Winning the mind game is key to winning gold

4:16 PM, Aug 9, 2012   |    comments
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By Heidi Glaus

St. Louis (KSDK) - It is the moment Olympians have trained for, but when that starting shot is fired the mind game might be even more important than that first step out of the starting blocks.

"Once you know what you're doing it really is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical at that point," explained Tami Eggleston, a woman with many titles including Professor of Psychology at McKendre University, but she's also on the United States Olympic Committee Sport Psychology Registry.

That means she works with almost every team on campus and is available to all of our Olympians.

"It doesn't really matter what level you're at you're issues are pretty much the same. I know it sounds odd, but the stress of going for olympic gold isn't much different than a 13 year old having stress cause they're in a little league game," Eggleston pointed out.

That also means there are several things we can learn from Olympians.

"Think about the time you did not perform very well and the time that you did perform really well and really spend some time comparing those two and it sounds simple but do less of that and more of that," Eggleston explained.

She also says the best of the best have prepared for the worst.

"So two weeks before a big event, two weeks before a presentation, two weeks before a family vacation think about all the bad things could happen and try to prep for them, but then on the day of the big event you got to just be positive and go do it," Eggleston said.

The SMART method is one more tool you can put in your toolbox.

"The S stands for find a goal that is significant to you," Eggleston added.

M reminds you to find a measurable goal. A is for adjustable and R is to be sure it's a realistic goal.

"And the T on this smart method is time bound. It's really easy to say someday I'm going to get my college degree, someday I'm going to get my masters but that someday never comes. So you really want to set goals for yourself and say by the time I'm 25, I'm going to go back to college," Eggleston said.


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