Let’s be honest; boxing is about so much more than throwing the perfect punch. As with any sport, boxing starts on the inside, at the psychological level. The skills you develop in the ring can be applied to all areas of your daily life. This is where sport psychology comes in.
Sport psychology is the study of how thoughts and behavior influence athletic performance, and vice versa. It helps athletes improve performance and increase motivation. It utilizes sports and training to help individuals enhance their lives and well-being. Here are five ways you can apply the sport psychology mentality to your everyday life to Become Unstoppable:
1. Live More Mindfully
When your mind is bombarded with stress and responsibilities, it can be hard to perform daily functions. You may be in the ring training, but your mind is focused on the bills you have to pay or the dishes that need cleaning. When this happens, your mind and body are experiencing two different things. This takes the focus, learning, and benefit out of the present task.
Sport psychology stresses mindfulness, which is a great concept to bring into your daily life. Mindfulness is the practice of bringing the mind into awareness so that it is fully attentive to what is happening, what you’re doing, and what is surrounding it.
The important skill of mindfulness can be developed through regular mindfulness meditation. There is no one right way to engage in mindfulness meditation, but in general, here is how it works:
- Sit or lie down in a position that is most comfortable for you.
- Close your eyes, and focus on your breathing.
- Deeply and slowly inhale through your nose, and exhale through your mouth.
- Notice your breathing, listen to your heartbeat, feel the relaxation of your muscles.
- The goal is to clear your mind and keep it focused on your body and breathing.
- When your mind wanders, don’t fight the thoughts. Simply acknowledge them, then slowly bring your mind back into the present moment.
- Practice this exercise for 10 minutes a day.
- Try to bring the skills you develop through your daily meditation into your everyday life.
Mindfulness has been shown to have tremendous benefits for physical and psychological well-being. A clear mind will not only help you to bring your best self into the ring, but it will be advantageous in all aspects of your life.
2. Develop Better Concentration
Along with becoming more mindful, sport psychology can help you to develop better concentration. You might be thinking, “Isn’t mindfulness and concentration the same thing?” Mindfulness and concentration are distinctly different functions. However, both work together to develop awareness and attention.
Mindfulness develops an awareness of the entire moment. Concentration, on the other hand, helps you to narrow your focus to a particular task within that moment.
Concentration is a crucial skill to develop. It can help you tune out distractions at work, at school, or in the boxing studio so you can focus on what needs to be done.
Here are some simple and effective ways you can improve your concentration:
- Focus on one thing at a time
- Make a prioritized “to-do” list
- Set a timeframe to get a specific task done
- Take a break when you need it
- Eliminate distractions (close Facebook and put that phone away!)
3. Walk with Confidence
A sport psychology mindset can help you to build self-confidence and enhance your performance. It’s been long established that your beliefs direct your actions. If confidence is a set of beliefs about your abilities, then it’s no surprise that it can lead to higher performance.
Research shows that those with higher confidence levels are more likely to focus on growth and improvement. This type of growth mindset is key to everyday life. It’s what allows you to learn, develop, grow, and become an all around better and more successful athlete and person.
It may seem like you have no control over your level of confidence, but in truth, confidence is something you can work to develop. Here are some simple things you can do to start feeling more confident today:
- Use visualization to reflect on times when you felt confident, successful, and in control
- Get inspired by the good qualities of others
- Exercise regularly
- Use criticism and mistakes as a means of learning, rather than taking it to heart
4. Take the Pressure Off
There’s no denying that practicing sports comes with a lot of pressure. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete constantly striving for the win or an average Joe who simply wants to gain the benefits of training, the pressure is abounding. Then again, isn’t pressure everywhere? Life is full of high-stakes situations.
We all need to learn how to navigate through high-pressure circumstances. Visualization is a common technique used in sport psychology that helps to develop the proper skills to perform well under pressure.
What happens when you’re under immense pressure? Stress levels skyrocket, negative thoughts begin to creep in, and you start to consider every possible thing that could go wrong. By closing your eyes and visualizing yourself accomplishing an action, the task becomes much more “doable.”
Here are some techniques to help you practice visualization for success under pressure:
- First, choose an upcoming situation (or something you experience daily) that you find stressful. This is what you will work with through your visualization practice.
- Visualize yourself in vivid detail successfully performing that task.
- As if you are watching yourself from the outside, go through the situation step by step and allow the story to play out the way you hope it will in real life.
- Repeat this exercise for 10-20 minutes per day.
- This exercise should make you feel more confident going into the situation in real time.
5. Work on YOU From the Inside Out
Sports are as much for the mind as they are for the body. How many days do you have to turn up the volume on the motivation button just to get yourself to the studio? How often do you have to overcome negative thoughts and tell yourself you CAN when your mind says you CAN’T?
The core of sport psychology is utilizing athletics to overcome negative feelings and manage your mindset. Sometimes, the game itself even brings out deeply buried emotions that desperately need attention.
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Stay emotionally well by caring for your mind and soul. Take a rest when needed, manage your stress, take a walk through nature, paint, volunteer; whatever makes you happy, be sure to work it into your schedule.
The Gloveworx coaches adopt tools from sport psychology to aid their athletes in becoming well-rounded and coachable. Book a session today and let boxing help you begin your journey to the best you possible.