How Important is Mindset in Sports? Ask the G.O.A.Ts


Michael, which were you more proud of:
your athletic skills or the mental skills that you brought to the game and
which was more difficult to keep up? To be a complete basketball player that you try to become you know. So, physically was a little bit easier but the mental part is this the hardest part and I think that’s the part that separates the good players from the great players. Be ready for anything and
everything. I think that the pressure seemed to affect me more than it affected him. One of the things that has been good for me, I think, besides training has been my sort of mental
preparation. When you have that kind of powerful brain stuff going I think it
translates into performance. The added benefit of visualizing all of
these different scenarios, is the confidence gained from knowing he has a
plan for everything. Bowman’s computer analogy is apt because the different reactions are programmed into Phelps’s mind he doesn’t have to worry about adapting on the day of a competition and instead can focus on being the best athlete he can in the present. His mental self-reliance may be his biggest strength. So, what’s mental,
maybe 95% of it. Normally, you know, because I can’t be more strong or more
well prepared than I already am right now So, but to think that I can be
more confident, you know. So, I try to visualize myself getting out
of certain positions or if I have any last tune-up
that I need to do on my game plan I ask my coaches and stuff. So,
nothing is really physical right now. Is being an Olympic champion physical or mental? Both, I think both. How much does the mental part play in? A lot. I’ve seen I’ve seen a lot of athletes under pressure, like
really under pressure. I remember the last Olympics my teammate, Yohan Blake,
we were in training. We laugh, we joke, we have fun and you got to the Olympic finals. I lost to him at the trials and I got to the Olympic finals and you could see the nerves in his face. I was like “Yo let’s go do some more straddles.” and he was like “No, I’m alright” and I’m like “Why?” and he’s like “Yo, I’m alright I’m saving my energy.” I’m like “Save your energy for the 100 meters!” He’s like “What are you talking about?” But he was so nervous he couldn’t handle the pressure so mentally, it plays a lot. To make it at Michigan, Brady needed someone to help him unlock and clear his mind. By his junior year Brady had won the starting job. Still, he continued to meet with Harden. He was in the office every week. He would show up Friday before a game every game and sit and prepare himself mentally. Remember, we’re talking about a 20 year old guy. This guy was hungry to be the best. He was trainable, coachable, and hungry. He He has mastered his insecurities and his his fears in brief moments. He has learned to silence the noise and
the clutter in order to focus like a laser beam on the task at hand. “Tom Brady launches a 60-yard bomb!” “Put it in the bank; it’s gaining interest.” “The Patriots are going back to the Super Bowl!” He was able to wrestle with whatever demons he might have had… in pursuit of perfection.
“Brady fires it to the right down the right sideline and caught at the 20, 15, 10,
touchdown for Tom Brady! Touchdown pass number 50, an NFL record!”
Brady hasn’t played at Michigan in over
a decade, but the mindset he adopted there while trying to win the starting job remains with him to this day. When you’re a competitive athlete you learn very quickly how strong you are or how athletic you are. All of those things, but it could very well be that there’s a lot of people who have an equally as good a body as you have. It performs just as well, theirs is as muscular, let’s say in bodybuilding there’s exactly the same kind of proportions and all of those things. So, the question really is: What puts you over the top? It is the mind that really creates the body. It’s the mind that makes you really work out to four or five hours a day. It is the mind that visualizes of what the body ought to look like as the finished product. You get to get up and say “I want to be a champion! And I’ll do whatever it takes. The amount of hours it takes, the posing, the this, the that, the visualization, looking at training footage, looking at motivational books, reading this. Whatever it takes, I would do.” That’s the answer I want to hear from you. You can detect right away those that are going to be shaky and that will fall behind and they will not go all the way and those that are very hungry and that hunger you have to develop because you have to create a goal for yourself whatever that may be. A short-term goal and a long-term goal and you gotta go after that. If you do not see it and if you do not believe it who else will? The body is very important, but the mind is more important than the body. We have to visualize what the body ought to look like in order to make it
win because that’s what creates them The Will. The Will that you need to go to the gym every day. The Will that makes you go and do four sprints. The Will that makes you go beyond then you do your 500lb reps and then squats and you can’t
do another rep and your body is shaking. It’s The Will that makes you go one more
time down and struggle up one more time. So, it’s all of this of the mental
aspect that motivates you and it makes the difference between you being in the
gym full of joy and looking forward to doing that extra rep and looking forward
to doing those extra hundred reps and the sit ups and working past the pain
barriers. That’s always the mind, it’s not the body. So, this is why I think the body
is very important, but the mind is more important than the body.

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