SportStars Magazine

Rise and Grind. Beating the Mental Grind Game

Rise and Grind. Beating the Mental Grind Game

It’s mid-season. You are grinding through five-plus days per week of practice and games. You’re getting physically exhausted, and mentally you may be slipping into negative thinking as you try to keep up with all the sport and academic demands. How do you beat the mental grind game?

Here’s a list of very common mid-season mental struggles:

>>Finding balance between school, sport, and social life

>>Feeling tired and sore from daily practice

>>Feeling the mid-season “blahs” = lazy work ethic

>>Frustrated with wanting more playing time

>>Managing injuries that have cropped up earlier in the season

>>Frustrated with a difficult team environment (teammates, coaches and/or parents)

Sound familiar? There are many strategies that can help you successfully work through the mid-season grind.

Remember, your physical and mental game go hand-in-hand, if your struggling mentally, it’s tough to dominate physically.

Try these mental training strategies to help you (and your team) Mental Grind Game and get through your season successfully:

>>Check your self-talk — If you’re thinking too much about being tired, sore or frustrated, you need to change it up and get out of your head. Focus on the simple instructions, one drill at a time.  (e.g., “dig!” “accelerate” “look, pass”)

>>Refocus your attention — When you think too much, your attention is stuck inside your body. Get your head and eyes up and pay extra attention to the external game (the ball, the setter, see a route around through the defense).

>> Build your game confidence all week long — Start your week by setting your health goals (sleep, diet, hydration), practice goals (“play with intensity” “talk on defense”), game goals (“complete 80 percent of passes.”).

Mental toughness is a must have resource to get through the mid-season mental grind game.

Always remember, a strong mental day allows you to physically dominate on game day.

Erika Westhoff is a certified mental trainer and owner of Excellence in Sports Performance in Pleasanton.

Image courtesy Gold Athlete Mag where you’ll find another good post on the subject, called the Brain Game.

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