I decided to put some of my thoughts on paper for 2014 and share them with you. I think for my first go at this, I’m going to tackle one of the fundamentals that I believe is needed for successful Mental Training. That is the belief in Mental Training. In order for someone to find benefit in something, they have to believe that it will help. So, let’s get this started! I hope this is a good read for you!
In the realm of Mental Training, having athletes believe in what I do is key to making this all work. Without this belief, there is room for doubt, lack of motivation to use Mental Training, and general disinterest. So the important question here would be how do you encourage someone unfamiliar to Mental Training to believe that is it beneficial to athletic and personal performance?
There’s no exact formula, but I can let you know what’s worked from personal experience. First, you need to know what you’re doing. It’s a basic concept but it’s important. I know I wouldn't trust in a doctor who needs to look at his or her flashcards before performing surgery on me. In order to know what we are doing, we should be continual students and evolving practitioners of the game. We also need to maintain a humility that will allow us to ask questions, engage others in the field, and do our own research to become better practitioners of our profession.
Not only do we need to know what we are doing, but we also need to make Mental Training relevant and applicable. Presenting things, “in theory” sounds nice in a classroom or around the water cooler, but this is athletics. There’s more belief when you can present a concept, explain why it’s relevant, and (most importantly) how to use it as soon as we finish. It’s also HOW the concepts are presented. Presenting in a way that captures interest, creates curiosity, and evokes action is essential to making Mental Training a practice people can believe in.
Honestly, above knowing what you’re doing and making things relevant and applicable is being who you are 100% of the time and using your actions as well as your words. If you genuinely believe in who you are and what you do, the rest falls into place. People can see straight though facades and false promises. People believe in genuine people and consistent, meaningful actions. Be honest about successes as well as your failures. It’s OK to be yourself while being a professional (within reason!). People like to know who they’re believing in! There’s no secret way to be a genuine person, it just happens. This element of earning belief in Mental Training can take a program so far.
It also helps to have someone in your corner. Belief in Mental Training can be a top-down process. Most of the time, the Mental Training Consultant (MTC) is introduced to a program that is already established. The MTC is the “new kid on the block” in a sense. So! By having someone in a position of leadership (Coach, AD, for example) who is pumped about Mental Training can make the incorporation of Mental Training into the program a little bit easier and possibly better received by those in the program. This can also help ensure that the concepts of Mental Training presented by the MTC will not only be promoted by the MTC, but those in leadership positions as well. Pretty cool, right?
Well! Before this turns into a novel, I will wrap it up here. The moral of this blurb is that knowledge is power, being relevant and applicable is clutch, being you will help you prosper, and appreciate the people in your corner. But no really, belief in Mental Training is a major part of the success of Mental Training. To earn this belief, you have to give those you are working with reasons to believe. This can be the hardest part sometimes, but it is worth every single ounce of everything that you put in to it. After the belief is there the process thereafter takes care of itself. This not only applies to Mental Training, but to overall athletic programs and life as well. And that, my friends, is how I will start this writing journey. Let me know what you think!