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Commit to an Athlete’s Winning Mindset

Posted 4/22/2016 by UHBlog

Being mentally tough starts with a sound body. We can help.

Commit to an Athlete’s Winning Mindset

When Yogi Berra said, “Baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical,” he only got the math wrong. Athletes need the right mindset to make the leap from pretenders to contenders.

“All successful athletes must make the mental commitment to a rigorous training regime, eating a proper diet, getting enough rest and working on their muscle balance, tone and flexibility,” says family medicine specialist Robert Truax, DO. “Without this mental toughness, odds of success go way down.”

How can you make sure your brain matches your brawn in competitive sports? According to Dr. Truax, you want to develop:

  • Mental toughness – “Competitive athletes never compromise, cut corners or are distracted when preparing for an event,” Dr. Truax says. “If they’re not mentally ready to work to their ultimate level, they’re cheating themselves. A serious competitor knows that winning takes a lot of work, toughness, focus and intensity.”
  • Perseverance – No matter how hard you prepare for a competition, you might have an off day. Winning athletes know that a defeat or poor workout is just a blimp on the screen – and they rebound quickly.
    “Athletes who are mentally focused don’t let negative outcomes define them,” he says. “They have a deep and resilient belief in their abilities.”
  • An appreciation of your physical limitations – Bodies age and no matter how rigorous the training, you have to be mentally prepared that between the ages of 35-40, your body will change, causing your:
    • Muscles to shrink
    • Ligaments to tighten up
    • Endurance to drop off
    • Injuries to take longer to heal
    Competitive athletes have to acknowledge these biological limitations and adjust their training regiments accordingly, Dr. Truax says.
  • The ability to move on – “Fear of failure can defeat athletes more than competitors,” he says. “Strong athletes have the mental ability to quickly recover from any mistakes they make and get their mind and body back into the game.”
  • Good sleep habits – From Olympic athletes to high school soccer players, the need for a good night’s sleep is essential for mental acuity and physical health.
    “The mind needs to rest and good sleep hygiene pays dividends during competition,” Dr. Truax says.
  • A balanced approach – All athletes need to be true competitors, but this instinct shouldn’t jeopardize your health. Common sense should overrule senseless behavior. You shouldn’t push yourself to the limit, especially if you have a stress fracture or other debilitating injury, Dr. Truax says.

According to Dr. Truax, being mentally prepared will help you achieve a focused, confident and trusting mindset, allowing you to compete at your highest level.

“The body achieves what the mind believes,” he says.

Robert Truax, DO is a family medicine specialist. You can request an appointment with Dr. Truax or any other University Hospitals doctor online. You can also request an appointment with any UH Connor Integrative Health Network provider online.

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