By Jimmy Page
“Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind...” – Romans 12:2
“We think multitasking makes us more productive, but it destroys concentration.”
Yogi Berra once said, “Baseball is 90 percent mental, and the other half is physical.” While Yogi’s math might be a little off, he is right on target with the importance of training the mind.
Unfortunately, American culture has created weak-minded, undisciplined, unfocused people. We think multi-tasking makes us more productive, but it destroys concentration. We drink coffee, talk on the cell phone, watch TV, surf the web and IM our friends all at once. And we want everything instantly.
Every athlete understands the need for physical training, but many neglect to train mentally. And even fewer know how to do it. Top performance depends on an athlete’s ability to focus, play with confidence and remain composed in the heat of battle. In short, each must have mental toughness. An athlete must be so thoroughly focused and prepared mentally that he or she acts instinctively (without thinking) even when the crowd is going nuts.
Our Creator knows the power of our minds more than anyone. After all, He designed us. He even goes so far as to say that if we want to be different, if we want to be exceptional, if we want to be able to follow Him even when life gets tough, it all depends on our minds. Real transformation that gives us the power to live the life that God intends starts with how we think.
When the Israelites looked out at the great giant Goliath, they were terrified. They thought they couldn’t win. They lost courage, they lost hope, and they were paralyzed by fear. Then David came along and saw how small the giant was when compared to the size of his God. He thought differently about the challenge before him. He put his trust in the power of God. He wouldn’t let any negative thought creep in or discourage him, even when his brothers laughed at him.
In his book Golf is Not a Game of Perfect, sports psychologist Dr. Bob Rotella uses a balance beam to illustrate the power of the mind. If you lay a 4-inchwide balance beam on the floor and tell people to walk from one end to the other, they do it with ease. If you then suspend that beam 40 feet off the ground and don’t put a net below, the task can seem impossible. Physically, the task is the same; but mentally, everything has changed.
Here are some mental training tips to help you start “renewing” your mind:
1. Take every thought captive. Eliminate negative thoughts and words that bring doubt, defeat
and discouragement (see 2 Corinthians 10:5).
2. Focus on the power of God rather than the size of the challenge.
3. Turn off the TV, cell phone and computer. They shorten your attention span significantly.
4. Spend at least 15 minutes each day in relative silence, praying and meditating on God’s
5. Do one thing at a time. Focus on completing the task before you move on to something else.
6. Prepare for your sport by visualizing each part of the game. See yourself performing at your
peak, even in high–pressure situations.
7. Create training, practice and pre–game routines that you follow in preparation for your
8. Get plenty of rest. When you are tired your ability to concentrate diminishes significantly.
Take a few days to examine the way you think. You may find that most of the obstacles and limits you face in sports and in life are really “all in your mind.”