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More on Challenges Athletes Face……

In the last post, Sports Psychologist Nicole Detling narrowed down the most challenging obstacles athletes face to two things. In this article, Mike Edger discusses some more common challenges. As you go through your practice or game be aware of any feelings that come up and see if you can identify them with any of the challenges listed below. Awareness of what is holding you back is the first step in moving past your blocks and toward optimal performance. The truth is ALL athletes face more than one of these challenges. Listen to the comments made by even the gold medal winners in the Olympics now going on. Many mention their fears, doubts and anxiety, but are able to push through them….

Here is Edger’s Article:

One of the hallmarks of great athletes is the desire to improve themselves. Athletes at all levels use mental training and sports psychology to become better athletes, and overcome their mental game challenges. Mental training helps athletes perform more consistently, find the zone more often, keep a winning streak alive, and learn how to think well under pressure.

The first step of mental training is to identify the need to improve your mental game. Often times athletes are unaware of the mental barriers the limit their performance, and how mental training can help them meet their athletic potential.

The following mental game challenges are the most common I see among athletes who seek mental training. You may be surprise to find that you or someone you know can relate to one or more of the performance barriers listed below.

1. Fragile or low self-confidence. In sports confidence is defined as one’s belief in their ability to execute a task or win an event. Confidence is key to success in sports and the number one asset that separates great athletes from the rest of the pack. Athletes cannot reach their true athletic potential without massive amounts of confidence in their game(s) and abilities. Athletes who are not confident perform in comfort zones, have doubts about their ability to perform, and are more likely to experience performance anxiety.

2. Breakdowns in trust. This happens when you do not give up control and allow your body to perform like you have trained it to. Athletes with a lack of trust often seek mental training because they perform better in practice then in competition. In competition these athletes tend to over-analyze their performance, question their game plan, and make indecisive decisions in key situations. Practice is time to changes focus on technique. In competition it is important that you stick to your game plan, and perform with freedom or trust especially in times of adversity or pressure.

3. High Expectations. Expectations are strict demands that athletes make about their performance. With expectations, athletes constantly judge how they are doing compared to what they expect to do. Expectations are very result-oriented focus. They can make you feel frustrated when not playing up to your expectations and/or limit your performance when playing “better than expected.” Many athletes and coaches believe that high expectations come with high confidence, but it is quite the opposite. When athletes do not meet their expectations, it undermines their confidence. Like I previously mentioned, confidence is the belief in one’s ability to execute a task or win an event. A strong self-belief without expectation (self-judgment) is ideal. Confidence precedes execution and is void of judgment post execution. Expectations are used to judge how you are doing based on what you expect to do.

4. Fear of Failure and Social approval. Fear of failure is characterized by high expectations, a strong desire to succeed (and not fail), anxiety or tension, worrying too much about results or outcomes, social approval issues or worrying too much about what others think, and performing with a serious, controlled mindset. Fear of failure is most often associated with social approval because these athletes worry too much about letting others down by not performing up to others expectations. Social approval influences how much pressure and expectations athletes put on themselves to be successful in sports.

5. Perfectionism. Perfectionist athletes are characterized by high levels of motivation, an intense desire to succeed, and a strong work ethic. Despite high levels of motivation, perfectionist underachieve because of fear of failure and wanting so badly to succeed. Perfectionist athletes try to hard to perform perfectly. This causes a lack of trust and relates to the athlete’s expectations about how he should perform. Perfectionists often compete with a training mindset caused by an obsession with perfection, and wanting to practice to improve for the future. This causes them to over-analyze their technique or mechanics and keeps them from just playing the game and performing. Perfectionists perform with an over analytical and judgmental mindset, which often undermines their competitive self-confidence. This is caused by their need to perform perfectly. When these athletes make an error or mistake they tend to dwell on it, lose composure, and take their head out of the game.

There are several other mental challenges that athletes face such as, focus, concentration, composure, goals, nervousness, anxiety, and lack of mental preparation to name a few. Mental training gives athletes the tools they need to break through these mental barriers that limit their performance. Sports psychology or mental training helps athletes perform up to their potential and achieve their performance goals. With mental training, you can learn to “tune out” worries about what others think of you and focus on what’s most important—playing the game and performing your best.

