Your Mental Skills

ARTICLES / Mental Exercises

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Mental skills, one of the most important aspect of sports is often the most ignored.  We will be addressing that problem with this section and discussing your "mental toolbox" throughout the summer.  Take heed, work hard, and you will see results.  

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Unlock the Power of Your Mind

     Chapter XII - Personal Affirmations

This is the last installment in this series.  Hope everyone enjoyed it and learned something. 


Affirmations... Attitude is the key source for your top performance.  “As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind," wrote author and philosopher Henry David Thoreau.

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Unlock the Power of Your Mind

     Chapter XI - Intensity

When athletes are “flowing” or “in the zone,” they are maintaining a certain intensity level while being mindful of the moment, which helps them achieve their peak performance.  Since a direct relationship exists between performance quality and intensity level.

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Unlock the Power of Your Mind

     Chapter X - Body Language

Body language is nonverbal communication consisting of postures, gestures, facial expressions, and eye movements.  Body language is two-way process: You own body language reveals your thoughts and feelings to others. While watching a sporting event, body language is usually representative of who is winning or losing at the moment.  On race day, what is your body language saying?  What image do you want to project?

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Unlock the Power of Your Mind

     Chapter IX - Enjoyment

There’s great truth in the popular phrase that “humor is the best medicine,” or in saying that laughter is “internal jogging.”   Finding humor in difficult situation is often the best way to reduce unnecessary stress and increase motivation.

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Unlock the Power of Your Mind

     Chapter VIII - Anxiety Management

Most athletes feel anxious before and during competition.  They accept performance anxiety as perfectly normal and let it sharpen their focus.  This anxiety or excitement is proof that they, and you, care about performance and outcomes.  Of course, too much anxiety is uncomfortable and interferes with performance.

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Unlock the Power of Your Mind

      Chapter VII - Mental Toughness

Mental toughness does not entail clenching your teeth, trying harder, thinking more, straining your eyes to focus, or having someone scream, “Be tough!” at you.  Mental toughness is the ability to remain positive and proactive in the most adverse of circumstances.

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Unlock the Power of Your Mind

     Chapter VI - Breath Control

Breathing, we all do it.  We suck air in, we blow air out, and we do it automatically.  So, what do we really know?  How many of us have ever been taught to do it correctly?  

It's important.  (Read More)

Along the same line is meditation.  This tends to be a subject we shy away from, but it can be another tremendous tool in your mental arsenal.

(Check it Out)  

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Unlock the Power of Your Mind

     Chapter V -  Mental Dedication

Focus, or selective attention, is your dedication to the task at hand to the exclusion of all else.  In sports, focus requires screening out useless information (fog) to concentrate on the target, such as the bull’s-eye in archery or the line in alpine ski racing.  

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Unlock the Power of Your Mind

     Chapter IV - Self-Confidence

Sports psychology studies and anecdotal reports from winning athletes confirm that confidence is crucial for athletic success.  Specifically, self-confidence is a strong belief in one’s skills, preparation, and abilities.  Confidence in tough situation is the mark of a great athlete, regardless of sport.  In order to be successful, you must believe that you can be successful


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Unlock the Power of Your Mind

     Chapter III - Self-Talk

This is the 3rd Chapter, of the 12 in this series.  Mental skills are all important and, if you're following Wimbledon or the Tour de France, you'll hear each of these individual skills mentioned time and time, again.

Take note of the information, practice it, and put it to use.  It works!  This chapter, Self-Talk, explains... if thoughts determine feelings and feeling influence performance is the solid-gold truth, how to learn to think more positively about yourself and your game or sport.  It's universal, not just for ski racing.  

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*** Check out this article for more on Self-Talk and do the exercises... they will help!  Self-Talk - Learning to be your own best friend.

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Unlock the Power of Your Mind

     Chapter II - Mental Imagery

Mental imagery, popularly referred to as visualization, is the process of using all your senses to help with learning and developing new sports skills and strategies as well as visualization success. 


This type of mental rehearsal can be likened to learning a physical skill.  The more you deliberately practice, the better you will become at the actual task. 

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*** Once you're finish reading... come back and check out this practical exercise - The Highlight Reel

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Unlock the Power of Your Mind

The science-based mental skills presented here are proven winners for helping athletes forge the mind-set to grasp their full capabilities. 


You will recognize some of the skills: your challenge will be to master them.  You will learn several powerful new skills that you can apply to your sport, education, career, and life.  Adapt each mental skill to fix your particular need and situation.

A lot of examples use other sports to show the universality of these skills.  An important part of this training is for you to put them into a ski racing perspective.

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5 Important Mental Skills

Most sport psychologists work with athletes in an office setting (usually one hour per week,) providing them with mental tools that they can use during training and competition.  This approach makes about as much sense as a coach offering racers technical instruction in an office and then telling them to go out on the hill and work on it in training.  In either case, the transfer from inside to outside usually isn’t very effective....

... an even better setting in which racers can begin to develop their mental skills: the gym or during workouts.  Yes, using mental skills while doing strength or agility training (the two most common types of conditioning for alpine ski racers) is a great way to begin to ingrain those skills that will be of such benefit once you get on snow.

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Mental Preparation:

The Key to Race Day Success

          Doug Lewis and ELITEAM , contributor


ELITEAM believes the single most important element to success on race day, as well as during training sessions, is your mental strength.

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