vida mind – mental conditioning – mental training – sport psychology
Australia – Melbourne – Sydney – Adelaide – Canberra – Brisbane
In the first step, you ask 2 questions that will allow you to be aware of your thoughts and your activation level. These questions are: What am I am thinking about? and How do I feel?
When assessing your feelings, you identify your activation level to regulate it if possible. If you are too activated to perform a fluid movement, then it is necessary to reduce your muscle tension in order to reach the optimal activation level. On the opposite, if your activatio level is to loo – you feel tired, flabby) then it is necessary to raise the level of activation. Here, relaxation or activation methods are very useful at this point to quickly change your energy level. The idea is to quickly adjust the best we can. However, the time needed to regulate energy is sometimes too short, and it happens that athletes do not succeed in efficiently adjusting their activation level in exceptional or unsually intense or stressful situations. In this case, the body-mind scan technique at least helps to be more aware of your extreme tension so you can adapt your movement or your strategy to cope with the situation. If you are not able to modulate your activation level, you can take it into account and adapt your actions.
Observing your thoughts at the beginning of your routine helps you to accept them, and focus on effective action. When taking into account uncontrollable thoughts (fears, doubts and beliefs that are unrelated with the sporting skill to be performed) you are able to focus your attention on elements that are relevant to good performance. This phase is very quickly done while breathing in and out: “I know I’m afraid, OK, I think of the match point”. or, “I realise that I have a lot of confidence, and I am at the T”.
In the second phase of the routine you may focus on the external conditions of your performance. First, all factors related to the opponent should be taken into account depending on the choices made before the competition. Thus, it is necessary to consider the opponent’s fitness level, his typical attacks or previous strategies. On the other hand, the parameters of the environment (weather, field, conditions, … etc.). must be also well regarded.
Being self-aware by performing a body-mind scan and asking yourself the two questions about how your feel and what you are thinking about, and being aware of the environment allows us to decide on a solution for effective action.
Strategic choice and external focus
The third phase. Decisions made during time outs, stems from the conscious consideration of all relevant parameters of your sport. The importance of these parameters is constantly changing and your skill consist of, with experience and your coach’s help, retaining the most information. In tennis for instance, the observation of the previous serves provides guidance on the type of service to come. So, decisions made during game breaks depend on external conditions, which is well known. But the decision depends mainly on your mental state at a given moment, which is usually less practiced. This is why the ‘scan’ is essential in the early routine. Indeed, faced with the same situation with the same score, in the same court and assuming that the opponent is in the same conditions, you are not necessarily in the same physical or mental state.
Decision making in action, rather than during time outs, it not related to the routine. We must distinguish the decision made before the action, when it is possible to make a quick assessment taking a few seconds, from the decision made in the moment (one shot, …) which is more automatic.
The decision that comes from the study of different choices and conditions is more easily performed when leading to an external focus of attention. An external focus of attention facilitates a more fluid and automatic execution of movements. Wherever possible, concentrating on an external (strategic) point of attention is more effective in competition than focusing on an internal and movement oriented point of attention.
Concentrating on an external (strategic) point of attention is more effective in competition than focusing on an internal and movement oriented point of attention.
If you want to improve your performance and to know more about Vida Mind, do a free session with Dr. Damien Lafont. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0435 819 262 and he will get in touch with you to schedule 45 min with you either in person or over Skype. In this free info session with him, you’ll go through what is keeping your performing at your best. You’ll know Dr Lafont, how he works and whether you are a good fit for each other.