5 Mental Mistakes Athletes Make at the Gym
Athletes who love to work out are constantly shadowed by obstacles they cannot shake! Most likely they will not achieve their workout goals because they are not preparing themselves mentally for the many challenges ahead.
That’s the view of leading sports therapist Carla Lundblade, an elite skills analyst and clinical therapist who works with some of the country’s top professional sports stars and celebrities from her practice in Beverly Hills. She believes athletes who are happy and healthy are taking better measures to coach themselves psychologically.
“Sports psychologists and therapists have studied MRI scans which show how important emotions and mental imagery are to the physical gift of an athlete,” Lundblade said. “The brain is naturally negative and will operate on a subconscious level. That’s why mental brain training is so crucial to athletes. We train the brain to automatically replace the negativity – and it works!”
The challenges facing most athletes include:
Feeling fragile / low self-confidence: This is a problem that has everything to do with mental skills training and requires regular positive reinforcement coaching.
Fear of failure / loss of social approval: Athletes are highly affected by what other people think of them and their performance. “I’ve seen athletes quit due to the fear of losing, it’s a travesty,” Lundblade said.
High expectations: Putting too high an expectation on themselves and not achieving their own goals is another reason athletes have low self esteem. Lundblade says a small hiccup can plague a whole sporting career. “When we have a bad experience a mental block is developed. We can train the brain to associate the right image to overcome this.”
Perfectionism: No one is perfect, and having the ability to move forward and accept failure is critical. “Most top sports achievers will tell you their performance is either ‘perfect’ or ‘awful.’ There is no in between. Athletes need coaching to deal with failure and repackage it to their benefit.”
Trust: This is more to do with not trusting themselves than others, Lundblade explained. “The reason may be down to what they are doing off the field that no one knows about, which will overflow into their performance. They may be feeling stressed and to relieve that stress will go out partying. Alcohol and drug use is a common way to relieve stress right away. However, an athlete then becomes preoccupied worrying about how this will affect his or her gift. It causes a breach of trust within themselves thus lowering self confidence.”
“A great hallmark for every athlete is a desire to improve himself/herself. Athletes can incorporate brain training techniques very quickly,” Lundblade said. “The bottom line is that mental skills training makes better athletes and will give them a competitive edge.”