By now you should know that becoming a better athlete requires you to have both physical and mental fortitude. It’s in fact essential to combine physical and mental training in the right way if you want to be the best athlete you can possibly be.
An athlete with immense physical talent, but a week mental side will crumble under pressure compared to an athlete that has a great balance of both. You’ve undoubtable seen this in many sports, like tennis, long distance running, and so on.
What’s important to know is not just that you need to be physically and mentally on point, but how to get both aspects at a stage where they’re optimal and get you the best possible results as an athlete.
Bosting your physical side takes hard work and we’ve written many features with training tips to help you on your way. However, research has shown that doing physical and mental training right after one another could actually prove to be the best way forward in upping your mental side.
The basic observation is that your brain requires more oxygen in particular areas when you’re thinking. You also ramp up the concentration of growth factors circulating in your blood after exercise. So by following up immediately after exercise with cognitive training, it will draw this growth-factor-rich blood to your brain.
There are also many tips on what mental training works best, and this article is more about the link between physical and mental training and the timing to ensure the best results between them.
Mental training, particular to sport, can include any of the following examples:
* Power Words – making positive self-statement to boost state of mind.
* Present Focus – being mindful and in the moment. Click the link to read a great feature about mindfulness sin sport.
* Celebration – celebrating any success you achieve after exercise and thinking through what got you there.
* Goal setting sessions – read this article on goal setting to understand its impact.
* Visualisation – using imagery to recreate experiences and boost performance. Read this article for a full breakdown of it.