Dr Mike Martin is a Performance Psychologist with the NSW Institute of Sport. His passion is supporting athletes to “get their head in the game” so that they can see the fruits of their hard work come to light in the pressure cooker of international competition.
From the Expert | Psychology
In the middle of preparations for the European competition season, around late March, an athlete knocked on my door, still dripping with sweat from the gym.
“I know we’ve never caught up before but if I can really deliver during this next tour, I’ll make the national team” she said.
“I’m training well, but I’m really not that confident. I’m really not sure I can deliver when it matters.
“Can you help?”
More discussion with this athlete quickly revealed that her competition focus needed to shift. During competition she typically had thoughts like
“I really don’t want to let me team down”,
“I hope the selectors think I’m doing well”,
“I can’t make any mistakes”.
While this athlete’s thoughts were around her performance and the outcome; they weren’t specifically about what she needed to do to perform well.
During our discussion she reshaped her thoughts to focus far more intently on what she needed to do in her role – thinking instead
“run into space”,
“call loudly” and
“scan for options”.
Over the next few weeks at training this athlete proved the effectiveness of these new, specific, performance-focused thoughts. Armed with her new mindset she headed confidently off to Europe. It was the athlete’s concentration that was affecting her confidence. And once she reshaped what she was concentrating on her confidence skyrocketed.
How about you?
Do you need to tweak what you are concentrating on?
Remember it’s concentration that leads to confidence.