We’re often asked the best ways for athletes to avoid mental fatigue. Our answer tends to be a combination of motivation and focus training.
First, we tell athletes to tap into their motivators. We ask them to remember what drives them in their sport. We ask them to remember what they love about their sport, what gets them out of bed each day and drives them to perform, and we tap into those core motivators. That’s what we’re really after: those intrinsic drivers that first brought the athletes to their sport.
It’s easy for athletes’ focus to drift to the pressures and expectations of competing. They want to achieve a specific goal or a targeted outcome. And that’s fine. But when we hold our focus on those reasons alone, we can sometimes lose the primary reasons that we began playing the sport in the first place. That’s what often leads to mental fatigue and burnout.
On the other hand, if we’re conscious of what we’re attending to, and how much pressure we’re putting on ourselves, and if we routinely tap back into those initial motivators and remember the reasons we love the game we play, we’re less apt to burn out, and more likely sustain our passion and energy for the game in good times and bad.