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Mental Training for Athletes

August 15, 2013 1 Comment

For all you athletes (or aspiring exercisers like me, at this point), your mental training can be as important to your success as your physical training!

24-05-2008 20;01;49

I have written about my experience with visualizing myself winning races in high school.  I recently heard Usain Bolt, the 100m world record holder, also commenting on how he uses similar techniques to gain a mental advantage in his running.

Check out this information on the topic that I received recently from Silva Life System:


Using the Mind in Sports

Dr. Charles Garfield, former NASA researcher and current president of The Performance-Science Institute in Berkeley, California, talks about a startling experiment conducted by Soviet sports scientists.

The study examined the effect of mental training, including visualization, on four groups of world-class athletes just prior to the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. The four groups of elite athletes were divided as follows:

mind athletics

Group 1: did 100% physical training.

Group 2: did 75% physical training, 25% mental training.

Group 3: did 50% physical training, 50% mental training.

Group 4: did 25% physical training, 75% mental training.

What the researchers found was that group 4 – the group with the most mental training – had shown significantly greater improvement than group 3.

Likewise, group 3 showed more improvement than group 2, and group 2 showed more improvement than group 1.

The results were astonishing. Who would expect that athletes training mentally would be able to advance further than their counterparts who were training physically?

Garfield said, “During mental rehearsal, athletes create mental images of the exact movements they want to emulate in their sport. Use of this skill substantially increases the effectiveness of goal-setting, which up until then had been little more than a dull listing procedure.”

– See more at:

Comments (1)

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  1. joe says:

    great topic! having participated as a “professional” in a shooting sport for over a 15 year span, the mental game is what spawns “champions”? hard to make the everyday shooter acknowledge that “winners” are not just gifted with natural talent……though that can speed along a successful sports career. it is hard work to make oneself concentrate to the level that certain competitions require, and that requires hours of beforehand training mentally.

    having participated in “team sports” from childhood to college, i only scratched the surface in high school baseball while spending hours in a batting cage? as looking back it is easy to see i was lazy and really just expected good things to happen? moving on and into individual sports made competing to one’s ability come to rest completely on your shoulders.

    once coming to the conclusion that you really where only competing against yourself? i could then look back at all the baseball i played from 7yo on, and as those 4 groups you list in the article display……as to why so many “coaches” could not win even when their players possessed a lot of natural talents. Pete Rose was a hustler no doubt, and not saying Ted Williams wasn’t either……but Ted’s batting stats demonstrate was a committed mental game was capable of? just think if he had not served his country those years in the prime of his career what he may have accomplished? joe

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