Mental Skills Of Successful Athletes

Updated: Nov 20, 2018

The mental skills presented here are necessary for performing well in sport, as well as in non-sport performance situations. At Performance Strength Lab we believe that these skills are learned and can improve through knowledge and practice.

1. Set High Realistic Goals and Commitment

Successful Athletes:

● Set long-term and short-term goals that are realistic, measurable, time oriented;

● Are aware of their current performance levels and are able to develop specific,

detailed plans for attaining their goals;

● Are highly committed to their goals and to carrying out the daily demands of their

training programs.

2. Use Positive Self-Talk

Successful Athletes:

● Maintain their self-confidence during difficult times with realistic, positive self-talk;

● Talk to themselves the way they would talk to their best friend;

● Use self-talk to regulate thoughts, feelings and behaviors during competition.

3. Use Positive Mental Imagery

Successful Athletes:

● Prepare themselves for competition by imagining themselves performing well in competition;

● Create and use mental images that are detailed, specific, and realistic;

● Use imagery during competition to prepare for action and recover from errors and

poor performances.

4. Manage Anxiety Effectively

Successful Athletes:

● Accept anxiety and high arousal as part of sport;

● Realize that high arousal can help them perform well;

● Know how to reduce anxiety when it becomes too strong, without losing their


5. Maintain Concentration

Successful Athletes:

● Know what they, personally, must pay attention to during each competition or sports situation in order to perform their best;

● Know that distraction comes from external (crowd, other competitors) and internal (negative self-talk, fatigue, arousal) sources;

● Develop cues to help them regain their focus when concentration is lost during competition;

● Have learned how to play in the “here-and-now”, without regard to either past or anticipated future events.

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