Today, I want to fill you in on what I’ve noticed after 10 years of coaching female athletes to become mentally tough and confident. Some of the greatest benefits are actually occurring off the court and field!
When most athletes and parents start to understand and utilize the power of mental training, it’s typically to help with things like:
-Getting out of playing slumps
-Bouncing back from mistakes
-Playing consistently to potential
-Performing in pressure situations
And I can tell you first hand (as both an athlete and a coach), that developing the mental side of the game leads to improvements in all of these areas.
I could spend hours telling you stories about how athletes have overcome their limiting beliefs, changed their self-talk, and created routines for themselves to improve performance on the court/field.
However, today I’m talking about the unexpected transformations that parents and athletes have reported that you might not notice on the court or field.
The things not seen by the naked eye, but have every bit of influence on who our young female athletes are becoming.
Here are the unexpected benefits of a confident, mentally tough athlete…
They Make Better Decisions
Athletes who have developed a deep confidence in themselves through mental training are more secure about who they are as a person off the court.
Part of this includes having an awareness of themselves, their strengths/weaknesses, and a clear vision of the goals they want to accomplish.
These athletes are fully aware that the decisions they make off the court influence the athlete they are becoming on the court.
For that reason, I find that athletes who have invested in their confidence and mental training make decisions in all aspects of their lives to reflect who they are becoming.
This means less falling to negative peer pressure and making decisions with the thought of who they want to become rather than what feels good in the moment.
With increased awareness, confidence in oneself, and a vision of who they want to become, mentally tough athletes are committed to making choices that push them in the direction of where they want to go.
They Take Healthy Risks
When athletes start to trust themselves and their ability to recover from failure, they feel more confident taking risks.
On the court/field, this looks like trying new skills or “going for it” in the moments when it matters.
Off the court/field, this skill is just as important. Athletes who are mentally tough and confident feel equipped to take the risks in life that might be scary or that don’t have a guarantee of a positive outcome.
-Applying to the college of their dreams
-Going for the job interview
-Trying new things
-Stepping out of their comfort zone to talk to someone
Just the other day, one of the athletes in the Elite Competitor Program told me that she decided to reach out to college coaches with game film and asked to set up a meeting to talk to coaches. To her surprise, most responded AND set up a meeting with her! She reported that if not for her increased confidence through working on her mental game, she wouldn’t have even tried to reach out in the first place.
This type of healthy risk-taking leads to deep, lifelong confidence!
They Have Improved Relationships
Athletes that are more secure and confident in themselves tend to exude that confidence through their relationships as well. They know the power of surrounding themselves with positive influences.
Through having a greater understanding of themselves, they also choose better friends, rely less on their friends for validation, and feel comfortable with speaking up and being themselves in their relationships
Jamie, mom of Elite Competitor athlete Marissa told us this after watching her daughter become more confident through mental skills training:
“I have noticed her ability to move through difficult situations, with her school work, change dramatically. She’s able to remain calm and focused in times where she used to get frustrated and maybe even a little emotional. I’ve seen a boost in her confidence when communicating with friends as well.”
They Are Better Equipped to Navigate the Challenges of Life
Just as Jamie mentioned above, mentally tough athletes have the ability to bounce back from mistakes, setbacks, and losses on the court/field. But that skill doesn’t stop there.
These athletes apply these skills to the challenges of life, school, and relationships.
Reframing failure, the ability to work through tough situations, loss, disappointment, and setbacks are essential life skills that athletes learn through their mental training and can apply to multiple situations throughout their lives.
They Have Improved Body Confidence
Most, if not all, female athletes struggle with body image at some point or another in their lives. Comparison, normal body changes, and the culture we live in that obsesses over what the female body “should” look like sets our young women up to struggle from the get-go.
Part of mental training includes identifying the limiting beliefs that stand in the way of playing and living to our potential.
Unsurprisingly, most of the athletes I work with list dissatisfaction with their bodies as one of their primary limiting beliefs. This absolutely impacts the way they show up on the court/field!
When athletes have a system to identify and work through their limiting beliefs about their bodies, they are free to be themselves, love their uniqueness, take up space with their bodies, and allow themselves to compete and live while being comfortable in their own skin.
This is one of the most beautiful, unexpected benefits that I’ve seen in the athletes I work with. Game-changer is an understatement. More like life-changer!!
There you have it! The unexpected benefits of mentally tough, confident athletes. It goes far beyond the court/field and into athlete’s lives, relationships, and future!
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