WHY MENTAL TRAINING?
As athletes, there are so many areas of performance that daily work and effort attempts to refine. In today’s athletic world it is not uncommon to have a team of supporters in place to help you reach your athletic goals. Everyone on that team of supporters is there to help you get the most out of your body in order help you perform at your optimal level.
Take a moment to think about your sport. What percent of your performance do you attribute to your physical ability and what percent of your performance do you attribute to your mental ability? Now, using those percentages, how much of your practice and preparation time do you devote to enhancing yourself physically versus mentally? In such a competitive athletic world, why is there a certain percentage of your game that you are leaving to chance? You push yourself to get every edge you can physically, why not get an edge mentally?
“The whole idea is to get an edge. Sometimes it takes just a little extra something to get that edge, but you have to have it”.
- Don Shula (former All-American Cornerback and Coach)
The average athlete performs “in the zone” only 10-20 percent of the time. So what is the plan for the other 80-90 percent? Having a controlled and consistent mental game is a great way to get the best out of your performance. The essence of mental training is not only learning to be in control of your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and behaviors, but also recognizing how to alter and adjust these areas in order to perform at your most optimal level. Having mental skills to fall back on and integrate into your performance is an essential part of the game for athletes at any level.
The inspiration for the SELF MADE ATHLETE came from a sculpture that I fell in love with entitled the “Self Made Man” sculpted by Bobby Carlyle. This art piece depicts a man carving himself and his future out of a block of stone. If you look closely you will see that Bobby left deliberate nicks and abrasions in the finished work because, “man needs to see signs of his own effort and toil.”
For me, this was a very powerful image given my chosen career path. Athletes have the chance to shape and create themselves everyday. No two athletes’ experiences or journeys are the same or without flaw. It takes courage, effort, and persistence to become a successful athlete and there are bound to be struggles and challenges. Perhaps the most powerful part of this statue is that the man is carving HIMSELF out of stone. Athletes often have a support system including; coaches, trainers, parents, fans, etc. However, while it is important to have this type of support, it is ultimately up to the athlete to create their career. No one will ever care as much about your sports career as you do and you are the one that decides each day how much you will persist in reaching your goals. You and you alone are the creator and your today, tomorrow, and future, is the result of what you make it.
That is truly the definition of SELF MADE.This statue is also the driving force behind the mission of becoming a SELF MADE ATHLETE: OWN. CONTROL. PERFORM. Self made athletes are encouraged to take ownership in controlling their mental strength and ultimately their performance.
SELF MADE ATHLETE: MODEL OF PRACTICE:
This model of practice is designed to maximize cooperation, support, and trust between the client and the consultant. Striving to foster this type of working environment, this model uses a combination of client thoughts, feelings, and behaviors with the mental training expertise of the consultant.
Client: (black) This portion allows for the client to share their own unique experiences. Clients are encourage to choose what they feel comfortable sharing and the direction in which they wish to proceed.
Consultant: (red) My role is to use my expertise to support, encourage, and challenge the client in their endeavor to enhance their mental strength. Towards the end of the working relationship you will notice that the consultants role begins to wane as the client becomes stronger and more independent.