Your mind can be your biggest weaknesses, or your greatest weapon. It affects everything! Strategy, perspective, motivation, training and so much more. The inner dialogue we have with ourselves can be positive or negative. To master your inner dialogue, is the first step in during the mental aspect of brazilian jiu jitsu in to an asset and not a weakness. When you have your inner dialogue working for you and not against you, now you are no longer competing against your opponent and yourself.
In every sport there are only a handful of athletes who truly have mastered the mental side. They are the ones who always keep their cool, no matter the pressure of the moment. Nothing affects their focus whether it comes in the form of stress from their personal life or from the stress of falling short in a big match.This stoic ability to separate or control one's emotions in the face of tremendous stress pressure absolutely must be trained. Here are some tips on how to train your mental game during the day-to-day grind of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training:
Don't base your worth on one tournament or training session. One poor performance will not define you. It will not be the end of your career or be put a cap on the trajectory of your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu life. It can be easy to forget this, to focus on the negative. Getting down on oneself and believing the negative self talk can happen. Instead focus on the positive lessons of the experience. Take what you can learn, what can help you improve as an athlete and set aside the rest. Remember, you won’t grow unless you open up and try things. Sometimes you will try new things and fail miserably, but that's all part of the growing process. Remind yourself that all the failures now will pay off in the future. You're just getting them out of the way.
Focus on the positive. Do not give the negative thoughts energy. They will come but, we can control our inner dialogue by allowing them simply pass by. Find a quote or mantra that helps you refocus. Here is one of mine:
"You can’t stop a bird from flying over your head, but you don’t have to let it make a nest in your hair.”
Say it until you believe it. Say it until it's true. Similarly, remember the days when you performed really well. Instead of dwelling on a round you lost, think about a time when you dominated. Remind yourself what you're capable of. Hold on to your victories.
Focus on breathing. When we get frustrated, we often start breathing harder and faster, which then makes it harder to catch our breath, makes us tire more quickly, and then perform even worse. When we get frustrated, we get tired, and then we make mistakes. Take a minute to focus. Take slow, deep breaths, relax, and calm your thoughts.
Have a greater goal to focus on. You need to have a motivation that's bigger than one competition or one day of training. What is it that you're training for? What is your "why"? The answer to this question is different for everyone, but knowing it will help you steady your mind on days of struggles and focus on the bigger picture.
Surround yourself with people who will lift you up. A little encouragement can go a long way. Have people around you who can remind you of your strengths, even on days when you feel weak. Surround yourself with people who will believe in you, even when you don't believe in yourself.
Remember you can do it! Let us know your strategies for training your mental game and keeping out the negative thoughts.