What is Mental Training?

# Mental Training

What does it mean to train your mind?

Just like training our muscles, sharpening our technical tennis skills, and conditioning our bodies, we must also train the brain. Mental Strength Training is the practice of growing mental skills to help our brains better perform in sport, as well as in life. Mental skills such as focus, confidence, goal setting, positive self-talk, visualization, and motivation will enhance better performance.


So, put very simply, mental training is a way of cultivating mental skills and characteristics through proactive action. You aren’t sitting around hoping to feel confident or to reduce anxiety. With mental training, you choose specific mental training tools and you make the change happen.


When it comes to training your mind, there are a few different key tools you want to use. Interestingly, some may not appear to be tools at first glance. But the truth is, each one can be used to train your mind to think a certain way and to help you control your emotions.


The role of a mental trainer or coach is to make sure you’re choosing the right mental training tools for you and your goals and implementing them in a proper manner.

Here are the main mental training tools and the key characteristics and skills they help to develop:

Mental Imagery

This involves creating a scene in your mind and going over it in detail.
Within sports, this involves seeing yourself perform your skills. An example is a soccer player imagining herself shooting or a swimmer going through a race. This form of mental imagery works to increase confidence, cope with pressure, and decrease anxiety.
Another type of mental imagery involves imagining a calm and relaxing scene. This helps to relax yourself before competition and train your ability to calm your mind.


There are two main ways mindfulness helps when training your mind. Mindfulness strengthens focus and increases emotional control.

Let’s begin with focus. Possessing the ability to center your attention and drown out the many distractions that pull at your mind. Yet, it’s not always easy to focus. Which is why you must train your ability to concentrate.

Mindfulness is the act of bringing your awareness into the present moment and by doing so, you gain control over your attention. Through the practice of mindfulness, you strengthen your mind's ability to focus, no matter the distraction.

Another way mindfulness helps with training your mind is by granting you emotional control. Managing your emotions and reactions is a key piece to success. Through mindfulness, you gain more understanding over your thoughts and emotions, which therefore provides you with more control over them.


That voice in your head, constantly speaking to you, can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. Within mental training, self-talk is used to restructure the way you speak to yourself so that the voice in your head can be turned into an asset.

The basis behind self-talk is that thoughts drive feelings. Meaning, what you are thinking impacts your emotional state. To increase confidence, reduce anxiety, or increase motivation, you must speak to yourself differently.

Self-talk is the practice of identifying your current negative thoughts and replacing them with positive alternatives. Then, repeating those positive alternatives to yourself on a consistent basis.

Breath Work

Right before a performance, if a person is feeling very anxious and nervous, a great tool they can use is breath technics. This works to calm their nerves, and quiet their mind in stressful moments.


Whether it's reframing expectations into goals, reframing the way they view the situation, or anything else, reframing is a great tool to help a person change the way they look at their performance.

Process Goals

A fourth mental training tool is setting process goals for yourself. One of the worst frames of thought, that will only distract you from what you need to do, is outcome-oriented thinking. To counteract this, you need to turn your attention onto the process.

How can you do that?

Well, in order to turn your attention onto the process, you need something to focus on. That’s where process goals come into play. Whether it’s before a training session, a game, or simply for a day, you set process goals for yourself and let them guide you.

Developing Your Own Mental Training Routine

Now that you know what mental training is and the different tools used, it’s time to create your own mental training routine. When it comes to mental training, just as with training any other skill, your goal should be consistency.

Final Thoughts

Strengthening your mind, no matter what you do, will lead to greater success. The act of doing so happens through mental training.

Whether it’s to build confidence, increase focus, or reduce anxiety, there is a mental training tool that will help. The important part is locating what you wish to improve, and then choosing the proper exercise to facilitate growth. From there, it’s all about consistency and putting a schedule into practice.

If you’re interested in discovering more about the different mental training tools you can use, along with being shown exactly how they can help you, feel free to reach out to us and we will be happy to support you overcome your challenges.

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