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The Mentality of an Athlete Essay

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A lot of times, sports seem like a contest of physical skill― a test to see who is the fastest or strongest, who has the best eye or the most endurance, who can jump the highest or can handle the ball the best. What a lot of people don’t know is that there is so much more to a sport than just the muscle and coordination. In order to excel in a sport, an athlete requires a lot of self-discipline, concentration, and self-confidence. It’s the mental factor that makes a difference. Former Olympic gold medal-winning decathlon runner Bruce Jenner once said, “You have to train your mind like you train your body” (Gregoire 1). Success or failure depends on the mental factors just as much as the physical ones. The training of the mind of an athlete is called sports psychology. The use of sports psychology has a huge impact upon an athlete’s performance. The mental skills of a sport are just as important as the physical skills. All professional athletes use sports psychology. “If they aren’t currently using it, it’s almost guaranteed they’ve used it in the past, even if they are unaware they have” (Davis, Stephens, The Exploratorium 129). It’s hard to find an experienced athlete who hasn’t used sports psychology, because without it, they probably wouldn’t be where they are. The use of sports psychology is a crucial step to becoming a successful athlete.
Surprisingly, physical skills are only a small factor of the sport. The mental aspect of the sport needs to come into play, because the physical aspect can only take you so far. A lot of
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athletes are physically talented and train hard. But what separates the good athletes from the best is simply their mental strength (Gregoire 1). Someone could be the most talented at...


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...the javelin a greater distance, or jumping the highest bar. Some of them spend more time thinking about the event than they do practicing it. Because they believe it will work, it works” (Olney 5). Most often, when an athlete visualizes the outcome they want, that’s exactly what they end up doing. The brain is getting trained for actual performance. Imagery can enhance motivation, confidence, prime your brain for success, and increase states of flow (Gregoire 2). During visualization, athletes incorporate all of the skills that they perform in their sport in great detail before their event. It helps them have a general image in their mind of how they are going to perform, and gives them a more confident and positive attitude towards it.
Once athletes get their mind and body working together, strange, almost superhuman things can happen. Some athletes claim



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