5 Steps to Develop Mental Toughness
For any athlete that wants to be successful it's important to have mental toughness. This will help athletes perform their best and stay sharp and focused when things are going their way as well as it’ll help them in their everyday life!
STAY POSITIVE & FOCUSED, DON'T LET ANYTHING DISTRACT YOU
Many hockey specialists, coaches and even players themselves say that half of the game is mental and that alone explains how important mental toughness is.
Keeping a positive attitude no matter of the situation is often what wins games, because a lost goal, a missed opportunity or a bad referees call wont affect you and distract your focus from the game plan.
It’s important to learn from your mistakes instead of getting down on yourself and letting that one mistake start a “domino effect”. Calm demeanor is what will help players limit mistakes and stay away from making rash decisions.
If you have that figured out - you can learn how to use your emotion "highs" in your advantage. Just like the bad emotions will affect your negatively, good emotions will lift you up. Learn how to control what you are allowing to come into your mind and get rid of everything that wont do you any good.
BE OKAY WITH BEING UNCOMFORTABLE
Athletes should intentionally put themselves in uncomfortable situations during practices. Coaches should come up with drills that simulate the tough game situations where players are under pressure and have to make quick decisions.
The more you'll practice these situations the quicker you will get used to staying calm and will be able to make better decisions without “cracking” under pressure. With time you will see a huge development in your mental toughness.
SET DIFFERENR GOALS
Setting smaller and bigger, long-term and short-term goals will help athletes look at the bigger picture and stay focused. Having a goal to work for, to reach keeps athletes motivated and helps them stick to their workouts, diets and practices.
In team sports there's usually designated team leaders - a captain and assistants, but players should not be afraid to speak up and take leaders role either way. Being able to speak positively to teammates and yourself, during a difficult moment, game or season, can be the boost that a they or the team needs to make a comeback.
DON'T BE HARD ON YOURSELF
In any sports there's always expectations that coaches, teammates and family put on their athletes and even expectations that athletes put on themselves. It's good and important to always want to do your best performance, but it's even more important to understand that it's okay to make mistakes or have a bad shift, or make a bad play, or even have a bad game. It's about how you come out of and how you handle these bad situations.
Mistakes are actually very necessary, because that’s what we learn from. Mistakes are what makes us better athletes. So set goals, have expectations, but remember to not be too harsh on yourself.
The more you'll work on all of these things and gain more control of your mind by putting a “filter” on all that's being said and is happening around you, the more mentally tough you’ll become.