Developing a High Performance Lifestyle (part 1 - avoiding burnout) By Jimmy Yoo, MA Sport Psychology As a mental skills coach at SPINw, I help athletes attain a consistent high performance mindset through sport psychology techniques like focus, goal setting, visualization. A high performance mindset is not something that is turned on one minute and off the next. It is more consistent than that. Therefore, I help athletes dedicate everyday to a high performance lifestyle, both on and off the field. Lifestyle can be defined as "the typical way of life of an individual, group, or culture." It's basically your habits - how you do things under pressure. Some of my athletes are professionals, who make a living at playing sports. But most are only part-time athletes, who are also students, parents, performing artists, doctors, teachers, etc., and often many of these. It's good to bring your “A-Game” everyday - not necessarily that you will win every time at everything, but that you consistently perform at a high level. Anyone can benefit from developing a high performance lifestyle, both on and off the field. This doesn’t mean perfection: that in every moment of your life, you are competing to be the best at everything you do, like being being the best student, athlete, or employee at all times. This type of focus is not ideal because you are constantly comparing yourself to others. This type of focus is out of your control. If you are too focused on comparing yourself to others, being the best, being perfect, you are not focusing on the necessary skills and strategies to effectively perform the task at hand. To achieve a high performance mindset each day, it is important to focus on the little things that [...]
Come join us at Evolution Healthcare and Fitness in SE Portland on February 28th at 5pm for a mental game workshop. (Click here to register) How many times have you heard someone tell you what a huge component the mental game is in your particular sport? Well, they were right! You spend hours each week training your body to perform at it's highest level. But how do you prepare your mind? The mental game often separates the good athletes from the great ones, and the great ones from the elite. This workshop will address confidence, mental toughness, focus, and more, to help you perform up to your potential when the pressure is on. As the Director of SPINw here in Portland, Brian works with athletes and teams of all ages and skills levels on the mental game. He is excited to bring these sport psychology techniques to the athletes at Evolution! Copies of his workbook for athletes, The Sports Mindset Gameplan, will be available at a discounted rate to participants. (Click here to register)
Recently I was interviewed by ex-NFL player Isaac Byrd on his Unlocking the Minds of Athletes podcast. Isaac does great job interviewing professionals in the field, and I was honored to be a part of it. Check it out here. Quote: Henry Ford…Anything being possible 2 things to listen for: 1st, Brian talks about the importance of having awareness that a strong mentality is just as important as a strong body and 2nd, he mentions 3 key components to be aware of that will immediately help your mental-game. Scenario: He details certain techniques athletes can use to keep a strong and positive mindset when dealing with a major injury. Training Round: He talks about a technique he teaches his athletes called ‘Filtered Listening’ and he goes into great detail about what that is and how you can use it in any sport.
The race was going great until I smashed the final hurdle. In an instant, my focus went from the finish line ahead to the clatter of the downed obstacle, the gasp of the crowd, and my stumbling effort to right myself as the other racers sailed by. A moment prior, looking past the hurdle had shifted my focus only a few seconds into the future. But itwas distraction enough to pull my awareness away from the here and now; away from the cadence I needed to clear that oneâ€¦ lastâ€¦ hurdle. By briefly and unwittingly shifting attention away from the present moment, I had ripped defeat from the jaws of victory.Enter Mindfulness.Once again, hindsight proves 20/20. My collegiate competition days now behind me,I have since learned quite a bit about the value of something called â€œmindfulnessâ€in sport and many other contexts. There are various definitions of mindfulness, but Iparticularly like Ronald Siegelâ€™s description of it as â€œawareness of the present momentwith acceptance.â€ It fits well with what athletes have to say about being in â€œflow,â€ andfostering â€œpeak experience.â€Mindfulness practices have proven to be very effective for coping with anxiety, reducing depression, increasing happiness, and even managing addictive behaviors. But what dothey have to do with sport performance? Well, in my experience with many athletes frommany sports, mindfulness can help improve focus, make performance more consistent,reduce distraction, and even help athletes attain more enjoyment of their event. Often, these are the very factors that mean the difference between success and failure on thefield or court.Strengthening your mindfulness â€œmuscleâ€Mindfulness practices are many and varied. I like to think of them as a family of skills. As an athlete, you know that honing a skill requires practice, and [...]
Paddy's Psychology Check out these quotes from 3-time Major Champion Padraig Harrington about sport psychology. Ask yourself if you agree, disagree, and why. "It ain't rocket science what they, [sport psychologists] tell you." "It's not going to be some big secret that nobody else but me knows. But knowing it and having the discipline to follow it are two different things." "You rarely learn from winning...when something is painful, you tend to learn a lot more from it." "I'm more likely to get into the zone when I'm nervous and have adrenaline going." "Things like 'inside the present' or plenty of 'respect your routine' or 'acceptance' and 'patience, no judging, no analyzing, [are important sport psychology skills].'" Good stuff here from Paddy. The first two quotes tell us a lot about the skills sport psychology teaches us. Much of it is not an abstract, new-age concept that's hard to grasp. Skills like staying positive and visualizing our goals are pretty straightforward - but, like Paddy makes clear, there's a difference between KNOWING and DOING. It's important to rehearse and practice the mental game skills we've learned. The third quote while painful, can ring true - it is in our tough times, in our defeats, when we can learn much about ourselves and our mental game. Acceptance here is key - the nonjudgmental observation of our mental game in order to objectively see ourselves, our skills, and our challenges and areas for improvement. The fourth quote demonstrates a concept in sport psychology known as the Yerkes-Dodson Law. Basically, it says that humans do their best at performance-related tasks (like sports!) with a certain amount of anxiety - not too little, or we're bored, and not too [...]