“There is no way I’m going to survive this practice.” We’ve all had that thought. Whether it’s in the middle of your third full-out routine or that last bit of conditioning your coach threw in, at some point, you’ve probably questioned whether or not you’d make it.
News flash. You can, and you did!
The phrase “mind over matter” is something you’ve likely heard before. The mind is an incredibly powerful tool, and when your body feels like collapsing, your mind can save you. But developing mental toughness takes work. Just as you condition your body to be strong, you must also condition your brain.
Your brain controls what your body does. If you feel like your arms can’t lock out any longer, tell yourself they can. But more than saying it, you need to believe it. Once you succeed and overcome your fatigue, you’ll be one step closer to a stronger mind.
Mental fortitude goes hand in hand with focus. Instead of worrying about the stunt you dropped in warmups or the geometry test you have tomorrow, concentrate on the skill that’s happening now. Take it one step at a time, with a focus on technique and the confidence that it will hit.
A strong mind is resilient; it doesn’t settle for mediocrity. If a skill isn’t perfect, bounce right back and do it again. If you land your tumbling pass nine out of 10 times, insist on starting over from one. If you can hit a skill when you’re tired, you can hit it under any circumstance.
Confidence comes from believing, not hoping. Hoping your routine will hit suggests uncertainty. On the other hand, believing it will hit shows confidence not only in your own abilities, but in the abilities of your teammates. Don’t succumb to negative energy; empower your mind with positive thoughts.
You can see that mental toughness doesn’t come easily. It has its frustrations and obstacles, just like physical toughness. But with practice and perseverance, your mind will rise over your body, and you can turn ordinary