The mind-body connection is a very powerful one. For everything you think in your mind, your body has a reaction, regardless of whether it is real or imagined. For example, have you ever had a bad dream? Usually, you will wake up and your heart is racing, you are sweating and very agitated, even though all you were doing was sleeping. But, in your mind there was something bad going on and your body was reacting to it. Here’s another example: if you are home alone and you hear a noise and interpret it as the wind, you are fine; but if you interpret it as a prowler, your fight or flight response takes over and you become fearful. Your heart begins going a mile a minute, your eyes dilate, and you are scared. These are just a few examples of how strong the connection is between your mind and your body. With this premise, it becomes unmistakable how necessary it is to train both the mind and body for “”peak performance””.
It was neat to see that, at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, there were approximately 20 Sport Psychology Consultants there working with athletes. It has also been noted that 1/3 of the golfers on the major tours work with a Sports Psychologist or Consultant. Slowly but surely athletes, teams, coaches and managers are not only saying that they feel sports is mental, but also they are doing something about it. They are hiring Sports Psychologists, reading books, and devoting time to team building and mental training.
In sports, so many things are left to chance. Sports are predictably unpredictable. Why let your mental mindset be another one of those things? There’s no reason for your mental game to be your one weakness! You have the power to control that. These tools and resources will help you remove psychological barriers that can get in the way of “”peak performance”” and give you some control over your own performance. Mark McGwire has worked with a Sports Psychologist since 1991, saying that the sessions help him find inner peace. He said it was totally his decision and the best one he made.
Up until about a decade ago, a Sports Psychologist or Consultant was considered a person who athletes went to see only when they had a problem, not someone who healthy and productive athletes and teams spent their time with. Luckily, this stigma is changing; the change is slow, but it is evident. You see Sports Psychologists everywhere now; recreational athletes, colleges, professional teams, Olympic athletes, businesses, and corporations all seek them out. People are realizing that no matter how good you are, you can always improve, and one way to improve yourself is to become well-versed in performance enhancement techniques. There is no room for complacency; the complacent ones get left behind. This philosophy holds true not only in sports but in business as well.
Athletes spend so much time physically practicing to get an edge on the competition. Yet what teams and athletes can really do to get the edge is right in front of their nose, or more accurately, right above their shoulders! You hear the same thing all the time, “Sports is 90-95% mental.” Athletes and coaches at all levels say it, but how many of them do something about it? Unfortunately, not nearly enough. It may be common knowledge, but it is not always common practice. Maybe they don’t have the time, maybe they don’t have the resources, or maybe down deep they don’t really believe it. Whatever the reason, the fact remains the same, they are not utilizing their most powerful resource, the mind. Most athletes fatigue mentally before they fatigue physically, due to the fact that their mind is not in as good of shape as their bodies
Competition is tight, athletes are physically fit, and the margin for victory is slim. Managers, coaches and players are realizing that to get ahead they need an added resource, and that resource is a trained mind. Still, many coaches are blind to the importance of mental skills in their athletes. When there are two teams that are physically equal, it is the team that works together smoothly