Be a Student of Your Sport Become A Smarter Athlete

Standing on top of the podium takes more than just dedication and determination on the field, court or track. To optimize performance in skill, strength and speed every athlete also needs to master the ins and outs of priming their mind and body outside of their sport. Here are a few things you can do outside of practice to give yourself a leg up on your competitors.

1) Learn the intricacies of your sport by studying the world’s most successful athletes. Whether that’s watching film or reading up on technique, find out how you learn best because the more insight and knowledge you can acquire may put you one step ahead of your competitors. This includes asking your coach questions, being opened minded to correction as well as learning from previous successes and failures.

2) Much of athletic performance plays on an athlete’s mental capabilities, strength and confidence. Building confidence through visualization can lead to reduced anxiety and stress, something most athletes experience. Exercising the mind takes time and a lot of practice. Don’t expect drastic results overnight.

3) This may sound cliché but it is incredibly important for every athlete to set goals. Whether big or small, write your goals down or verbalize to a coach or teammate. Setting goals gives you something to work toward, holds you accountable will keep you motivated.

4) It’s essential to not overlook the importance of proper nutrition and hydration. Eating healthy well balance meals rich in carbohydrates, fat and protein can drastically improve athletic performance. This includes whole grains, plenty of vegetables and fruits, lean meats and unsaturated fats. In, addition, a staple of every athletes diet must include WATER as it helps to regulate many bodily functions such as temperature, blood pressure and electrolyte balance.

5) An athlete’s body also needs proper time for rest and recovery in order to acquire the necessary gains from training. Recovery refers to actively engaging in techniques that repair the body such as stretching, foam rolling, massage and icing. Non-active rest and adequate sleep (7-10 hours a night) improves speed, accuracy and reaction time and allows the body time to repair tissue damage and replenish energy stores.

6) Finally, have fun and enjoy what you’re doing.

“Don’t be fooled by the romanticism and appeal of those successful few at the top. The journey to the top is challenging, tough, nasty and without the thrill of luxury.” -Matt Dixon

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