How do athletes reach peak performance? They train the body AND the mind. Right now, I am limited on how I can train my body because I am recovering from an avulsion fracture to my hip. Ouch. So instead of sulking about it... ok maybe a little sulking.. But, now that I'm done sulking, I am moving on and focusing on training my mind by practicing some of the techniques from The Champion's Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train and Thrive by Jim Afremow, PhD.
This is actually my second time reading this book. The first time I read it I was looking for a way to calm my nerves before a race. My Sonoran Distance Project coach John Reich recommended the book so I headed to the local book store and decided to buy it to see what it was all about. Jim explains in the book that it is ok to get that nervous ‘butterflies flying around in your stomach’ feeling before a race. But, the key is learning how to get those butterflies to fly in formation. Lucky for me, he provides great techniques in the book on how to align the butterflies. I found that his advice really helped. I started to calm down before each race. I spent less energy on nervous tension and more on positive thoughts about the task at hand. I also saw my race times improve. :)
Since then, I have had the opportunity to hear Jim speak at a Phoenix Free Soles running club team meeting. When I heard him, I was reminded of how much I liked the book. I remembered that it also has a section on how to train your mind through times of injury. So, here I am enjoying reading The Champion’s Mind for a second time and I'm focusing on the chapters about recovery and how to get through the mental aspect of not physically training while injured.
I think this book is great for any athlete looking to sharpen their mental game. Whether you are looking for mental preparation before a big event, how to stay determined and strong through recovery, or how to fine tune your thoughts during competition in order to push through pain and secure the win; I’m confident you will find great tips in The Champion’s Mind.