Think, execute, win: three stories of self-improvement and mental training

We are the result of the decisions we make. We execute, or do, the result of the thoughts that we determine. Where? At the center of it all, an ‘organ’ that is difficult to classify. A baton that conducts a complex ‘bodily’ symphony: the mind. Everything depends on her: that we get up an hour earlier. May we hold on for one more kilometer.

The mindset is, luckily, something that is forged with daily work. It is not a gift reserved for a few at birth. We can all mold it: exercise it so that it is stronger, more determined and persevering. However, mental training is something relatively new and also unknown. Sometimes even misunderstood.

Training the mind can be a familiar expression today. A familiar terrain. Sometimes a hackneyed phrase. And not without reason. We talk a lot about the power of the mind, even without having trained it before. We speak, many times, without property. Because the mind is not just ‘wanting is power’. It is ‘working so that wanting is truly power’. Behind a mentality there is not only attitude (which too), there is work and hard work. A real workout.

Today I want to review three stories with their own names. In them, its protagonists – podium athletes – knew how to work on their champion mentality. A mindset that, well executed, has the power to turn challenge into challenge. This is the case, for example, of Michael Jordan. Today he is considered one of the best athletes of all time, however: Did you know that when Michael was in school he got kicked out of the basketball team? They said he had no talent for that sport.

Did Michael Jordan have an innate natural talent? No. He had something better. Determination to continue getting up at 6 in the morning to score despite having been discarded from the university team he wanted. Was it more important what you knew how to do up to that point or what you had set out to know how to do by setting the alarm clock earlier than anyone else to achieve it? Obviously, the second.

Mindset determines our thoughts. What we think determines what we do and how we do it. What we do dictates what we achieve. Jordan is not the first athlete to break down an a priori insurmountable wall of discredit. In the following example, we look at a wall that, however, was raised by the athlete himself. Michael Phelps She started swimming to channel her ADHD and to get away from the difficult environment at home for a bit.

Did you know that he did not like water? Yes, the best swimmer in history was terrified of the pool. But the pool allowed him to forget his disorder and feel like he was really good at something, so he kept swimming. It was not easy: every day he had to fight very hard to keep going and depression and anxiety did not stop haunting him. But there is more: the case of Phelps is paradigmatic in the history of mental training because it is precisely ‘mental’.

A training session that led him, under the guidance of his coach ‘Bowman’, to win 28 Olympic medals, 23 of them gold and to be the only athlete in history to win eight golds at the same Olympic Games (Beijing 2008). What are we talking about? Of the VMR technique (in English, Visualization and Mental Rehearsal) that we can summarize in mental visualization. A workout that gave Phelps the habits to be the mentally strongest swimmer in the pool.

I do not want to end this article without talking about one of the most incredible athletes in our country: Sara Fernández Roldán, current Spanish Champion of 100 meters and 200 meters of adapted athletics. Sara runs at superhuman speed and jumps very, very high over adversity. I know because I have worked with her. For her, not giving up is a way of life.

For Sara there is no “I can’t do it.” There is no better example of what it means to have a champion mentality. Can you imagine running at lightning speed, jumping fearlessly with the momentum of a jaguar with only 12% vision? He achieved an excellent participation in the 2016 Rio Olympics and has a promising future ahead of him. There is nothing in the world that can stop Sara, just as nothing and no one can stop Phelps and Jordan. Because the mentality is stronger than all adversities.

If you also want to work on your mentality and become an unstoppable athlete, I can help you achieve it, take a look at my Mental Preparation Program for Elite Athletes.