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When you play sports, it’s easy to think that you’re facing a physical battle. Whether you’re trying with all your might to hit a home run or you’re pushing your body to the limits as you race across the finish line – it’s always physically demanding.
But, what we also forget is how mentally demanding the world of sports is as well. In many ways, the mental side of sports is the key to success or failure. The way you approach things mentally can set up how you perform physically. The best way to explain this is by looking at a few of the critical mental battles you face when playing any sport.
Problems with your confidence are the most common mental battle you’ll face in sports. Even when you play for a local team with your friends, you experience confidence dips. When you’re low on confidence, you doubt everything that you do. No matter how physically impressive you are, your brain just can’t get you to make the right decisions, and your form dips. But, when your confidence is up, you feel like you can do almost anything. Take Tiger Woods as an example; his confidence was in tatters as he couldn’t play the way he wanted to. But, he slowly improved, believed in himself, and won a major the other month – it’s all mental!
Dealing With Negativity
No matter what level you play at, you’ll always face negativity. Ironically, the better you get, the more negativity you face. People start to expect certain things from you, so they’re more critical. If you reach college or professional level, then you get hit with negativity from so many sources. Loads of great young athletes like Parker Sniatynski have had to deal with heaps of negativity and find ways to combat this and continue performing. Things happen, the media latches on, and your social media is filled with hurtful comments. This impacts your performance as you can’t focus properly because you’re aware of all the negativity. It gets you down, so your form dips. This happens even when you’re playing soccer in the park with friends; if someone criticizes you, you take it to heart, and you can’t play to your full potential.
So many sportsmen and women have issues handling pressure. We’ve all seen top stars who are physically fit and excel all throughout the season, but they fall at the final hurdle when the pressure gets too much. This is such a mental battle as you know how much is at stake. You crumble under pressure, and you fail to live up to your potential as you’re worried about how much you can lose. It’s so easy to see this in practice; watch any tennis match and see how a player serves when the match is beginning and when they’re just about to win. They get tight, their motion doesn’t quite flow, and the errors creep in.
You see, the mental side of sports is so important as it directly impacts your physical performance. No matter how long you practice for, if the mental demons circle in your head, then you’ve got a problem. So, if you are interested in playing competitive sports, then focus on the mental side of things above everything else/