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  • Writer's pictureMindy McCarthy

Put in the Reps

I certainly love the athletes that I get to work with on their mental skills training. It is good to see how they grow not only as athletes but as individuals as they pursue many different goals in their lives that go well beyond their competitions. There is one thing that I have found many athletes wish for when they first begin working for me, though and that is the desire to suddenly find the “magic pill.”

What I mean by that is our society seems to be trained to want the quick fix or the faster reward. Many athletes when they first begin working with me are hoping that they are about to come across something that will “magically” help them be a better athlete. While that is certainly the case with mental skills training, it is not something that can be accomplished with a snap of the fingers.

Just as you do with physical training, mental skills training takes time to develop the habits and see your results. Many of us do not do one bicep curl and expect to suddenly have a nice outline of a bicep muscle on our arms. It takes reps and consistency to develop that muscle.

What I want for my athletes is to treat their brains like a muscle or a new skill that they have learned in their sport. We need to consistently put in the reps to create the best mental skills training practices for each individual. This doesn’t simply mean put in the reps before each competition. It also means put in the reps before each workout and practice. You can put in the reps when you first wake up in the morning and again when you go to bed.

Think of it as if you are having an argument with the voice inside your hand. Let’s relate that to an argument that you have had with another person. I am willing to bet that most arguments are not ended when you say simply one thing one time. More likely than not, you have to repeat yourself or continue to say things in different ways to get your point across.

The same is very true with your mind. You have to consistently tell your mind “your side of the story,” so eventually your mind will be convinced of your goals and what you are hoping to achieve. It will also help with convincing your mind that you are fully capable of reaching those goals that you have set.

While I certainly want my athletes to succeed and wish I had a magic wand, putting in the work and the reps is important when wanting to achieve elite status and get your mindset right for your competitions.

The good news with mental skills training is that many of these skills that you are putting in the reps for can translate well to other areas of your life. Are you using positive affirmations before a competition? You can make your own affirmations for when you are about to go to an interview. Are you breaking down small goals to help you with your athletic abilities? How about setting goals for your occupation or your education?

Now that you have some mental skills to try to enhance your performance, put in the reps.

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