Mental toughness is especially important in sports like gymnastics – where there is time in between routines and rotations for the competitors to think about their actions. Here are some tips to build and maintain a mental edge from Dr. Chris Carr, sport and performance psychologist at St.Vincent Sports Performance.
Begin your imagery of the meet the night before; visualize success. Try to focus on deep breathing during your ride to the event. Pull up a favorite song or tap into quiet thoughts to visualize getting great results. Take the meet one rotation at a time. Write a cue word on your wrist (or somewhere else you can easily look) that you associate with your own optimal performance. Prepare the same way before each meet.
During training, make daily goals. Write a couple down for each practice, and be specific on how you want to improve. Review your goals each day and think of them during practice often. Learn to refocus during a distraction-filled moment.