by: Mark Salinas

Developing mental fitness is a key component for a successful training routine. At the top level it is not your physical or technical expertise which separates you from the competition but your mental toughness. To have constant growth you have to learn the ability to hold your nerve, perform under the most intense pressure, and consistently turn it on even when you don’t feel at your best. Mental toughness is what makes an individual that reaches the top of his/her “game” so special. These athletes know their real battle is not so much on the field or track, but inside their mind. It is a must that you manage your mental side if you want to maximize your efforts.

Given that mental strength is such an important trait in constant growth, it is surprising how many individuals neglect the mental side in training routines. If you are an individual that spends the majority of your training regiment on technique and fitness while paying no attention to your mental side, you are probably doing yourself a disservice. Mental skills are acquirable and you can, with practice, learn to perform mentally. “You can improve your confidence, concentration, motivation and anxiety levels if you chose to. You operate within a system…..your performance is just an outcome of how your system operates. The parts of your system are all related.”

A baseball’s player’s confidence may be affected by his technique, which may be affected by his fitness, which may be affected by his lifestyle which may be affected by his time management. It is always logical to solve the underlying causes of a problem than the symptom itself.
Increase your self-awareness during this process, so that wherever possible you find the solutions and suggest changes yourself.

Feelings will usually affect your performance. Whether you are aware of them or not, how you feel affects how you perform. Feelings are based on what you imagine and/or how you interpret from an event and not from the event itself. The message is very simple, learn how to change your interpretations and you learn how to manage your emotions. When you can manage your emotions you can perform at your best.