Mind Gym by Gary Mack


One key to achieving success in sports is learning how to focus on the task and not let negative thoughts intrude. The mind can concentrate on only on thing at a time. So, rather than suppress what you don’t want to happen, you must focus on what you do want to happen or on some neutral thought. 

What we’ve learned in psychology is that actions follow our thoughts and images. The law of dominant thought says your mind is going to remember the most dominant thought. 

The mind works most effectively when you’re telling it what to do rather than what not to do. 

Learn to use your mind or your mind will use you. Actions follow our thoughts and images. Don’t look where you don’t want to go. 

You always can do mental practice, even when you are physically tired or injured. Make your images as vivid and as clear as you can. See yourself overcoming mistakes, and imagine yourself doing things well. Remember, confidence comes from knowing you are mentally and physically prepared. 

Sports psychology is the science of success. Studies show that within a group of athletes of equal ability, the who receive mental training outperform those who don’t almost every time. Mental skills, like physical skills, need constant practice. 

Under pressure you can perform fifteen percent better or worse. (Scott Hamilton)

Former Pittsburg Steelers coach Chuck Roll defined pressure as “something you feel only when you don’t know what you’re doing.”

“Nothing stands between us and success but our will to win.”

Confident athletes have a can-do attitude, a belief they can handle whatever comes their way. They almost never fall victim to self-defeating thoughts. 

Successful athletes are able to control their emotions and behavior. They focus on what they can control and don’t allow things that are out of their control to affect them. The hallmark of mentally tough athletes is the ability to maintain pose, concentration, and emotional control under the greatest pressure and the most challenging situations. 

Mentally tough athletes focus their time and energy on their goals and dreams. They are self-directed and highly motivated. 

Mentally tough athletes know how to stay focused and deal with adversity. How they manage their emotions can determine whether they win or lose. 

A mentally tough athlete must be willing to take a risk. That’s what peak performers do. 

As the philosopher said, it takes courage to grow up and to achieve your full potential. 

Mentally tough athletes posses an inner strength. They often play their best when they’re feeling their worst. They don’t make excuse. 

It is said that extraordinary people live their lives backward. They create a future, and then they live into it. 

Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off your goal. (Jim Lefebvre)

Really it comes down to your philosophy. Do you want to play it safe and be good or do you want to take a chance and be great? (Jimmy Johnson)

The bottom line is you can’t be afraid to fail. (Jerry Colangelo)

Fear of failure prevents more of us from succeeding than any opponent. 

When you’re not afraid to fail, your change of succeeding improves. 

Fear keeps people from taking risks. And sometimes the greatest risk is not to take a risk. 

Look at fear as a natural party of growing and learning. People who succeed aren’t afraid to fail. Failure can be a better teacher than winning. 

Be wiling to take a risk. Remember, there is no security in life. There is only adventure. 

Be on a mission and live your life on purpose. 

Penn State’s Joe Paterno, said, “You’ve got to believe deep inside yourself that you’re destined to do great things.”

It has been said that thoughts become words. Words become actions. Actions become habits. Habits become character. Character becomes your destiny. 

The habits of success are forged in practice. In practice you learn the art of concentration. 

Japanese baseball players have their own word for it. Mushin. Loosely translated, in means, “No mind.”

Don’t act surprised when you do something well, and when you’re struggling don’t let others know it. Maintain the warrior mentality. Stand tall even if you feel you are coming apart on the inside, and carry yourself in a confident way.