Your Mental Game
Genna Smith and I recently attended a Sport Phycology Seminar, presented by Mike Caruso, Pro-Strongman competitor. Here are the ‘knowledge nuggets’ from that seminar.
The brain is a muscle – if you work this muscle it will improve and grow. Tommy Kono, an American Weightlifter, developed a model to successful weightlifting, where 20% of your success is based on power development, 30% is based on technique, and 50% of your success is based on your mindset. Three things you can start doing to improve your ‘mental game’ are visualization, eliminate negativity, and train with a purpose.
Visualization is mental imagery. Devoting time to visualization will make you a more successful athlete. One tool you can use is to watch videos of elite athletes and start to see yourself as those people. Studies have shown that visualization activates the same regions of the brain as physically performing the activity. If you practice visualization before your workouts you will find that you have more energy and you will believe you can achieve what you’ve pictured in your mind is possible.
Second, eliminating negativity from your training and your life will help you create a positive mental framework. Creating an optimal training environment will yield significant gains. One strategy is to train with athletes that are better than you. Pairing up with another athlete during training will elevate your performance. An example of an optimal training environment is at Westside Barbell, which is an “invitation only” elite training facility in Columbus, Ohio that was created by power lifter, Louie Simmons. At Westside Barbell they believe weightlifting is not an individual sport. They commonly have eight athletes working on one bar, and each athlete will take a turn making the lift.
Negativity is draining and you have the choice to surround yourself with positive people as well as eliminating negativity from your life. Everyone experiences times when they are tired, unmotivated, and depressed – this is natural. There is learned optimism and learned helplessness. You choose your mindset. Caruso said ‘you can learn to struggle or you can learn to thrive.’ Always look for a sliver lining in failure, where you learn from your mistakes and move forward.
Lastly, train with a purpose every day. It helps to set daily goals because small success everyday will lead to more success and positivity. Start by setting an intention for each workout:
Today, I’m not going to count the weight.
Today, I’m not going to stop on the run, even if I have to walk, I won’t stop moving.
Today, I’m going to listen to Brittany Spears Pandora Radio and have fun during my workout.
By Conner Edelbrock