The 2018 Winter Olympics is currently being held in South Korea, and it is going extremely well for some countries that are increasing their gold medals at different events.
Some people may think that in order to become an athlete, especially representing your country to the Olympics, you would need to train for years not just to become the best among the rest, but become the best version of yourself, which is true, but it turns out that it is actually more than that.
What most people don’t know is that athletes actually go through more than just physical training, but mental training as well. People who dedicate so much to what they do will definitely need a strong mindset, especially when entering competitions like the Olympics.
Some athletes believe that mental training is way more difficult than the physical training because when they are doing the physical training, they just get tired afterward, but they become better at what they do.
When it comes to the mental training, on the other hand, it is like preparing for a battle without knowing what they are going up against, they may have an idea but they wouldn’t know until the moment comes. The mental training also involves a different level of concentration, which experts are happy to talk about so continue reading to find out more.
Significance of Mental Training
Professional sports communities all over the world do not just require athletes to physically train for such a long time, they also require them to undergo mental training.
The mental training for athletes would consist of building their confidence, discipline, determination, focus, and motivation to be able to gain a high athletic overall performance.
Psychologists who work with professional athletes have mentioned that it doesn’t really matter how great an athlete may be at their chosen sport if they are not mentally prepared, then they wouldn’t be able to reach their full potential and they wouldn’t be able to do their best.
Which is why there are sports psychologists, and they are the ones making sure that the athletic overall performance of an athlete is at its best by doing mental exams and skills test.
Almost every professional athlete, especially those who compete in world championships and the Olympics, undergoes mental training. This mental training would help them break into the walls that are stopping them from being able to focus as well as from reaching their full potential.
Sports psychologists also said that mental training can also be way more difficult than the physical training, this is because mental training involves improving someone’s attitude and help them be able to find their inner strength and weaknesses without feeling vulnerable.
Mental training takes time and practice, and one of the most difficult levels of mental training is by letting the athletes understand the mental barriers that they need to break just like being a perfectionist, fear of failure, extremely high expectations and more. These are some that could be very difficult to overcome which is why the athletes’ coaches also need to understand the mental aspect of the training.
Being An Olympic Mental Skills Coach
Being able to compete and represent your country in the Olympics is definitely a huge honor and at the same time so much pressure. Which is why these athletes need someone who wouldn’t just train them physically but also would help them mentally prepare themselves for everything.
A five-time Olympic Games mental coach, Dr. Colleen Hacker, said in an interview how exactly she makes these athletes mentally prepared, and she said that she basically helps them calm themselves down, she guides them to self-talk to build mental strength.
Hacker also said that everyone, not just athletes, gets butterflies when they will be the next center of attention, however, those butterflies must not be removed by force, instead, the butterflies must fly away themselves.
She said that she helps a person gain control of themselves, let them be in the moment without having to worry about the future. Breathing exercises may be old school but it is what works best.
Hacker does this exercise to some of her clients from the United States Women’s National Soccer Team, as well as Olympians and they have worked every single time. She also said that being nervous is totally fine, mental training is just needed so that an athlete could learn how to fully control themselves. Being able to build the confidence is one of the most important parts of mental training.