It’s no surprise that many athletes, parents, and coaches discover the power of mental training when performance is suffering.
Playing slumps, performance anxiety, compounding mistakes, loss of motivation…I’ve seen (and probably experienced) it all and absolutely believe in the ability to harness the power of the mind to allow players to overcome these common struggles.
But, what if your athlete is already playing really well? Maybe she’s feeling good about her performance. She’s motivated to go to practice. Getting lots of playing time. Feeling confident about herself and her skills.
Well, first, that’s great!
Second, NOW is the time to be doubling down on mental training. The myth that mental training is reserved for those that are playing poorly and struggling couldn’t be more inaccurate or damaging to an athlete’s future potential.
If your athlete is currently playing well, do yourself (and your athlete) a favor and give her mental training skills now. Below you will discover why the best time to work on mental training is actually before athletes start experiencing mental training struggles, allowing you to set your athlete up for success for years to come (and, if your daughter is already struggling with the mental side of the game, don’t worry! There is still lots of hope!)
Here’s why working on the mental side of the game BEFORE mental issues arise is so important…
1. When athletes are playing well, they often don’t know why
If your athlete is playing well and happy with her performance, does she know exactly what she is doing that is leading to that success?
Unless she has already engaged in mental training and is aware of what leads to optimal performance, chances are she doesn’t.
When talent feels natural, it could mean that performance is flowing from unconscious awareness.
The problem: If your athlete doesn’t know what is creating this, she won’t be able to recreate it in the future. It will always be a rollercoaster, causing her to speculate if she’s going to play well today.
To figure it out NOW while she’s on top of her game will allow her to lean into these mental training skills and habits as she progresses further in her sport.
Something as important as her mental and physical performance shouldn’t be left to chance.
2. Mental training allows for prevention instead of reaction
Think of it like this: we go to the doctor when we’re already sick and injured. When it gets to the point where a doctor is needed, recovery can take a while.
On the other hand, we can engage in a healthy diet and exercise when we’re well as preventative measures to keep us healthy and strong.
In other words, “You don’t have to get sick to get better.”
It’s similar with mental training when athletes are playing well. It’s the preventative measures they take in order to keep their game at peak performance.
Preventing future mental struggles as athletes face new challenges, experience adversity, and grow in their sport is much easier than reacting when (not if) the struggle comes.
That’s exactly why it’s the perfect time to work on the mental aspect of the game when athletes are playing well, rather than when they are in crisis and need something ASAP.
How much more confident will athletes feel, knowing that they are playing well now and have the skills to be able to maintain this level of play, even through adversity that arises?
Too often, we don’t see our challenges until they snowball and become something bigger than we realize.
Mental training helps ensure that a little snowflake doesn’t turn into a larger than life avalanche that takes major time and effort to recover from. (Ie. Playing slumps, stretches of demotivation, multiple games of playing “off”).
When your daughter is playing really well and feeling confident, it is NOT the time to slack off or ignore mental training. It’s the ideal time to DOUBLE DOWN!
3. New levels, new devils
Finally, the most obvious reason to ensure that athletes have mental training skills even if they’re playing well now is that they will continue to grow in their sport.
“New levels, new devils” as they say. As athletes achieve the next level in their sport, change teams, and become more competitive, they will face new challenges.
For example, she could be faced with sitting on the bench, playing behind a starter, learning a new position, adapting to a new team.
What if she could still play as good as she is playing now on ANY team, in ANY circumstance?
That’s what mindset work right now sets her up for. The ability to recreate what she’s doing now, in the future.
In fact, most of the athletes I work with don’t come to me with major performance issues (although some do!)
Most are the leaders on their teams. They are all working to keep that going.
They know that when you’re on the top of your game, it’s the best time to double down on working on your mindset.
It’s the easiest time, that’s for sure.
So, rather than waiting for problems to come up and derail your athlete, why not work proactively on her mindset now in order to identify potential things that will throw her off her game?
That’s the key to set her up for continued success, not just the success she’s experiencing on this particular team/season/level of play.
There you have it. Three reasons why the myth that “Athletes Only Need Mental Training When They’re Playing Poorly.” You’ve uncovered why the best time to work on mental training is actually before athletes start experiencing mental training struggles, allowing them to experience success for years to come (and, if your athlete is already struggling with the mental side of the game, don’t worry! There is still lots of hope!)
To learn more about how to empower your athlete with the skills needed to develop lifelong confidence and elite performance, join The Elite Competitor Society. It’s our free Facebook group where female athletes, moms, and coaches come together to learn tips, resources, and engage in free trainings to set our female athletes up for success and confidence on and off the court/field!