Welcome to the kick off of my re-formatted, revised, refreshed, and re-focused weekly blog.

Each Friday, I’ll be back to provide information designed to aid youth athletes in becoming FIT4Success.

Every athlete wants to succeed.

Each week, I’ll share with you information to assist you in evaluating and developing your Mental, Emotional, Spiritual, and Physical FITness.

Why? Because they are the 4 drivers of athletic performance!

That’s why the FIT4Success Athlete Development System is like no other athlete development system.

The FIT4Success Athlete Development System is a personal development system for middle and high school athletes.

This blog will help you understand why becoming the best athlete you can possibly be requires more than physical skills.

We’ll discuss some of those. Along the way I’ll also discuss other components of Physical FITness you may not really think about much; things like sleep, nutrition, etc You’ll begin to understand some of the components that determine your level of Physical FITness.

Each week, going beyond the “silo” of Physical FITness, a Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual FITness factor will be discussed.

As time goes by, you’ll begin to see how they all impact each other.

You can’t just focus on becoming bigger, stronger, faster, etc.

Not if you want to become the best athlete you are capable of becoming!

If you want to reach the highest level you are capable of…

you must also know how your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs impact your ability to perform.

Then, you will bring all of those factors together; your Physical FITness, Mental FITness, Emotional FITness, and Spiritual FITness…and harness the power of integrating the full power of all 4 to skyrocket your performance! That’s the FIT4Success Athlete.

So, be sure to sign up to receive the weekly blog by email to make sure you don’t miss it!

Let’s get this kicked off!

Physical FITness Tip

I recently saw this Sports Illustrated article where the NBA is teaming up with Headspace, a mindfulness and meditation app.

Athletes for decades have used forms of visualization and sports imagery.

I wondered if this was something different or another variation.

We are talking about some of the best athletes in the world using the techniques of mindfulness and meditation.

I thought “if they are doing it, there must be value in it.”

So, I did what most anyone does these days, I did a google search.

Here is what I discovered.

There is a lot of information out there on meditation and mindfulness.

Some of the information is scientifically based and some is not.

Some of the information shows connections between meditation, mindfulness, and physical health benefits.

Breath control is something that is vital to success for every athlete. Shallow breathing creates many physical difficulties especially during competition. Proper breathing is vital to your success.

Mindfulness, meditation, and sports imagery techniques while having some similarities are not the same.

All can be incorporated into your development as an athlete.

What would happen if you tried it? What benefit might you see if you meditated daily for a month?

Here are 4 benefits one person discovered after meditating daily for 30 days.

Practicing regular mindfulness or meditation has been shown to improve sleep and reduce stress.

There are many different techniques; here are 5 you can explore using.

Mindfulness and meditation are areas I’ll be exploring more in the future. I think they fit more under Mental or Emotional FITness.

Yoga, Tai Chi and other physical techniques combine physical movement, breath control, and martial arts. I’ll explore some of these and include findings in a later blog.

Mental FITness Tip

I’m starting off with something every athlete must deal with.

STRESS.

Stress is part of every sport.

To reach your full potential as an athlete, you must be able to perform under significant stress.

Teen Vogue did an article about dealing with stress. It discusses 3 types of stress, some of the symptoms of stress, and techniques to reduce stress including mindfulness techniques such as those discussed above.

Eustress, as pointed out in the above linked article, is the stress we experience when we are in a competitive situation. It’s triggered by events, this produces adrenaline, and stress is necessary in order for us to perform at high levels.

Without stress we become bored and uninterested. We go through the motions.

When overstressed, our performance drops off as well as we become unable to perform effectively.

The key is identifying the appropriate and necessary level of stress necessary for peak performance.

Some call this the “performance zone.”

(Not to be confused with what many athletes refer to as being “in the zone” as that’s different).

This performance zone refers to an ideal “zone” to keep our stress level within during competition to aid in optimal performance.

Many things can impact your stress level during competition.

They include competition specific factors such as: level of skill of your competition, factors occurring during the game like bad calls, mistakes, letdowns, etc.

They also include factors that may have nothing to do with the competition such as: problems with boyfriend/girlfriend, conflict with family, lack of sufficient sleep, etc.

In order for you to perform at the height of your ability, you must be able to manage stress; both within and outside of our sport.

Emotional FITness Tip

Negative thoughts lead to negative feelings which results in negative performance.

Positive thoughts lead to positive feelings which results in positive performance.

That’s basic cognitive behavior theory. I’ve written about this before. Basically, know that there is a connection between your thoughts, feelings, and resulting performance as an athlete. Here is a link to read what I wrote about this before and get more detailed information.

Spiritual FITness Tip

Today, I’m going to provide you with two useful links.

The first is for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). FCA is an organization that provide many resources for the Christian athlete. You can check them out here.

The second is Athletes in Action. AIA is a ministry that also focuses on athletes and coaches. You can check them out here.