Here’s a link to the original article:  http://www.sportpsychologytoday.com/youth-sports-psychology/common-mental-game-challenges-for-athletes/

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Two most common obstacles athletes deal with

Something different here….an interview with sports psychologist Nicole Detling, who worked with the US Olympic Freestyle Ski team in Sochi. She believes there are 2 main obstacles that athletes face. See if you can identify with these common obstacles….

To perform at peak levels athletes must learn to overcome mental obstacles. Listen in as sport psychologist Nicole Detling discusses the two biggest mental obstacles faced by athletes of all ages and skill levels and how they and other mental blocks can be overcome. You can listen here or go to the original site at this link: https://healthcare.utah.edu/the-scope/shows.php?shows=0_s4f462oo

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Can You Believe It?

This is a powerful message from Bill Harris, Director of Centerpointe Research Institute:

Beliefs & Results:
10 Powerful Things You Should Know

by Bill Harris
If you’re struggling in life in any area–health, wealth, relationships, sports performance, or success of any kind…
...there are 10 important things you should know about how YOU are creating your situation.
And therefore, you have the power to change your results, as simply as changing your mind.
Follow these 10 Principles of Beliefs and Results, and your life will start to change in ways you never thought possible.

1: We Don't Consciously Choose our Beliefs
Based on early life interactions and experiences, especially with our primary caregivers, we all develop beliefs about who we are and what our relationship is to the rest of the world. We don't consciously choose these beliefs.
We soak them up when we're too small to evaluate them. Beliefs become core components of how we see other people, the world, and ourselves.

2: Your Mind Will Make Your Beliefs Come True
Beliefs, in combination with other aspects of your internal cognitive world, create or attract the results, circumstances, and experiences of your life.
Whatever you believe, your mind will find a way to make it come true, or make it seem to be true (which really amounts to the same thing).
This drive to create consistency is so strong that people will do almost anything to be right about their beliefs, including creating failure, suffering, and unhappiness. And when we lack awareness, we don’t even know we’re doing this.

3: Emotional Experiences Create Beliefs
Let’s look at why we might have, and even defend, beliefs that lead to outcomes we don’t want.
Significant negative emotional experiences create beliefs that are not resourceful to us, and cause us to focus on what we don’t want.
These experiences causes us to say to ourselves, in effect, “There’s danger out there, and I have to avoid it.” Then, whenever something reminds–consciously or unconsciously–of a past traumatic experience…
...we attached the original negative emotions to it and re-experience the negative emotions we originally felt, even if there’s no actual danger in that present moment.
Since focusing on anything gives your mind an instruction to create or attract more of it, when you do this you ironically end up getting the very thing they’re trying to avoid.

4: Everything is True to the Person Who Believes It
This is perhaps THE key point you need to understand about beliefs. Since everything is true to the person who believes it—because you’ll create or attract or make up whatever evidence you need in order to be “right” about what you believe…
...evaluating beliefs based on whether they’re supposedly “true” or “false” isn’t helpful.
Doing so is circular, fallacious logic. If you know in advance that you’ll figure out a way to make what you believe either come true or seem to be true, how could a belief ever be false?
If you believe it, you’ll figure out how to have “evidence” that it’s true.
From our individual point of view, only other people’s beliefs can be false. Your beliefs will always turn out to be true.
This is why conscious, happy people evaluate beliefs based on whether or not they’re resourceful…
...whether or not they create the desired results and experience of life.

5: Watching with Awareness Creates Choice
An effective way to replace beliefs that don’t serve you is to adopt the witness posture––to watch, with awareness, the process of how what you believe creates what happens in your life.
This watching process almost magically causes any belief that isn’t resourceful to fall away and whatever is resourceful to remain.
This works because watching with awareness creates choice. It’s impossible to do something that doesn’t serve you, and do it with awareness.
Now, a lot of people misunderstand what I mean by “doing something with awareness.” They think that because they know they’re doing something, they’re already doing it with awareness.
But cognitively knowing something isn’t the same as doing it with awareness.
As you watch, keep in mind the inevitable outcome and curiously stand aside from a detached perspective, and watch the process unfold. This is extremely powerful.

