Even high performance athletes need a mind coach in their corner.
We know there’s more to winning than physical training. The mind also needs to be trained.
A new book, by a performance psychologist Gayelene Clews, is valuable for anyone who wants to keep mental distress under control. And it applies to everyone, not just athletes.
Stopping self-defeating, negative thoughts requires training. Negative thoughts are waiting to jump into our minds at any unguarded moment.
Gayelene, previously a world-class athlete and now a mind coach, knows how important it is to quickly recognize our negative patterns of thinking.
The new term ‘metacognition’ is about recognizing patterns of thinking and taking action to gain control on how we use our minds. Building up our own personal library of creative and resourceful ways to deal with anxiety and self doubt is what she calls building ‘mind wealth’.
This teaching is not new. I read ‘The Inner Game of Tennis’ a few years ago. When published in 1974, it was a phenomenon. It is still relevant today.
The author Timothy Gallwey demonstrates how to overcome the self-doubt, nervousness, and lapses of concentration that can keep a player from winning.
How to do it?
Gaylene also shows how we can learn to do this.
I found it interesting that she discusses the additional problems faced by athletes as retirement approaches. It must be a serious challenge to anyone when they step down from the limelight, whether they be successful business people, entertainers or even heads of government.
Stepping off the Ladder
Once you have become accustomed to star-class service, paparazzi, free tickets and airline upgrades, how do you become an ordinary person again?
How to Re-Define Yourself
Having many different ways to define yourself will help you move from the top rung of your field to a lower level, without losing self esteem. Not defining yourself solely by way of your business success or your star performer status, will keep you grounded when your external status changes.
Challenging Negative Thoughts
Being aware of your thoughts and challenge the negative thoughts immediately they crop up instead of dwelling on failures. Remind yourself of your many successes in the past.
Run that successful memory in detail. This is how a mind coach helps athletes to stay focused and positive.
By re-running successful shots and maneuvers they set the brain to focus and remember the process of a successful move in stead of the error.
‘Wired to Play’ – Gayelene Clews, performance psychologist
‘The Inner Game of Tennis’ The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance. Timothy Gallwey