By Laura G. Farres, Ph.D., Ch. P.C.
Every individual can learn to use their mental GIFTS to optimize their focus and ultimately their performance. The more the GIFTS are used, the more they give back and contribute to performance consistency.
The aim for athletes is to learn to integrate their mental GIFTS into everyday practice so that their strategies become part of their routine.
Goals give individuals something to work toward. If they are used properly, they give direction, motivation and focus.
Here are some suggestions for integrating goals into practice:
Imagery helps individuals learn new skills, and refine and prepare for pressure situations. Positive images also help develop confidence and belief.
Here are some suggestions for integrating imagery into practice:
Feelings and emotions are a big part of performance. Individuals can learn how to make their feelings work for them as opposed to against them.
Here are some suggestions for integrating feelings into practice:
The things individuals say to themselves can help them focus or can distract them and make them lose focus.
Here are some suggestions for integrating thoughts into practice:
Performance can be supported by planning and preparing properly leading up to and during the performance.
Here are some suggestions for integrating support into practice:
Your mental strategies need to become as familiar to you as your physical skills and therefore need to be integrated in to what you do on a daily basis. Also, there are numerous strategies that you can do outside of practice that can enhance your mental game as well.
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