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Mental preparation

            When people go to watch sporting events, they come to see good, hard competition. Whether it is a high school football game or the Olympics in Sydney, all the athletes have one thing in common. They all practice to prepare for the game. However, the element that they may not have in common, is what they put into the preparation. We all know they put in hours of grueling physical practice to get to the next level, but what separates the "great hopefuls" from the "great achievers" is not so much the physical preparation, but the mental. .
             Dewey Simon once said, "mental toughness is the strength to know yourself, to know your own truth, and to put forth even when others tell you you"re wrong. It's the consistency in yourself (Ferguson 6-17)." For any athlete it is more important to be mentally prepared then physically prepared. The athlete that is both mentally and physically prepared has it all. That athlete has the right attitude, set goals, and has a game plan. They have visualized what could happen and are ready for anything. They are any coaches dream. Almost everyone is given the ability to play sports. Those who maximize their ability, both mentally and physically, are the ones that will excel to their greatest potential These are the competitors who in the end reach their goal, whether it be winning a game against a rival team or be standing on the platform receiving the gold medal for their country. .
             Mental preparation is many things, not just one. It is a tapestry, made from a positive attitude, goal setting, mental imagery, visualization, and training. Complete mental preparation is convincing your mind that you can do something. It is proving to yourself that you can keep going in a grueling event when you think you have nothing left. This is referred to as, "The ideal preference state of mind (Loher 160)." .
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             The worlds elite athletes have come to believe in and embrace the critical importance of sports psychology, in producing a positive, competitive effort.

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