Mental strength might be intangible, but it is as important as any physical traits in sport. It can mean the difference between dropping out of a race, winning, concentrating to keep your pace, missing a penalty or letting the stress of a loss affect your day-to-day life.
You do not wake up with a strong mind, just as you will not have strong biceps without going to the gym. Here are some apps to get you started on your journey to a stronger, more relaxed state of mind that will help optimise your physical performance. They include meditation techniques, group sessions, daily tips, inspiration and breathing habits.
In this app, you are talked through your meditation by its founder, Andy Puddicombe, who uses his experience as a Buddhist monk to form a mindful process. The meditations are “bite-size”, according to Headspace’s website. There are different sections, including one specifically for sport, with sub-heads including competition, focus, motivation and training.
The MindSport app is designed for both coaches and athletes. For athletes, it can help you stay present in the match, game or event, helping you block out distractions. You can even do meditations with your teammates. For coaches, it reduces stress as you deal with the pressure of your team’s performance or you can organise a group session for your athletes.
Formerly called Pacifica, it uses a range of tools, including videos, audios and tips on mood alternating habits to reduce stress and anxiety. Sanvello is unique in that it has a mood tracker so it can assess your experience.
By understanding your journey, you can get into the best head space possible to perform on game day.
Undaunted Athlete – coming soon
The app is soon to be released, but the company has a good track record with two existing apps for golfers and basketball players. They have series tailored for specific weaknesses, such as improving confidence or focus.
You can inspire yourself, too, with their “thought of the day” and also meditations. Athletes can choose the meditation length, to suit their schedule.
Include breathing training in your schedule to better optimise your oxygen intake. It helps train the muscles needed to breathe and gives you tips and exercises to get your breath under control when taking part in sport. It is based on the book Breathe Strong, Perform Better by Alison McConnell.