Becoming a Mentally Tough Athlete
Let’s define what mental toughness means for you.
Some examples from other ski racers are…
Endurance: Going one month without missing a workout.
Proactive: Being ready for a competition 2 days ahead of schedule.
Review: Taking a ½ hour to review your practice and competition everyday for a week.
Consistency: Do it every day.
Focus: Keep your attention on the long-term goals and outcomes
Attitude toward setbacks: Complications, unintended side effects, and complete failures are all part learning. Mitigate the damage and learn the lessons from your past failures. They will help you in the future.
Patience: Don't expect results immediately or rush things to completion. Anything worthwhile takes consistent effort.
Control: You are in control of your actions and emotions. Realize that your strength is in your ability to control the way you respond to what is happening.
Write out the characteristics and the actions that you want on you list. You will need to have a clear understanding of your strengths and weaknesses
Building mental toughness with small victories.
Mental toughness is not about how we respond in a race but rather, how you show up and practice everyday. Mental toughness is like a muscle. It needs to be worked to grow and develop. Decide to show up early and get the first run on the course. Choose to do the extra training when it would be easier to do the same as everyone else. Prove to yourself that you have the grit to do more than what is asked of you.
Build strong habits and quit habits that are not in your best interest.
Mental toughness is also about being aware of your actions and the positive and negative effects that they create. It’s about building the positive daily habits and pruning everything else that does not contribute. Review your habits and behaviors that interfere with your goals. Commit to habits that allow you to overcome challenges and distractions.
Becoming a mentally tough athlete takes practice and commitment. It requires pruning your bad habits and constructing new habits and action to replace the old ones.