By Barbara Greene
Good athletes make performance at the plate look easy, yet athletes know that making performance look effortless doesn’t come easy. Successful athletes have a burning desire to continue to grow in their sport by addressing everything in an interdisciplinary fashion, leaving no stone unturned to positively impact performance. The goal is for all elements to unite and help the athlete attain peak performance and maintain consistency at that level.
Focused athletes often work as hard during the offseason as they do during the season to continue to grow and develop in their sport. Without the pressure of competition, the offseason is the ideal time for athletes to focus on performance training, working hard to develop improved swing mechanics and having time to automate them.
Because the physical and the mental are always connected and working together, athletes who embrace sport psychology can experience powerful performance gains. In baseball, athletes encounter performance issues at the plate or on the field. Many people assume performance issues are purely physical, and yet the performance issues most likely stem from anxiety, frustration, lack of focus, lack of motivation or other mental performance blocks that have gone into override and are negatively impacting the physical skills the athlete worked so hard to attain.
Athletes can fully utilize the offseason to grow physical and mental skills together so they can enjoy a season of strong and consistent performance. Just as athletes train and condition their bodies for peak performance, they can train and condition their minds. Knowing how to quickly work through frustration and anxiety within a game, as well as having the ability to be mentally tough during intense moments gives an athlete a huge advantage and often the competitive edge during pivotal moments in sports.
Consistency is a big deal in sports. Athletes who achieve the balance of physical and mental skills tend to have long and successful careers. Michael Jordan spent endless hours perfecting his physical game in addition to committing time to work on his mental game, too. He had an understanding that “mental skills are what separate the good players from the great players.” (Link to Michael Jordan Video ow.ly/ejTIJ.) Building stronger swing mechanics as well as mental skills during the offseason is a powerful 1-2 punch that helps players physically and mentally make fast adjustments at the plate, reach peak performance, and have a strong season of performance.
Barbara Greene is a sports performance consultant with Pure Performance Inc. in Atlanta. She can be reached at 404-729-6326 or via email at BarbaraAGreene@aol.com.