Mental Toughness and the Olympics

Well the Olympics are over and I have to say it was fun to watch this year. Typically I prefer the summer Olympics to see sports that you rarely get to see such as ping pong or handball. Those bring me back to my childhood and fun with friends. Same time, the winter ones this year did not disappoint. I always make it a point to watch the moguls and other ski events to pretend in my own head that I was able to those same tricks when I was a kid. I may have tried, but minimal success and lucky to still be in one piece. Also you would not see me even thinking of trying what I did was younger, which yes I know is all mental. Still was fun this year watching other events you do not see that often like speed skating, and not sure why I found myself watching a lot of curling and cross country.

Anyhow I have to say kudos to the television commentators this year emphasizing the mental aspects of athlete performance throughout the broadcasts. The US Olympic committee is one of the largest organizations to use sport psychologists, which was obvious this year. Typically this part of the performance is mentioned, but glossed over, but this year, and yes I am biased, I saw it more on display than in the past.

Just Youtube a lot of the ski or skating videos and you will athletes visualizing their whole routines before the competition. You will see relaxation and a focus on controlling their breathing. In the cross country there was a lot of analysis of body language and the athletes planning their strategy accordingly. I even saw one skier who had a hematoma on his hip and a broken thumb, but mentally controlled these injuries to perform. At the same time, on display was the importance of family, friends, coaches, and teammates, and how much the people surrounding the athletes played a role in their confidence and motivation, and ultimately their elite performance. Even when they did not win, you could see many remaining positive with their performance and the experience, and will only learn and grow for future performances. They used positive talk to keep pushing forward.

This is just a brief synopsis of the mental game and what I saw as I could go on and on. The point is, you may not be an Olympian, but these are skills that anyone can learn, and apply to their own performance. You can learn to control your thoughts and mindset, manage anxiety, and build relationships. Learning these will lead to performance improvement, and confidence will grow, only fueling you more. At Peak Mental Performance Coaching LLC, we can help you learn these skills. Maybe you will become an Olympian, likely not (at least I won't), but strengthening your mental toughness will lead to improved performance. Email Dr. Flynn at mflynn@peakmpc.com or call us at 978-482-7991 or email Dr. Flynn and see how we can help you. Confidence In Performance, Confidence For Life.

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