August 8, 2003, Newsletter Issue #82: Conquer Your Inner Space

Tip of the Week

Mental Toughness Training For Sports, Dr. Jim Loehr

“Mental Toughness, The Last Frontier of Sport”

“The mind, in attempting to understand itself, is faced with the situation in which the object to be understood, the human mind, and that which must understand, the mind, or of equal complexity.”

The key to sport now is teaching and controlling the dimension of mental toughness.

Mental Toughness is learned, not inherited. Vital mental skills are:

1. Self-motivated and self-directed
2. Positive but realistic
3. In control of one’s emotions
4. Calm and relaxed under fire
5. Highly energetic and ready for action
6. Determined
7. Mentally alert and focused
8. Doggedly self-confident
9. Fully responsible

Your inner strength makes the difference…you will always be your own toughest opponent

Here is the formula for success:

1. Self-discipline—decide what it is you want and take action
2. Self-control—control what you think and how you react
3. Self-confidence—believe in yourself
4. Self-realization—become the best you can be

“Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
John Wooden, Former Legendary UCLA B Ball Coach

How to think about challenges and adversity:

1. Challenges will bring out greatness—no challenges, no greatness
2. Choose the way a challenge affects me, esp. in competition
3. To become a good competitor, I must become a good problem solver
4. Never lose—simply run out of time before I solve the problem
5. The right emotional response to the problem is 75% of the solution
6. Everyone is mentally tough when there are no challenges—challenges are a true test of emotional skills
7. When you think you’ve exhausted all options to the problem, you know you haven’t
8. To love competition, you must love solving problems
9. Be at your best emotionally, when the problems are at their worst
10. Get good at turning problems into opportunities during competition
11. We all need practice at challenges

From Mindfulness to Flow

IPS is fundamentally tied to the fact that when we achieve the right focus, when we are properly mindful of what we are doing, awareness and action emerge.

The Right Focus and Its Effects

The goal is a one pointed form of concentration so complete that a total loss of self-consciousness occurs in the act of focusing. This leads to a state called passive concentration, a state of auto mental focus. Contrasted to active concentration, a state of actively trying to focus on your target.

Concentration Strategies During Play

If you are concentrating and performing well, don’t think about concentration. Just perform. Otherwise,

1. Check your energy level
2. Become completely calm and quiet inside
3. Focus your attention to the target. Be totally attentive and mindful as you act—this will spontaneously lead to an effortless and automatic focus (passive), your ultimate goal
4. Actively focus your attention to the present moment, not the past or future
5. Keep your eyes very controlled during play—this will help to keep you mentally on target

12 Aspects of the Ideal State During Competition

1. physically relaxed
2. mentally calm
3. low anxiety—pressure free
4. energized—positive energy
5. optimistic
6. enjoyment
7. effortless
8. automatic
9. alert
10. mentally focused—inner calm
11. self-confident
12. in control

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of our exploring will be to arrive at the beginning and know that place for the first time.” ts eliot

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