“What does it mean to have mental toughness?” 

“What does it mean to have mental toughness?” 

There are many definitions of what mental toughness means.  I am focused on what it means through the eyes of the athletes I work with.  So, I believe mental toughness is the fire that keeps burning inside you when you take that next step, even when you may have doubts and fears that you can’t.  By overcoming difficult competitive situations, you are facing your doubts and fears head on. That leads to an increase in mental toughness every time you face these situations.  My experience is that mental toughness is on a spectrum that can change; it is a constant conditioning process. As athletes, our level of mental conditioning can help determine our physical athletic performance.  


Ashley Relf
Performance Coach
Train Compete Get Faster
www.traincompetegetfaster.com

Why do I get in the way of my own success?

 Why do I get in the way of my own success?

As a performance coach, helping athletes figure out the “why” is such an invaluable tool.   When I can provide athletes with tools and strategies to help them take ownership and control of their own performances in practice and competition I am providing them with ways to combat getting in the way of their own successes. 

Pain tolerance is a common “why” struggle I see with many of the running and triathlon athletes that I work with and the endurance community that surrounds me.  They tend to have the misconception that if you get faster you don’t feel as much pain, but that’s not entirely true.  Yes, if you’re faster you hurt for less time, but really what these athletes have is a different relationship with pain.  They know when they are in so called “pain”, they are exactly where they need to be and this is what it feels like to embrace it.  They not only practice physically, but they mentally practice having a better relationship with their pain tolerance. 

Mental strength training can help athletes develop a better relationship with their pain tolerance.  For example, reframing is a great tool that can help with this.  Reframing is an athlete’s ability to look at an event or situation from a different perspective.  You can use reframing to ease the pain.  Instead of thinking about how tired you are, or how much discomfort you are feeling, you can reframe your thoughts by telling yourself this is exactly what you should be feeling and that it will allow you to reach success.  In time, you will begin to see pain tolerance as your friend.   

 

 

Mental Strength Training, it's necessary!

Mental Strength Training, it's necessary!

Growing up as a competitive 2 x USA youth national championship gymnast, I realized the importance firsthand of mental strength training during my daily 6-hour practices. 

Here are two mental strength techniques that athletes and myself included find necessary during both training and competition. 

①    Mantras: a word or phrase to help you stay focused, concentrating on being in the here and now, and keeping you in the moment. e.g. “Keep Calm and Carry On”, “Reset, Refocus and Commit”

②    Mental Rehearsal (Imagery): to build on strengths and help eliminate weaknesses by re-creating important details of your sport setting. e.g. If you tend to let distractions get in the way, imagine yourself staying relaxed and focused in the presence of those distractions.  

Remember, these take practice, practice, practice and more practice!  And of course you have to do the physical work in your sport.