There are 6 core mental skill categories presented by Peter Jensen in his book, The Inside Edge.
Positivism Active Awareness Energy Management Attention skills Imagery
Positivism simple stated means finding the potential in a situation so that you can take action, rather than finding the negative and feeling helpless to deal with it. Jensen refers to something called mental hygiene and something I’ve referred to as flushing the mental toilet. He presents some strategies for dealing with bad things that might interfere with having the right mental approach.
First up is Reframing. This is a cognitive skill that lets us find opportunity in negative situations in order to clean up clutter in our minds and flush it away. Right now we have this whole issue with Covid. Can we turn this into some positives? Many people have found opportunities, but many have hidden away and moan about the awful situation. But moving to taekwondo sparring, if you get scored on and immediately lose heart or get down on yourself, you may not be ready to defend against another attack. Consider an alternative, which is to thank your opponent for showing you a weakness in your game and decide to let him/her try it again but with a planned counterattack. Next is self-talk. This refers to what you tell yourself about actions you might have taken or things you might plan to do. It is important to keep these positive and actionable. Examples, you might reframe the situation above by say, “He just nailed me because I dropped my arm but this time, I’ll counter with a slide back back kick.” Always use positive language. If you’ll recall my small poster, “Ask for what you want, not for what you don’t want.” This is major statement difference. It provides an actionable statement. Affirmation is next. But it is really a form of self-talk because you create positive statements about what you want to accomplish.
Here is what Jensen suggests you do:
- 1. State what you want to do in simple terms using the present tense
- 2. Create 2 or 3 statements about what you are working on right now.
- 3. Provide positive feelings about what you are asking yourself to do
- 4. Repeat these 2 or 3 statements to yourself often and act on them.
- 5. Imagine them occurring.
- 1. Reframe two or three taekwondo situations from past matches
- 2. Prepare self-talk statements that affirm the action you plan to take
- 3. Practice these for a month and note how it works for you