Mastery, Presence, and Inner Peace: Peak Sports Performance

November 20, 2013

If you want to peak your sport performance, choose something you want to work on every week.  As you do, you will acquire increased understanding, insightfulness, and confidence in your mechanics and mental skills over time.  Practicing helps you build confidence in your mechanics, which 90% of athletes do, but I encourage you to treat the mental side of your game just as importantly.  Practice the mental skills on a regular basis so you can reinforce them and be excellent on all levels when you are ready to perform in your sport and win.

How does one achieve peak sports performance?  I believe it is acquired through mastery, presence, and inner peace.  It is also maintained by these same three elements.

So what is mastery?  Mastery is the practicing of your skills—regular, deliberate, intentional, mindful practicing—so you can master whatever you choose to put your mind, energy, time, and effort into.  The more you practice your skills, the less you have to think about them as you play and compete.  Mastery frees your mind from self-doubt when it is time to perform.  This is very important in any sport.  It allows you to be present as you perform.

Presence, or to say it another way, “being present,” is the ability to be focused and in the moment.  Athletes know they need greater focus.  What they try to do is just focus harder or stare harder, but there’s a lot more to having presence than that.  Presence is focused intention.  It is when one sets an intention and decides to work on it in the moment as well as throughout long periods of time.

Finally, inner peace causes a lot of confusion with athletes when I start to talk about it because they think they need that “go-get-‘em” edge or fighter’s mentality to win.  This belief isn’t necessarily correct and causes a lot of resistance toward their pursuit of inner peace.  What I can tell you through my observations and training is that inner peace is different than what you may assume.  It is a matter of having peace of mind.  You are not a ball of mush, but you are completely relaxed.  I read a Dalai Lama quote this morning that helps describe what I am talking about:

When we are angry, we are blind to reality.  Anger may bring us a temporary burst of energy, but that energy blocks the part of our brain that distinguishes right from wrong.  To deal with our problems, we need to be practical and realistic, and if we are to be realistic, we need to use our human intelligence properly, which means we need a calm mind.”

I definitely agree this quote.  I have observed Dalai Lama’s warning in action in many of my clients and in my own life.  You may be deceived in thinking your anger and fit of energy are going to help you in your sport, but in reality, they are not.  There are a lot of reactions that take place in your body when you experience anger or fear.  “Fight or flight” sets in and you do not think clearly.  A bit of a fog exists in your mind, and you are in the illusion of your thoughts, and you react to them rather than to what is really happening around you.  Inner peace (having a calm mind or peace of mind), is definitely what you need to strive for in order to win.

You can see examples of anger and its effects if you watch professional athletes on television.  When they start getting angry and trying too hard, things start falling apart.  Even though they may have mastered their skills, they need all three components of mastery, presence, and inner peace to truly achieve peak performance.

So the suggestion from my hypnosis product that I have chosen to write about today is, “Each day I practice with a confident mindset, focused intention, and a positive way of viewing myself, my life, and how I play.”

“Each day I practice with a confident mindset…”  This goes back to mastery of your mental skills and not just waiting for an event, hoping you will be able to have confidence or a focused intention or mindset.  You cannot hope for things like that.  A lot of athletes feel like being in the zone is kind of a fluky thing that they have no control over, and it just randomly or haphazardly happens.  But I have seen and helped clients master the skill of being in the zone and apply it at will whenever they feel like it.  Each day, you need to practice a confident mindset if you want to improve your sport performance.

Now that you know you need to practice a confident mindset, what exactly does that look like?  You need to pay attention to when you lack confidence in some area of your life and get to know what that feels like.  Then, pay attention to when you do have confidence in that particular area and learn to recognize the difference.  When you practice in your sport, eliminate any thoughts or language that reinforce a lack of confidence, and make sure you feel confident in each of the elements that go into it.

When you think about focused intention, treat it like goal setting.  You can have focused intention in the morning for your day or your particular practice round and what you want to work on.  You probably do that already.  Sometimes you decide you want to practice your putting for a while.  This is a focused intention.  You recognize the strength of when you pull your mind in and keep it focused on one particular task.  You can do that throughout the day or one round of golf.  You set your intention up front and say, “I want to maintain a confident mindset and inner peace” throughout the entire round of golf.  You set that intention and decide it is what you are working on.

As you practice having a focused intention, you will begin to recognize when your focus wanders.  Any time you start to stray from the path you have chosen, just bring yourself back in.  Let’s say you want to practice that inner peace while you are playing, but you start to wander from it (say you get upset about a bogey or something).  You recognize it and pull yourself back in.  You practice having a confident mindset, focused intention, and a positive way of viewing yourself.

I have addressed this topic in different articles and trainings and have done so from many different angles.  Why is it so important to have a positive way of viewing yourself?  If you go out there chewing yourself out in your mind for not being very good, saying that you don’t deserve to be there or any thoughts like that, then you are definitely going to struggle no matter how much mastery you have of your skills.  This is why it is so important that you practice having this positive way of viewing yourself. 

As I have said before, don’t just practice in your sport but practice throughout moments or days in your life.  You can master this positive way of viewing yourself.  Catch yourself when you are being negative or thinking life shouldn’t be a certain way, and replace those thoughts with something positive.  Catch yourself if you are thinking down or limiting about how you perform in your sport, or what you are capable of doing.  You can even choose to focus your intention on viewing yourself positively and the areas you perform well in already.  Build on that and remind yourself of that instead of allowing negative thoughts to affect your confidence or impede your performance.

“Each day, I practice with a confident mindset, focused intention, and a positive way of viewing myself, my life, and how I play.”  Really let this soak in.  Start practicing this.  It will bring you great mastery over the mental side of your game and over the mental side of everything in your life.  I highly encourage you to apply this to all areas of your life so you may have even more opportunity to master it.  Hopefully you can see how all of this can be directly applied to anything in your life.  Take the “I apply” part out, or the “I practice” part, and say to yourself, “Each day, I have a confident mindset, focused intention, and positive way of viewing myself, my life, and how I play.”  Carry it over to include how you work.  Bring it into your relationships and home with your family.  The more opportunity you find to perform in this way throughout your daily activities, the more you will master inner peace, one of the critical components to achieving peak sport performance.

So have mastery, presence, and inner peace in each moment, and be confident in your mindset, have focused intention, and decide what you are going to work on this day.  Have a positive way of viewing yourself, others, your life, or situations you are involved in as you go about daily living.  If you need any additional assistance as you start working this in your life and sport, I am here to help you.  Please feel free to contact me.  As you strive toward mastery, presence, and inner peace, I know you will see improvements in your daily life as well as your sport performance.  Thanks for reading, and have an amazing day!

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