Last week I attended a National Team training camp held at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra. The purpose of this camp was to prepare for the Oceania Championships which are being held this weekend in Tahiti.
At the end of the last session of the camp, the national coach sat us down to brainstorm on a whiteboard all of the things that make up a successful competition experience. (NB: We did the same exercise at the training camp at Budo University, Japan earlier in the year). We came up with about 40 things all together, including included technique, explosiveness, motivation, strategy, focus etc, and there were probably more things that could have been added as well. Next, we went through everything on the board and highlighted whether we thought it was physical or mental, or both in some instances. The outcome was that the majority of the things that we, as a group, thought contributed to a successful competition performance were mental – about 70%. Yet interestingly we train the physical side of things more than 90% of the time.
It can be said, therefore, that mental preparation is vital to optimum sporting performance. Mental training needs to be practiced simultaneously with physical training. Mental strength is linked closely to concentration. In order to improve you’re your concentration, think carefully about what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it. Like any other skill, practice makes perfect. So practice your mental skills, in order to improve your competition performance.