Mental conditioning may be just what you need to enhance your performance in every sphere of life. Consider the benefits — improved concentration and focus, controlled emotions and stress free confidence in the face of challenges.
Mental conditioning is broadly based on four core techniques: relaxation, imagery, goal setting and positive thinking. Most often the practice of these techniques individually or collectively come under an umbrella term that we are all familiar with… ” Meditation”.
The Yogis and masters of old had it all figured out a long time ago — whether it was Martial Arts, competitive sports or the quest for enlightenment, there has always been a huge emphasis on meditation for mental fortitude. There is nothing mysterious or magical about its effects. The strength, confidence and focus one gets from a clear mind is something that cannot be ignored and it seeps into everything we do, right from how we treat our peers and make decisions, to how we react under preassure.
A lot of uninformed people think of it as “mumbo jumbo”, but meditation has a solid base in science. There is nothing religious about it and if done right, you will feel its effects from the very first time you do it. Everything from yoga and its “mudras” (finger positions) to the sounds you make while meditating to “open your chakras” and the way you breathe tie in together beautifully once you get the hang of clearing your mind and meditating. The only way to understand what I’m talking about is to actually step in and start that endless journey to wellness. I will try to break it down into steps just to give you an idea of how this helps you before a game/meeting/fight.
Setting goals can increase your motivation, provide you with a sense of challenge and help you determine what you can and can’t control. Combine long-term and short-term goals related to your personal best or the actions you must take to meet your objectives. Keep the goals realistic and manageable.
Imagery can be a powerful tool for increasing confidence and has a surprisingly strong influence on actual performance. Picture yourself doing your activity — dressed as you would be, hearing what you might hear and smelling what you might smell. Feel your muscles. Sense your emotions. Imagine yourself moving with confidence and skill. Let distracting thoughts or feelings float away. If you see yourself doing something incorrectly, switch gears. Replay the image in your mind exactly as you want it to happen. The confidence and subliminal motor skill co-ordination you gain from these mental rehearsals can help you stay on top of your game when it really counts.
Simple relaxation techniques can help you relieve anxiety and tension to improve concentration and focus. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths (breathe in deeply and take twice as long to exhale) before your performance to prepare for what you’re about to do. Slow down. Stay calm. Focus on what’s happening now, rather than the past or possible upsets or mistakes. Clear your mind. Hold onto that clarity.
Negative thoughts can get in the way of concentration and confidence. Mantras such as “Don’t miss this shot” or “Don’t mess up your footwork” may only cause you to do the very thing you were trying to avoid. Instead, remind yourself that you can do it. Keep your mind positive while competing. If you make an error, consider it a simple reminder that your focus is off. Concentrate on what you’re doing right, stay calm, focus on the present and improve your performance.
At Combat Kinetics we place a lot of emphasis on clear minds and we work your mind as hard as we do your body. Step in for a trial class and let us put you in a meditative state after one of our high intensity sessions. You will have to experience the power and calmness of a focused mind for yourself to understand it fully. Give it a couple of weeks and I guarantee you will see a change in your attitude, the way you handle stress and problems and your outlook on life itself. Sounds great? What does it feel like? Only one way to find out!