Benefits of Mental Performance Training
As an athlete, you’re always looking for an edge in competition so that you can get to the top and stay on top.
One of the realities of modern athletics, however, is that we’ve tapped the limits of several of the frequently sought performance strategies (all of which you should be doing):
Stregnth and Conditioning Training
Rest / Recovery Methods
But, there is one strategy that is frequently overlooked – even by successful athletes – and that’s mental training.
Mental performance training and coaching provide a significant advantage for the modern athlete.
Here are several key benefits documented in scientific research:
Faster Reaction Time
A recent study has shown that mental rehearsal, known as covert learning, leads to motor preparation, or overt learning. Mental training will help your skills and your reaction time.
Neural Population Dynamics Underlying Motor Learning Transfer Saurabh Vyas, Nir Even-Chen, Sergey D.Stavisky, Stephen I.Ryu, Paul Nuyujukian, Krishna V.Shenoy https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0896627318300655
Higher Confidence / Self-Belief
Studies show that athletes with a high self-efficacy — belief in one’s ability to succeed — have higher endurance. Mental training can improve confidence to garner results and continue in the face of adversity.
British Medical Journal, Stirling University psychologists Karel Gisbers and Vivien Scott 1981
Mental training and visualization utilize the action/observation network of the brain, By using this network, which includes the temporal cortex, front parietal cortex, and motor cortex, athletes can not only mentally rehearse their own movements but learn to sense subtle actions from other athletes, improving their ability to react in the moment for positive outcomes.
Scott Grafton, a researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbara http://www.dana.org/News/Details.aspx?id=43530
Improved Toughness / Pain Tolerance
Mindfulness and meditation have been shown to increase pain tolerance for athletes. In a study from The University of Kent, athletes who received physiotherapy, as well as mindfulness meditation, for injuries had a higher pain tolerance.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180626113350.htm Mindfulness helps injured athletes improve pain tolerance and awareness University of Kent June 2018
Perform Under Pressure / Big Moments
Mindset training can help understand where feelings of pressure come from and prepare you to perform under pressure. By being aware of stressors, you can train your mind to think past them and stay in peak performance.
https://www.brianmac.co.uk/articles/article022.htm Performing Under Pressure, Patrick Cohn 2006