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  • Writer's pictureSandro Stäheli

Gold medals are won in your mind - what really matters

I'm sure you know the feeling when you've prepared yourself perfectly for a competition and then it doesn't turn out the way you wanted it to. You are left with disappointment, frustration and despair.

Studies prove that the human and therefore our physical performance potential is limited. Even if this cannot be proven with 100% certainty, we can assume with a high degree of probability that the curve of physical performance potential development will flatten more and more. The more athletes approach the physical maximum, the less it is possible to win competitions through physicality. This is where our psyche comes into play. It is the factor par excellence when it comes to top athletes developing into medal winners.

So winning is not only physicality, but especially mindset - but even more so it is heartset.

It's about you as a person and about your dream. It's about recognizing what really fulfills you and touches you emotionally. There is an incredible energy in this.

That's why your personal development is at the beginning and only in second place the explicit focus on you as an athlete in competition. Then you will train mentally and emotionally or program your subconscious so long that when it comes down to it, you can fully rely on your automatisms and reliably realize your maximum performance potential developed in the training sessions.

For this, certain mental techniques can help. But the key here is also in the DOING, i.e. in the training. It is also called training mentally and not knowing or trying out mental techniques.

Interestingly enough, it is absolutely clear to all of us that a certain amount of training with corresponding interval units along a solid training plan is needed for corresponding performance values.

Significantly less profound is our understanding that we should mentally do at least the same number of repetitions. Cognitive understanding of the problem and possible actions alone is just not enough. Because when we get into peak performance and thus stressful situations, our ability to think is massively reduced. We then only use and rely on the automatisms we have acquired over the years. This in turn means that we don't do things the way we have cognitively understood or should do them, but the way we have always done them. Automatically and intuitively, we make the same mistakes over and over again and once again miss our maximum performance potential by a hair's breadth.

Systematic mental training is therefore crucial for your development towards regular podium finishes. That's how you make the difference.

Sandro Stäheli Coach for athletes who want to get to the top

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