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World-class athletes are very deliberate in the way they practice and compete.
1). Start with Clearing the Mind:
Sounds simple, but not always easy! One way to begin the process is to do a couple ‘box breaths’ before high pressure or competitive events. It’s simply inhaling for 5 seconds through their nose into their diaphragm, extending their stomach, holding for 5 seconds, exhaling for 5 seconds through their mouth, and holding for 5 seconds. So, in for 5, hold 5, out for 5, hold 5. They should be sitting or standing up straight, be comfortable and in alignment.
Here's why it works.
Research has proven that breathing exercises can change the pH of our blood, change blood pressure, and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system which is the one that calms us down. This type of breathing also activates the Vagus nerve, which helps to deactivate the stress response, and helps calm us down. You have now cleared the slate for what’s important.
2). Let Go of the Outcome:
One thing you can do is to focus less on outcomes and more on preparation and mastery. You have control over preparation and mastery and usually don’t have control of outcomes. In order to have our best shot at doing our best, it’s the process that deserves your attention, not the outcome. Are you what is expected or what you need to do? Are rested for the big day (hopefully most days!)? Do you have a strategy? You need to own whatever important event you are preparing for, not the other way around. Master what you have control over, that’s it.
Here's why it’s important.
World-class athletes do not worry about what happens if they fail or don’t measure up. If they do, it’s managed effectively and efficiently. The reason being, it’s distracting. In order to do your best, just prepare, clear their mind, assume their desired result will happen, and dismiss any worry of the outcome. HINT: If this is difficult, you should go back to those box breaths.
3). Set Intentions:
If you can increase self-efficacy (the belief that you can accomplish something), your confidence should follow. Intentions, things you know you can or will do. For example, “I am fast, and I will run my hardest.” The outcome may not be in your control, but you will start to believe what you tell yourself over and over again which boosts confidence. That gives you your best shot at being as amazing as possible.
Here's why it works.
Simply, setting Intentions gets you focused on what’s important for you to your best. It’s also an internal accountability system.
World-class athletes typically perform their best when they are calm, carefree (of the outcome) and focused. Clearing your mind, letting go of the outcome and then setting an intention will help you have a world-class mindset and champion results.
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Here’s to you being awesome!
Mental Toughness is the tool belt or catalyst which helps teens to make consistent progress and to be happy along the way. Please check out the library of (free) resources on my website (www.SherylKline.com) or schedule an appointment with me if you’d like to learn more!
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