Now that we've established what it means to be an athlete and we've gone over the first three mental mental skills needed to be an athlete, we continue on to our next three skills listed in the article by Dr. Jack J Lesyk, "The Nine Mental Skills of Successful Athletes".
4. People Skills
Athletes are usually effective communicators. Whether it's communicating thoughts and feelings or communicating on the field, they are efficient. They understand how to convey their thoughts and how to make people listen.
Being able to communicate your wants, needs, likes and dislikes is important not just in fitness, but in life. I'm a huge believer that you teach people how to treat you. Part of being able to teach, is being able to effectively communicate.
I see this a lot with parents trying to fit a fitness routine in to their lives. You have to be able to set boundaries and demand time from loved ones in order to take care of yourself. It is difficult, but most definitely necessary.
This one is huge guys. You should talk to yourself like you would your best-friend. Would you tell your best friend that they were fat, lazy, not good enough? No, you wouldn't. In healthy friendships, you build each other up. You'd tell your best friend how awesome they are, how proud you are of them, or a plethora of other positive things. So why should you be talking to yourself any differently.
The talk that goes on in your mind is directly reflected in your behavior. If you tell yourself that you're weak, lazy, not good enough, then that's what you'll be. Conversely, if you're telling yourself how strong you are, or that you're motivated or what a bad-ass you are, then this is what you'll be.
I know a lot of people think of daily affirmations as a waste of time or even cheesy. But I'm here to tell you they work. Every morning, I sit with my coffee and read affirmations. It has improved my life dramatically. I use two apps: Daily Affirm and I Am. Both are wonderful and allow me to start my day feeling powerful, driven and positive. I you are not currently doing this, I highly recommend you add it to your morning routine.
6. Mental Imagery
Athletes use mental imagery in a variety of ways. Before a heavy lift, they imagine themselves performing the lift. They're imagining form, how the lift will feel and how winning will feel. It is a powerful tool in giving yourself an image in your mind of how success will feel and look like.
These skills are so important in shifting your mindset to that of an athlete. Something I touch on a lot in my writing is the mental portion of fitness. Whether it's initially getting into a routine, sticking with it, going for that heavier weight or shaving time off of your 1 mile run time, what goes on in your mind will determine your success.