The Mind of a Champion
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Published on March 13, 2017

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The Mind of a Champion

Whether you’re a competitive athlete, weekend warrior or fitness fanatic – you dedicate hours of time to improving your physical strength and skills. Have you ever considered the importance of developing your mental toughness too?

What is Sports Psychology?

Sports psychology focuses on strengthening an athlete’s mind in order to overcome obstacles, enhance performance and achieve goals.

“A lot of the strategies we use in sports psychology are mental skills such as positive self-talk,” says Alysa Klein, CAC, a certified counselor and sports psychologist at Avera. “The way you talk to yourself – what’s going through your head as you’re performing any given skill or activity – makes a huge difference. Over time, what you tell yourself is what you’re going to believe. And what you believe is what you’re going to do.”

Unlock the Power of Your Mind

Klein benefited from sports psychology as an NCAA Division I and professional basketball player. Today she offers a variety of sports psychology sessions – both individual and group sessions – for athletes, coaches and even parents of athletes.

You may benefit from the sports psychology if you want expert guidance to:

  • Discover a new level of confidence
  • Improve your teamwork skills
  • Increase your motivation
  • Push through a mental block or “hitting a wall”
  • Recover from an injury
  • Reduce performance anxiety
  • Strengthen your mental toughness

And the effort will be well worth your time because it’s not just about sports. The same mental skills that help you achieve athletic success can easily translate to school, work, relationships and other areas of life.

“Sports psychology isn’t just applicable to athletes,” adds Klein. “I actually find myself using a lot of the strategies in my personal life too. I can apply them to be better at my job or motivate myself to clean the house. It’s really applicable to everyday life.”

Quick Tips to Improve Your Athletic Performance

No matter your age or fitness level, Klein recommends adding several mental strategies to your routine:

  • Set goals that are challenging, yet realistic
  • Practice positive self-talk
  • Take time for deep breathing exercises
  • Visualize yourself succeeding

You can learn more about sports psychology at Avera or find a licensed counselor near you.

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