train because I enjoy it and I want to do it. What is the point otherwise? I definitely wouldn’t be doing what I do if I didn’t enjoy it.
Don’t get me wrong I do love training and competing with people and most days I do I was merely saying you can’t always rely on others to pull you along, there has to be a part of you that really wants it and will drive forward to reach it.
When training every day I am not worried about what my competition may be doing or not doing. I trust in the programme I am given by Steve Fawcett (JST Compete) and know he will prepare me in the best possible way.
“Success is a peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are cable of becoming” (pg 283 The Champions Mind – Jim Afremow)
This is one of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite books, as it sums up my training each and every day. If I can become one little bit better each time I train then I am becoming the best of what I can be and I am improving. And if I am improving I am able to enjoy my training more I am able to relax more and sleep better. Perfect all round.
I believe there are three main features to remaining strong mentally; the way you view your training, the way you view and talk to yourself and how you view what you want to happen in the future.
You should never put yourself down when you have a bad days training use what has happened as a lesson to help build you up and help you not to make the same mistakes again. Never worry about what will happen tomorrow or next week. Did you achieve today what you set out to achieve, yes? Well amazing if not then ask yourself, why did it not happen? And how can I improve next time?
But most importantly never speak to yourself with negative language “I can’t”, “That will never happen” etc. Words are very powerful and they will stick with you throughout the day and days to come. Always be positive and say “I will”, “I will try”. Always do you best and speak highly of yourself whilst remaining humble and you cannot go wrong.
Failing is not a bad thing use the frustration you feel from the session to help build you up as a stronger athlete. Learn from it, these are the valuable life lessons you need to hold onto.
The biggest thing I believe is learning to be able to detach yourself from what is out of your control. A successful athlete must be able to deal and know how to cope with adversity. Things will not always go your way but you must be able to carry on without letting it ruin your mind set. This is not always easy but a very good skill to learn.
I will leave you with a final thought. Something I always think back to when I am struggling (because we all do we are all human).
“My mind is renewed by the word of God, therefore I forbid thoughts of defeat or failure to inhabit my mind. Fear is false evidence appearing real and is the opposite of faith. Not faith in yourself but faith in God that he has your back” Romans 12:2