6: You Can Choose What You Want to Believe
Once you’ve watched the creative process with awareness and have caused a self-sabotaging belief to fall away…
...you can then consciously choose a more resourceful belief, one that creates the mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical results you want.
You can choose what you want to believe, and in doing so, choose your results.
You don't have to believe what seems to be true based on past experience. Beliefs are nothing more than instructions to your mind to make something happen.
Think and act “as if” you’re lovable, for example (or wealthy, or healthy, or masterful at something).
Begin by pretending, by acting like a person who believes that they are lovable/wealthy/healthy/masterful.
You could even ask yourself, from time to time, “What would a person who’s lovable/wealthy/healthy/masterful do in this situation?”
This “as if” thinking and acting will sneak up on you, and pretty soon you’ll find yourself thinking and acting like a lovable/wealthy/healthy/masterful, and once you do that…
...you’ll be a lovable/wealthy/healthy/masterful person.

7: Discover What you Currently Believe
A key step in replacing beliefs that don’t serve you is to discover what you currently believe. Here’s a simple way of discovering what you believe. Complete the following sentences:
• I am ________________________.
• People are ___________________.
• The world is __________________.
Just sit down list everything that comes to mind, whether it seems significant or insignificant. Then do the same with “People are _____________” and “The world is _____________”.
We're looking for what you believe about yourself that might be keeping you from being happy and peaceful all the time—statements such as:
• People always take advantage of me
• The world is dangerous and chaotic
• Lovers always leave me in the end
• I can't seem to do anything right
• I'm never going to be a success
• Making money isn’t spiritual
• People will never love me
• No one cares about me
• I’ll never get out of debt
• I’m defective...
...and so on.
These are the beliefs you need to change, the ones that are about what you don’t want.
Once you’re aware of what you believe, you can take a look at what kinds of outcomes each belief leads to.
If you have less-than resourceful beliefs, you’ve been suffering their negative effects for years…
...probably without realizing the connection between your beliefs and your results.
Now, by watching how your beliefs create your results, these beliefs can become a choice. And once that happens, the negative beliefs will fall away.

8: What You Believe Determines Your Results
If you believe you aren’t lovable, for instance, you’ll find a way to make that come true. Your belief will lead to a result.
If you believe it’s difficult to make money, you’ll figure out a way to make that come true.
If you believe that life is an emotional roller coaster, you’ll make that happen. If you believe that people will hurt you, you’ll find a way to attract hurtful people into your life. And so on.
If you’re getting a certain result, you probably believe that it can and will happen to you. Then you unconsciously find a way to make it come true.

9: The Same Beliefs Get the Same Results
As long as you continue to hold the same beliefs, you’ll continue to get the same results.
There’s no way to continue to hold the same beliefs and get different results. To get different results, you must be willing to adopt different beliefs…
...the beliefs of others who are getting the results you want.
Find mentors, read books, mix and mingle with the people who have what you want. You become like the people you surround yourself with.

10. Direct Your Attention Toward What You Want
If you’re having trouble in your life, you’re focusing on what you don’t want, instead of what you DO want.
In this tenth principle, I want to show you how to install a new and more resourceful belief, one that will allow you to create more of what you want.
1. Focus on the new belief as often as possible
2. Act as if it’s already true
3. Take action
You’re already an expert at creating what you believe and focus on. It’s just that up to now you haven’t consciously and intentionally chosen what to believe and what to focus on.
Your focusing has been happening automatically, and as long as you continue to do it that way you’ll continue to create the same results.
Your ability to imagine isn’t the problem. It just needs to be directed toward what you want.
Next, be willing to act “as if” the new belief is true (as discussed above, in Principle #6).
Ask yourself, “How would someone with this belief think? How would someone with this belief act?” What would someone with this belief feel when they thought about it?
Think, act, and feel “as if” you’ve already adopted this new belief.
At first this will feel artificial, but if you keep doing it before long you will believe it, after which you’ll begin to see the results generated by that belief.
Create a short technicolor movie of yourself getting the results associated with the new belief…
...and seeing yourself feeling happy and satisfied with those results. The more vivid and detailed the movie, the better.
Then take action. And no matter what happens, keep going.
Often success comes after many “educational failures.” Read books by people who share your new belief. Socialize with people who share it. Find a mentor who will help you adopt the new belief.
To get what you want in life, you have to do your focusing consciously and intentionally. Believe me, I know what I’m talking about, and if you do as I suggest…
...your life will change in ways you never thought possible.

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