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  • Writer's pictureTracey Hemphill

Lockdown and level up your mental game.

So what does it take to show your high performer characteristics during this time? The ability to maintain self discipline, yes. Remain hard working, yes. Continue to show self motivation, yes. Train consistently, yes. All these things yes, but I’m sure most of you want to come out on the other side of this disruption stronger and better for it and maybe that even includes clocking out for a bit and taking some time to rest and recharge.

There are millions of athletes whose life has been turned upside down due to cancellations and the huge anti-climax of working your butt off to get mere weeks away from the pinnacle event that you have been working for the entire year, or even past 4 years. Most athletes who have accepted it, are able to see this as a good thing and rise to the opportunity to be able to have more time to prepare or work on those extras. Trying to get things done in a little apartment may be a challenge for some, or having no pool can be seen as a problem, but here is the grand opportunity for you to experiment with and explore alternatives for conditioning you haven’t had time to do or look at before. It’s also the perfect time to work on your mental fitness.

This is a great opportunity to start training the mind to work under less than ideal conditions, to improve your mental state or to deal with that lurking limiting belief that stops you from knocking it out of the park. Mental training deserves as much dedication as physiological training, but hardly anyone contributes the same amount of effort to the very thing that dominates your output, the control center of everything you do.

The brain and your mental state can literally be the anchor holding you back from the best performance of your life in the following ways:

· Beliefs are the underlying programming going on all the time. They are the subconscious framework of your behaviour and experience. They never shut down and they could be subconsciously sabotaging your ability to call on the necessary resources to deliver maximum output. When someone says, “All you need to do is believe in yourself.” it’s the truth. What you believe you will achieve, and this has basis in biology. The receptors in your brain are even conditioned to be more receptive to certain chemicals based on your beliefs. Good news – they can be changed, and in doing so, the biology changes too, giving you the capacity to make improvements or changes that may be limiting your performance.

· Your subconscious values are what is important to you right now, and prioritizes certain things over other. Your values may surprise you.

· Thoughts are the highest frequency known to us, and they are constantly creating something like a feeling, an idea, or an emotion. The expanse of what our thoughts are and what they can create is beyond measure. All thoughts create something. They have an energy that manifests into something else. The idea of painting a masterpiece, can eventually land up actually being a masterpiece, and therefore you can become what you consistently think about.

Responsibly learning how to monitor your thoughts, being aware of your beliefs and changing them if necessary, and knowing your values can help you take more control on the effects it has on your reality, and help you take to avoid anyone of these things that may be sabotaging your performance.

There are a number of programmes available to help athletes, and depending on the severity of the issues, and you can find help from your local sport psychologist or a life coach. These programs can be done now, online, with few limitations. There is one week left in lockdown, and I hope that athletes can use the time constructively to get your mind ready.

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