Home > Uncategorized > Mobilize Your Mind – Part 2

Mobilize Your Mind – Part 2

February 25, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

canfrom Tabata Times, some ways to look at your own self-talk and be a better coach for yourself.

Understand Your Focus Style

Picture yourself at the box. Do you have to get quiet and centered before the clock starts? Or can you laugh and joke all the way up until you’re standing in front of the bar? Part of mental prep is also knowing your individual focus style.

Internal focus style  Athletes with an internal focus style perform best when they’re totally and consistently focused on their sport during a practice session or a competition They need to keep their focus narrow, thinking only about their sport. If they broaden their focus, for example, if they talk about non-sport topics during warm-up, they’ll become distracted and will have trouble refocusing and performance will suffer.

External focus style. Athletes with an external focus style perform best when they only focus on their sport when they’re about to begin a competition. At all other times, it is best for them to broaden their focus and take their mind off their sport. These athletes have a tendency to think too much, become negative and critical, and experience workout anxiety. For these athletes, it’s essential that they take their focus away from their sport when they’re not actually performing.

Many coaches think that if athletes are not totally focused on their sport, then they’re not serious about it and they won’t perform their best. Yet, for athletes with an external focus style, they don’t want to think too much or be too serious because this causes them to lose confidence and become anxious. 

Consider which of these most closely describes you in order to manage your thoughts accordingly prior to performance or competition.

Eliminate the “bad” thoughts

What negative words or phrases creep into your self-talk during difficult wods? Make a plan to replace them.

Many experienced CrossFitters develop strategies for managing tough workouts: “I’m going to do sets of 5 reps at a time” or “I’m going to take mini-rests approximately every two minutes.” It’s both calming and reasonable to do this kind of planning to avoid a physical burnout. Similarly, we can make plans for managing our athlete self-talk for the same reason: to prevent a mental burnout.

Aaron Weintraub, a college baseball coach and performance consultant, offers the following advice:

Because the mind communicates with the body…all thoughts by athletes about what not to do should be reframed or countered into positive statements before the performance is attempted. Change “don’t walk this guy” into “throw strikes.” Change “don’t press” into “stay within yourself.” Change “I can’t finish my workout” into “I can finish my workout.”

Immediately before you perform, your self-talk should be positive and functional, keeping it simple so that you may focus wholly on the task-at-hand.

He also offers the following list of words/phrases to avoid:

  • Can’t
  • I’m not…
  • Need/Have to
  • Should/supposed to
  • Fail/failure
  • Always/Never
  • I stink/suck (and other variations)
  • Hate
  • That’s not fair.
  • That’s discouraging.

Any of those sound like thoughts that have run through your head? Similarly, the Elizabethtown Aquatic Club (EAC) provides another helpful list – areas of focus to avoid:

  • the past or the future – stay in control of each moment as it comes
  • weaknesses, especially during a performance or competition
  • fixating on the outcome instead of the process
  • uncontrollable factors (i.e. weather, other athletes)
  • demanding perfection
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