“The most important game you will ever play will happen on the 4 inch ‘field’ between your ears”
That is something one of my all-time favourite coaches used to say back in Highschool, even though it has been years since I have seen him those words are have always stuck with me.
Your mind can be your greatest enemy or your greatest ally, it’s up to you; and what you let it become can be the deciding factor between a good performance and a great performance. Mental toughness like many other skills in life, can be learned and must be continuously reinforced if we don’t want to lose it. However, it is extremely difficult to teach. Coaches, mentors and peers can help us work towards it but mental toughness is something we need to develop from within and it an ongoing process that we cannot build overnight.
When I decided to do this post I thought back to past events when I felt as mentally prepared as possible and tried to remember what I did to get myself there. After several days thinking it over, it came down to 4 things that to me are the pillars of mental toughness.
3. Composure Under Pressure
Our beliefs act as ‘filters’ for our brain and they can dictate the information we process by determining what we consider to be important information. “Knowing” you can do something is one of the first steps to accomplishing it, while “knowing you can’t” is a belief that often precedes failure. What this means is that our beliefs are self-fulfilling and we often put mental limitations on ourselves even though we are physically 100% capable.
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