I’ve been watching the Olympics and noticing how the Gymnastic Competition was going. Earlier I wanted to write this, thinking somehow it just might help our teams who are competing. Actually, it is something which can benefit everyone.
Below is an article I wrote a few years back. It is about working with a skill that can benefit us in many different ways. It also holds the secrets to why we become prejudice, we are not born prejudice…? Raise a baby lion with a baby lamp; do you think the lion will grow up and eat the lamb?
Anyway, here are some things our Olympic Athletes are using so they can perform at the peak of there skill. I use this when I do public presentations, when I climb, and in survival preparation.. It is also great for defensive driving. Imagine something happening as you drive-then go over how you want to react. We have to basic ways we do things, either a “response” (a thought out set of movements) or a “reaction” a preconditioned action, we think, plan, and sometime practice in advance. Reactions are fast, they save lives, (provided it is the correct reaction). Responses are slow, … and …. and…
I hope you find this of value.
The big advantage of mental training is you don’t make mistakes. In physical training you do make mistakes, sometimes small, but they affect the outcome because your mind remembers that mistake. Then when it is time to perform you play that memory tape, but it has a small blooper, unlike mental tapes which are recorded perfectly. When you practice mentally the control tape is perfectly composed and engineered to the highest standards. Consequently, when you do it physically the mind replays the “perfect” mental tape (picture) and your body reaches for that high standard and if you have trained physically well, as well, “BAM!” You have a winning combination. P.S. Remember the power of our internal spirit – Train Physically, Mentally, and Spiritually too!
If I am having problems climbing over a move, I focus on all the things, even the very small things that can “contribute to,” climbing well, “center of weight/gravity” “Dynamics” “relaxing the muscles I don’t need to use,” “breathing- pursing my lips to improve oxygen percentages” (this is particularly effective at high altitudes) and…. ; rather than the “
oh shoot what if’s”
Often while waiting for my shot at a difficult pitch, I will sit in a quiet place, with my eyes shut, and mentally visualize myself climbing that route, every aspect, I feel my hand grip the rock so that I gain maximum grip, and my feet doing the same, etc. I do this with every detail that I will be dealing with, an I focus on the positive moves and solutions.
Of course, slips can happen, so be mentally prepared to make the best of it. For example: One evening, while on a float trip down the Grand Canyon, after we had prepared for spending the night, I went scrambling. I saw a fun looking cliff that did not appear extreme so I decided to scramble up it. I was enjoying myself being careful to choose good holds, stay vertical, or whatever direction helped maximize the hold(s), things were going fine.
I reached above me and mantled onto a shelf. All of a sudden I heard “BUZZZZ!!!” I automatically froze in place, not hardly even blinking. Without moving my eyes or any part of my body I looked. I was face to face with a big Grand Canyon Rattlesnake… It caught me totally off guard, I had never expected to see a rattlesnake a hundred feet above the ground.
Fortunately, over the years I had “mentally trained myself” to freeze, if I ever heard the distinctive sound of a rattlesnake’s buzz. Since I was now an unwitting challenger to a staring contest, I focused on the positive things that I had practiced. Eventually, it stopped buzzing, and then started to crawl away. I figured the risks were much lower, and I wanted out!
Then I did what else I had practiced. Even if it was still buzzing, my position may not have allowed me to stay involved in the staring contest. I would have had to very slowly move away, and I had mentally practiced that, so I slowly moved away. I started breathing normally, down climbed, and went back to camp. I was emotionally drained and I had lost my interest in scrambling.
Had I not practice that, there is a good chance I would have momentarily forgot where I was, and I would have freaked, and possibly fallen to the ground. When they found me dead, or seriously hurt, at the bottom they almost surely would have thought that I had slipped and fell… Another nice thing about mental training is you
do not have to think it could happen in a negative way have the luxury of being able to fantasize and do it perfectly (not unrealistically), “while” having to worry about a slip and being hurt, focusing on things that bring success.