Mental fitness refers to an athlete’s ability to regulate thoughts, feelings and behaviors and act in a purposeful and consistent manner, while coping with the physical demands placed on them.
Mental fitness development involves building a mental skill set, typically through a mental training program. MOST comprehensive mental training programs emphasize the development of psychological skills, such as anxiety and stress management, imagery, relaxation and activation, goal-setting, focusing, distraction control, self-talk, self-awareness and reflection, pre-competition and pre-performance planning, and confidence building, to name a few (Orlick, 2008; Weinberg & Williams, 2005).
MOST athletes that are new to mental training tend to focus on one area of development, usually goal-setting or imagery. However, if you just develop two components to your mental fitness you will fail. It is like only have two clubs to pick from when you go golfing.
Mental fitness is generally broken down into three phases. The Pre-Performance Phase involves preparation activities that promote readiness for performance. The Performance Phase involves skill execution and the regulation of thoughts, feelings, and behaviours during performance. Lastly, the Post Performance Response Phase involves responses to performance outcomes and circumstances which can have a lasting impact on future performances if not debriefed.
Mental Fitness coaching at MOST will help identify what phase of mental preparedness is lacking and develop a comprehensive plan designed to address these deficiencies in your mental preparation and in turn boost performance in any sport or aspect of life you are seeking to perform optimally.