Mental skills are a critical prerequisite for maximizing the opportunities presented by technology and innovation
By Mim Haigh, Sports Writer – Athlete Assessments
I read a paper on the weekend which detailed the increasing role of technology and innovation in sport and the way new technologies will push human performance to frontiers unimaginable in previous decades.
The report revealed exactly how the cerebral cortex can be primed to the increase training workloads and consequently competition tolerances in athletes. It also made interesting insights into the potential performances of Paralympic athletes, as athletes and their coaches make use of new technologies to unravel asymmetries in the athletes’ biometrics as a result of their disability.
Our athletic future is definitely exciting as a result of technology and innovation, but while I was reading, I continually marveled to myself, just how easily our investment in technology and innovation can be derailed by the ‘small’ issues, the ‘soft’ stuff and the other insignificant names that we give to people issues.
To make maximum use of technology and innovation, athletes, coaches and teams have got to have a handle on the way people behave. It’s critical that athletes and coaches know how to hold the difficult conversations, keep themselves and their teammates accountable, accept feedback, be resilient in the face of small and big challenges, foster team dynamics and understand how people work, what motivates them, what makes them feel secure and how they communicate.
People skills can be worked on over a lifetime. They are skills that can be used and developed in sport then transferred into life – careers, families and friends. People skills begin with an understanding and awareness of the self. Similarly, mental skills can be developed over time, benefiting the athlete in their sporting career and well beyond.
Mental skills – toughness, grit, resilience and behavioral awareness which results in knowing how to maximize the opportunities presented by different people, are not inevitable outcomes of high-performance environments or technology and innovation. Mental skills are developed by gradual exposure to ideas and the opportunity to develop strategies which can be tried out in real-time competition or training scenarios.
Athlete Tough provides athletes and coaches with exactly this opportunity, it’s a step-by-step program which guides athletes and coaches through activities, exercises and reflective journaling that results in strategies which parallel the strategies that author, 3 x Olympic medalist and 4 x Olympian, Bo Hanson used during his own competitive career and continues to develop and refine as an international coaching consultant.
Athlete Tough ensures your athletes have the opportunity to develop strategies that will allow them to perform their best when it matters the most. In combination with self-awareness and an understanding of basic behavioral styles, they won’t be derailed by the ‘little stuff’, they will have the people skills to make the most of their opportunities, and the advances and innovation that technology brings.
So how does an athlete become Athlete Tough?
If you want to know more about how to help your athletes build mental toughness and resilience so they can perform at their best under pressure, you should check out our program – ATHLETE TOUGH. Our Handbook & Video Series was produced by 4 x Olympian and 3 x Olympic Medalist, Bo Hanson, to answer the call of Coaches wanting to know how they can build mental toughness in their athletes. We have dedicated 15 chapters to proven strategies that will help your athletes become, and stay, ATHLETE TOUGH. Visit this link for more information and to view a sample chapter and video!
Where to from here?
If you want to read more on mental toughness and becoming ATHLETE TOUGH, we recommend the following articles.