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// Reframing COVID-19 as a Chance to Develop Your Mental Health
Yet, in the pro and collegiate athletes I consult with, I’ve seen their competitive fires burning brighter than ever before during the shelter-at-home period. A true champion in any endeavor always seeks out new challenges and looks for new ways to gain a competitive edge. And even though you aren’t able to train below the neck as they’d like to right now, you can still get in mental reps by training between the ears.
It’s 75% Mental
Daily mental skills training can also provide some much-needed structure to an otherwise disordered schedule. One technique I’ve found to be very effective – whether it was working with San Francisco Giants baseball players or athletes across all sports at Arizona State University – is to bookend each morning and evening with accountability and intentionality. In the morning, you could ask yourself, “How can I be a champion today?” Then in the evening as you are reflecting on what you did well and what you can do better moving forward, you can ponder, “How am I going to be a champion tomorrow?”
In a few years, athletes are going to look back on this point in their careers and either realize that they’re proud of using this time productively to get better, or that they let the days, weeks, and months slip away. It’d be better for you to make the mistake of getting your mind over-prepared for when you return to sport rather than for the restart to sneak up on you and be caught unaware and unprepared.
The mindset battle
The COVID shutdown presents a similar chance. Sure, it sucks to miss out on time with teammates, the ability to practice together, and then to have your skills tested in the fire of competition. But you can challenge yourself to look at this long layoff as something new to progress at. You can pick a part of your lifestyle – like nutrition, sleep hygiene, or mobility – to excel at, and then celebrate your wins in those areas. In addition to becoming more physically competent, you would also do well to choose a mental skill like goal setting, self-talk, or visualization, to start mastering.
A Brief Summary
While no athlete has a choice but to be out of their game from a bodily perspective right now, they never have to leave the game mentally as they can still get those crucial reps done in their heads.