Mental Training: Emily’s Qualification Quest

We all know the importance of physical training for enhancing performance, but one aspect of training that is often overlooked is mental training. The body and mind are connected, therefore training the mind can help the body be better prepared for what we are asking it to do. It can be hard, however, to remember that even though mental trainingIMG_5470 doesn’t directly make your muscles bigger or your times faster, it is still a critical part of training. When Becky asked me to help run a mental training support group for Emily, I thought this would be a great opportunity to make it easier for Emily to stick with her mental training program. For whatever reason, it is so much easier to stick to something when you are doing it with others, and this is the idea behind the mental training group. Now Emily can have support for her mental training, and members of the team can take these good habits and apply them at practice. We typically meet once a week to discuss a new mental training exercise, and then we are given “homework,” where we take the new exercise and apply it to workouts throughout the week. I really like getting new exercises every week; it is helping me to expand my mental training “tool box” so that when practice gets hard I have more tools to pull out and use against unproductive or negative thoughts. I am hopeful that practicing mental training consistently will help make future hard pieces and races a little easier to get through (including pieces in Chile; good luck Emily!)

– Jenn Brashears

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