March Madness is in full swing. Tonight we will watch the remaining games in the Elite Eight to determine who gets to the Final Four. It has been a tournament filled with upsets and excitement. We wanted to share a piece we often use with our athletes at AscendCHC. Please contact us with any thoughts or questions. Good luck with your brackets!
Whether it's on the court, in the pool, or on the field, listed below are eight psychological attributes that help facilitate success.
Maintaining concentration under pressure:
- An athlete who is able to recognize the “here and now,” during competition is the athlete whom often finds the most success. These athletes learn to focus on the tasks in front of them instead of paying attention to past failures or previous successes. By focusing appropriately on each individual moment in competition, the athlete determines how best to be in charge of that moment.
Setting short and long-term goals:
- An athlete is able to self-regulate their own progress. Creating short and long-term goals helps an athlete or any individual form self-motivation. By discerning between those short and long-term goals, an athlete can regulate how realistic each of their goals are, which can often give that individual a sense of progress and accomplishment throughout training.
Using mental imagery:
- By mentally picturing the environment an athlete will be in during competition, they can be more prepared for the performance. Through simulating detailed and specific images of the challenges in front of them, an athlete is able to train their mind to be ready for the environment he/she will step into when it is time to perform.
Effectively dealing with anxiety:
- At AscendCHC, we want our athletes to know that anxiety is a natural part of competition and that everyone feels some form of anxiety whenever they perform. We also want our athletes to know how to reduce anxiety when it becomes too strong, without losing their athletic intensity. Successfully dealing with anxiety is essential in any areas of life, not just for athletes and not just when they are performing.
The pursuit of excellence, not perfection:
- Even though many of us strive for perfection, we all know that it isn't a reality, especially in athletics. Successful athletes are ones who realize that along with themselves, their teammates and coaches also aren’t perfect and they shouldn't expect perfection from them either. By choosing a positive attitude towards your training and competition, this will also help an athlete achieve excellence, and not perfection.
The ability to sort through emotions:
- Instead of pushing away from the emotions often associated with athletic competition such as excitement, anger or disappointment, an athlete must be able to embrace these emotions. Processing emotions and learning from them helps athletes chart their own progress from a physical and psychological standpoint.
A realization that they are a part of something larger:
- Although the prospect of success in athletics might drive daily motivation, sometimes athletes must realize that their sport is only a small part of who they are. Athletes have to realize that family, friends, coaches and the support system they’ve built, will all be there after the game, season or career ends. The game itself might be temporary, successful athletes must find a balance. Acknowledgement that while scoreboards and winning streaks may be of high importance today, that a support system will help them through what comes after all that ends, temporarily or not.
The ability to self-regulate:
- Whether it is emotions, performance, or even body control, these aspects come down to the athlete themselves having the skills to analyze and relish in the ups and downs that naturally come with athletics. We feel sports psychology is a great way for an athlete to overcome their mental difficulties, and we hope to equip our athletes with the skills that they themselves can use with, or without, our help.