Mental Toughness Training
New book; The New Toughness Training for Sports | Faster Masters Rowing Radio – the podcast for masters rowers. Tips, advice and discussion from Marlene Royle and Rebecca Caroe.
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04:15 How tough are you? Have you ever thought to yourself, it’s never over until it’s over or never give up? Or said, I could have rowed faster if I had stayed concentrated in the second half of the race; I wasn’t thinking clearly.
Building mental and emotional strength, an essential ingredient for success in rowing and sculling, is what James Loehr’s book; The New Toughness Training for Sports is all about.
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Loehr’s classic book covers issues related to recovery, understanding the language of emotion, signs of overtraining, the performer-self versus real-self, balancing stress and recovery, as well as the role of awareness in the mental toughening process.
Loehr describes toughness training as “the art and science of understanding your ability to handle all kinds of stress-physical, mental, and emotional-so that you’ll be a more effective competitor.”
06:00 Common words that we associate with toughness; cold, mean, insensitive, or heartless, are not those included in the definition of toughness here. Phrases such as responsive under pressure, resilient, and flexible rise to the surface.
Loehr describes four indicators of toughness.
First is emotional flexibility,
Second is emotional responsiveness, “the ability to remain emotionally alive, engaged, and connected under pressure.
The third aspect is emotional strength, “the ability to exert and resist great force emotionally under pressure, to sustain a powerful fighting spirit against impossible odds.”
Fourth, emotional resiliency, “the ability to take a punch emotionally and bounce back quickly, to recover quickly from disappointments, mistakes, and missed opportunities and jump back into the battle fully ready to resume the fight.”
09:10 There are many athletic situations when the way that you really feel isn’t the way that you know you need to feel to perform at your best level.
The way that you really feel is referred to as your real-self and the way you need to feel to perform at peak is referred to as your performer-self.
Positive and negative emotions are constantly intertwined in our daily feelings. You must develop the capacity to move from the real-self to the performer-self on demand, which calls for precise thinking and acting skills.
12:30 Performer skills include disciplined thinking and imaging skills that keep your emotions focused. In addition, physical acting skills that help you act the way you want to feel to achieve your ideal performance state. This is your body language.
14:30 For racing this is why doing time trials and scrimmage races can be critical to improving your performances; you have the opportunity to practice new reactions.
Learn how to tell yourself to hang in there. Avoid showing weakness on the outside and let yourself know that you are right where you want to be so you stay passionate and fight no matter the circumstances.
16:00 Balancing stress and recovery is a major focus “Stress is anything that causes energy to be expended; it occurs physically, mentally, and emotionally. Recovery is anything that causes energy to be recaptured; it occurs physically, mentally, and emotionally. Unfulfilled needs represent forms of stress. Fulfilment of needs is recovery. In order to fight great battles in competition, your energy deposits should be roughly equal to your energy withdrawals. Your goal should be to enter battle fully recovered whenever possible. Balancing stress and recovery is fundamental to becoming a tough competitor.”
To get tougher taking risks in life and competition is a natural part of developing strength.
Spend time talking with your coaches, friends, or family about your problems or keep a training journal to help sort out your thoughts.
19:35 Work hard but recover equally as hard. Your recovery schedule should receive as much attention as your training plan does.
Sleep ranks number one when it comes to recovery methods.
Eat a healthy well-balanced diet with adequate amounts of water and nutritious food.
Enjoy both passive and active rest activities.
The application of stress is the stimulus for growth but recovery is when you grow.
26:06 In 1986 in preparation for the world championships, C.B. Sands-Bohrer and Christ Ernst practiced various race scenarios; they went on the win the gold medal in the women’s lightweight double.