24 March 2017
| THE HEARTBEAT OF WOMEN'S SPORT

How to clear your mind and think like a winner

December 27, 2014
clear-mind

Want to improve your sports performance? The key is to change your thinking, says Jamie Smart. Competitive sports women have a lot going on in their minds. Will I be able to beat my PB? Will that nagging injury flare up? Have I paced myself right so that I don’t run out of steam? Thoughts and worries about your performance can cloud your mind and distract you from the task at hand.

clear-mind

Just think how much more focused and improved your performance would be if you were able to clear away these nagging thoughts and focus on the race or game with complete mental clarity.

By delcuttering your mind of unhelpful thoughts such as fears about times and potential injuries, you can become more confident in your abilities and think like a winner. Sounds simple? That’s because, in a way, it is.

Change your thinking

We’ve all had a bad race or a lost game, where your mind hasn’t been in the right place or you’ve been preoccupied about that niggling injury. However, on the other hand, you’ve no doubt experienced a sports event where everything has gone brilliantly – you’ve beaten your PB, your team has won and your performance is at a peak. Your mind was no doubt clear and your focus was razor sharp. It’s this kind of clarity that is an innate capacity; a natural function of the mind.

Confidence, clarity and self-belief are something you’re born with – they are your “factory settings”. If you doubt this, spend half an hour in the company of a two-year-old! What gets in the way of this is what I refer to as “contaminated thinking”, in other words spurious mental activity arising from the mistaken belief that we’re feeling something other than the ebb and flow of thought in the moment.

Misguided ideas

All too often, athletes are given techniques, rituals and routines in the innocent but misguided idea that you can clear your mind by having more to think about. Unfortunately that’s not how it works though. The mind is a self-correcting system, which is something we’re all capable of experiencing – if we didn’t we’d still be angry about everything that’s ever annoyed us!)

While you’re already able to benefit from the mind’s self-clearing capacity, you’ll find that it works even more quickly and reliably as you start to deepen your understanding of the principles behind clarity. This is how you can begin to get in the zone, focus all your attention on the game or race and leave behind past worries about your performance. It’s this clarity of thought that will help you to beat the competition and build up your confidence and self belief.

The simple formula: “Clarity equals capacity minus contamination” can point you to your innate capacity for clarity of mind and high performance, as well as reminding you of the innocent mistake we all get tricked by from time to time. As you start seeing through the trick of the mind that has us believing our security and wellbeing can come from (or be threatened by) something other than thought in the moment, you’ll find your way back into the present moment which is the source of clarity, resilience and high performance.

Jamie Smart is an internationally renowned trainer, coach, consultant and author of the bestselling book CLARITY: Clear Mind, Better Performance, Bigger Results, priced £8.79 from Amazon.co.uk. To find out more, visit www.jamiesmart.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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