Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
One of the most common frustrations I hear from parents or coaches of female athletes is this: “My athlete/daughter/team isn’t mentally tough enough.”
Usually followed by stories of how much tougher athletes were “back then,” and why it’s so different now.
I get it. But I also get equally frustrated when I hear it. It’s as if we expect these athletes to somehow have the skills to perform under pressure, handle the unique stresses of their lives, and navigate failure…but what have we done to teach them these skills?
Most of the time, our emphasis is put on the physical training, because after all, that’s ultimately what it comes down to: outcome and performance on the court/field.
But what if I told you that mental aspect of the game is just as important? And, without it, our athletes will actually never be able to be the “mentally tough” competitors that we expect them to be?
Even after people realize this is the missing key, and even in 2020 when mental health is finally recognized as paramount to our health, there are still some common myths about mental training that we need to clear up.
First myth: that mental training is for the weak.
I’m going to break down this myth now to uncover why high quality performance mental training is the mark of a high-performing athlete, not a sign of weakness, so that your athlete can start tapping into her potential now.
Here’s exactly why “Mental Training Is For The Weak” is a myth…
Believing “mental training is for the weak” makes athletes suffer more
There’s no doubt that we live in a culture that praises self-reliance as a sign of strength. Which means we should be able to figure things out on our own, pretend things are okay, and minimize when we might need help.
Which also means that requiring help or resources is seen as a sign of weakness.
Players feel that they should always feel fine. They are taught (subtly) that they should figure out how to get through their mental struggles (without being taught or coached how). They fear being judged for needing help.
So, most suffer silently. They are frustrated and confused on the inside, more than often blaming themselves for not being strong or smart enough to figure it out.
And on the outside, underperforming which reinforces these negative thoughts.
But, they’ll tell you they’re fine. That it’s not that big of a deal. That they will figure it out (somehow).
When really, the belief that mental training is for the weak is holding them back from being able to actually learn the skills to overcome these (extremely common) struggles.
How can they do something they haven’t been taught?
Believing the myth that mental training is for the weak is preventing athletes from accessing the skills and resources they need in order to learn how to navigate challenges and perform to their potential, causing them to suffer more.
The highest performing athletes utilize mental training
Ask any high-performing athlete what their key to success is. Guaranteed its not just the hours and hours they put into their training.
It’s also the habits they’ve developed. The discipline they hold themselves to. The routines they’ve established in order to produce consistent performance. The confidence they have cultivated in themselves and their capabilities. Their ability to harness their mental strength through visualization and goal setting.
It’s more than just physical, as Olympic Gold Medalist Courtney Thompson says,
“I think one thing I’ve learned is that if you don’t believe you can win, if you don’t believe your team can win, if you don’t believe in yourself, then there’s no point in showing up. And so for me, a lot of the work is doing enough training, physically, mentally, to believe that you’ve earned the right to take advantage of that opportunity. And something that I’ve done a ton of is visualizing and meditating so I can be more consistent in big moments, in small moments, in every moment to just be my best self.”
The thing is, this mental training isn’t just reserved for Gold-Medalists. It’s available to all athletes, given they have the willingness to believe in its power and adults in their life to support the mental side of their game, too.
Mental Training is a sign of strength
I’m just going to go ahead and flip the myth on it’s head with this one!
Mental training is not for the weak.
In fact, those that are willing to put in the time and work to improve their mindset by following a proven system within a community of similar athletes are not only brave, but they’re mentally tough.
They know they need support, perspective, and clarity. And are willing to engage to do it.
And getting support, learning how to train our powerful minds to work for us, and building confidence and resiliency is a sign of STRENGTH not weakness.
Athletes who utilize mental training…
– Have a proven system to fall back on when they are struggling on/off the court.
– Know how to transform their limiting beliefs.
– Can harness the power of positive self-talk which leads to increased confidence.
– See challenges as an opportunity for growth, rather than something that will crush them.
– They’re strong. Brave. Fierce. Confidence. Resilient.
Weak? Absolutely not.
Strong beyond belief? No question about it.
There you have it. “Myth #1: Mental Training Is For The Week”, debunked. You just uncovered how high quality sports performance mental training is the mark of a high-performing athlete, not a sign of weakness.
Want your athlete to start experiencing this and begin tapping into her potential now? Join our free Facebook group, the Elite Competitor Society, where female athletes, moms, and coaches come together to build confidence and elite performance. You’ll learn tips, resources, and have access to free live trainings every week to help your athlete harness her power and start allowing her hard work to pay off! Head here to join us!