Mental Abilities of Athletes

Mental Abilities of Athletes

Successful athletes leave us in awe on how they manage to win time and again. Could it be that they have some special powers? Not really. Performing well in any activity derives from your mental capabilities. These skills not only apply to athletes but also in everyday life situations.

The following are the mental skills possessed by successful athletes:

A Positive Attitude

Having a positive attitude in stressful situations helps you readily adapt or deal with problems head on. It also helps you to point out your failures and strengths. This way, you can work towards doing your best, without necessarily showing perfection. Balancing your sport with other activities helps you create a positive perception towards your sport.


Successful athletes do not beat themselves up because of failures despite the hard work they put into practice. They realize that participation and showing improvement matters more than acquiring the awards. They persevere through the tough moments even if it doesn’t yield positive results instantly.

Setting Goals

Having long-term and short-term goals helps you work towards achieving them. To succeed, you ought to set realistic and achievable goals within a specified time period. Successful athletes ensure they follow their training schedules and plans to ensure they attain their objectives.

Keeping Connections with People

To succeed, you have to maintain a balance between yourself and the people around you. Your families, friends, coaches and fellow athletes all play a part in your success. Listening to their views and sharing your experience is essential to maintaining healthy relationships. You should promptly deal with misunderstandings that may arise and ensure it doesn’t affect your performance.


Building high confidence in yourself is a critical factor to how you deal with discouraging situations. Thinking over certain things during competitions gives you a clear and positive attitude towards your opponents. Self-talk may also be of help to resolve problems within yourself. Encouraging yourself to do better will push you several steps forward towards your finish line.

Creating a Positive Vision

Positive visions help us to view ourselves as winners. Successful athletes create an image in their mind of how it would feel if they won. It is a high motivating factor to help you do better and help you from falling short of your expectations. Positive visions or images help you to stay focused and keep your eyes on the prize.

Controlling Anxiety

Tension is present in all sports, especially during competitions. Managing the level of anxiety has a positive impact on your performance. It is important to understand that too much stress could lead to a reduction in activity levels and would ultimately result in failure. Learn tactics to help you calm down during anxious moments, like breathing in and out before you start the sport.

Controlling Emotions

Sports come with all types of emotions from the participants. Anger, excitement, disappointments and hate arise after every competition. Accepting the emotions as part of the experience helps you cope when you experience high emotions.


To perform well in any activity, you must pay attention to the details of the sport. It helps athletes avoid distractions which could cause a different outcome for their performance. Concentration promotes focus during training and during competitions.

Athletes look forward to success each time they participate in the sport. Maintaining healthy relationships, encouragement, self-motivation and setting realistic goals have a significant part to play in sports’ success.

Go For It

This isn’t really about competition but can easily be applied to competition. It is a skiing story and is about our writer SJ. In fact, he will tell it.

At the time I was living in Boston and a group of friends and I went up to New Hampshire to go skiing. Don’t ask what ski slope because I don’t remember at this point. In any case, it was Ron, Jeff and Jeff’s little brother who was a hotshot skier. Ron and Jeff were average skiers so they headed off together and I went with the younger brother. We will call him Tom since I can’t remember his name offhand.

Mogul Run 1

We went down a couple of slopes to get warmed up and then decided to hit a slope with moguls. Tom went down a ways and then stopped and waited for me. My heart was in my throat a bit but I wasn’t going to be deterred. I started down the hill and did OK briefly but quickly had problems and fell. Tom waited patiently as I skied and fell down the slope.

Mogul Run 2

We went up to do it again. Tom told me and I had heard other people tell me that you need to attack the mountain and lean into it. Leaning downhill can be scary. The natural thing to do is lean back. But that lifts the tips and you lose control and you tend to go faster. If you are leaning forward, you can carve your turns and control yourself and slow down. Well, the second mogul run was almost as bad as the first.

Mogul Run 3

Tom begged off and said he was going to go try some other runs. I went back up for a third time. I was absolutely determined to lick this hill. This time I absolutely attacked the hill. Most people have heard athlete’s talk about the Zone. Well, I had the privilege of experiencing it. Everything seemed to slow down  and be super clear. I nailed the run, not falling once. What a feeling.

I then went in to meet everyone for lunch at the agreed time and place. We chatted and shared experiences but I didn’t say anything about my last run except I did better because I wanted to surprise Tom. After lunch I asked if he would do the mogul run again with me. You could see that he was not very excited but was polite and said yes.

Mogul Run 4

We got to the top and I told him to go first. He went down a bit and fell. As he was getting up, I blew past him, still in the Zone, and skiing like a bat out of hell. The look on his face was priceless.

Who are you competing with?

You might say I was competing with Tom, but not really, he was actually a better skier. I was competing with myself. Don’t focus on other people, focus on yourself and what you can do to get better. Only focus on other people to learn from them, not to grade yourself against them.