Mental training (how to strengthen one's mind)

©1993 NAOC TM NAOC 7-056

Fighting Against Oneself

What is mental training?

An athlete is fighting not only against the opponent but also against oneself as well. To win against oneself the athlete uses mental training and try to strengthen one's mind. At the Olympic Games in Barcelona (Spain) in 1992, most of the athletes who won a prize did this mental training. Here we show the mental training to win against oneself.


During the competition, too much consciousness of the athlete to the spectators and people around may cause pressure beyond the necessary level. Many of you have the experience. Too much pressure on your mind may make you unable to perform naturally even if you are trying hard.

Positive Mind

Feeling of too much pressure increases strain and worry (pit-a-pot). The body is tightened and disordered resulting in insufficient performance. On the other hand feeling no pressure at all or having no strain nor worry may result in loss of fighting spirit, disappear. The athlete can not show the full ability. The strain and worry of a certain degree are necessary for a good performance. Positive attitude to the competition such as enjoying the tactics of win or lose is very important for the athletes. Well, what kind of mental training should we usually do to get into the competition with positive mind?

Aim Setting

Setting a Goal

The longest journey starts with a single step. It is important to put up a goal of the training and practice step by step according to your plan. For example if you have the goal of this year, you should think of the goal of this month which will lead to the goal of the year. To attain the goal of this month, think of the goal necessary for this week. And what is needed today and tomorrow?  Make your training plan like that. Suppose your goal is making a self-new record this year, you may plan to get new skill and technique and strengthen your mind. The point is to make plans from various aspects. Moreover, regular checking of your achievement is also important. You may have to modify your plan occasionally. When a goal is established, the goal becomes easy to attain. Attaining each goal makes you self-confident.

Image Training

Training Mentally

"Be prepared and you'll be all right." Imagine what happens in the competition beforehand and repeat regularly. This is the image training. The training prevent you from being nervous on the day of the competition.

The image training has three stages and it is necessary to follow each stage.
  1. Imagine yourself being easy and relaxed.
  2. Picture in your mind the atmosphere of the competition venue.
  3. Picture the scene in which you are playing or performing.

Furthermore, imagine the scene of your winning/ It is important to repeat this training again and again. After taking some time, you may be able to picture various scenes in your mind. Then let's proceed to the next stage.

Olympic Athletes Fighting Against Themselves

Olympic athletes are strengthening their mind as well as their body with the mental training. Let's watch the athlete just before the competition. Let's see their interview on television. You may notice from your careful observation how a top athlete is fighting against oneself.