I’ve always had a bit of a problem with self confidence, especially in any physical activity. I’ve never seen myself as “sporty”. Most of my experiences with sports when I was younger ended up being spoiled by bullies, or just marred by a lack on interest in motivating and encouraging anyone who wasn’t “naturally sporty” by teachers. By the time I was a teenager I’d pretty much elevated avoiding sports to an art form, and no one ever told me whether I was good or bad at it anyway.
As an adult, I love this stuff, but I struggle to see myself as a sporty person, and still secretly think people are laughing behind their hands at my feeble attempts to run, or skate, or lift weights. Way back in 2012 I was talking about that little negative voice that starts in my head when running, and I’ve had full on panic attacks during skills assessments at Roller Derby where I feel I’m being “judged”.
Over the years I’ve tried a variety of things to keep me focused, calm me down and help me get through skills assessments, or just round a training run without bursting into tears, so today I thought I’d share a few that have worked for me!
Because I do love an app!
iPerformance is an app that has you complete an assessment so you can see where your weaknesses are. I, for instance, have good commitment and attentional control, but I pretty much suck at composure and energy regulation. The app then provides you with some exercises to help you control these elements. It also has a section for you to record Game Day rituals.
Get Psyched is an app I found particularly useful to use before practice, or before a game. It takes you step by step through a “reframing” procedure, where you can take your fears and negative feelings about your performance and turn them into something positive, and also take away a positive action that you can take if you start to suffer during a game or session to bring your focus back to a positive performance.
Headspace isn’t sports specific, but it’s a really excellent app containing mindfulness meditations that can help with anxiety. Each one is around 10 minutes long and can be really useful to use when you are stressed and distracted.
This was sent to me recently, and I’m still working through it. It’s a really useful book as it contains practical exercises and makes you consider your motivations and goals. It’s great for really focusing on what it is you want out of your sport, or your exercise routine.
I found this book more wordy, and less practical than the workbook above, but still a really great read with some good mental techniques for getting the best out of yourself and focusing under pressure and short exercises that you can do to help. I have this one on my kindle and dip into it often.
Wanting to get the best out of yourself and perform well isn’t just for people who are running half marathons in 75 minutes or performing at world class levels. The techniques in these books can be just as helpful in helping you run an 11 minute mile instead of a 12 minute mile, get an extra lap on your 27 in 5 endurance tests at Roller Derby or finally make it across the monkey bars for the first time (yay me!)
I’m interested, do you have any apps, books, or websites that are great for upping your mental game?