Are You a Mentally Tough Performer? Pt. 2

mental_toughness2In Are You a Mentally Tough Performer?  Pt. 1 we discussed how important it is for performers to be mentally tough and that mental toughness is simply having effective mental skills that allow for fearless, exciting performing.  The Level I Skills include Attitude, Motivation, Goal Setting, and Commitment—basic life habits and skills that are developed early in life.

Mental Skills Needed To Perform Your Best Under Pressure:  The mental skills that performers need to be mentally tough can be considered within the following hierarchy.

 Mental Skills

The Level II Skills:  MENTAL IMAGERY, SELF-TALK, FOCUS, EMOTIONAL CONTROL are your psychological habits and skills that aid in your preparation and practice prior to performing.    Many performers may not even be aware that they use or need these skills.  For this reason performers  need to cultivate and build their Level II Skills to perform well or perform better under pressure.

What thought choices and habits do mentally tough performers make and have about the following Level II skills?

MENTAL IMAGERY
Mentally strong performers prepare for competition and performance by visualizing preparing and performing well.  Mental imagery and mental rehearsal is an incredible preparation tool for performers.  It involves creating and using mental images—visual, aural, and kinesthetic—that are detailed, specific, & realistic.  Performers can use imagery during competition to prepare for action and to recover from errors and unsatisfying performances.  READ MORE about MENTAL IMAGERY
 
SELF-TALK
Mentally tough performers maintain self-confidence during difficult times with realistic, positive self-talk.  They have learned to talk to themselves the way they talk to their own best friend—encouraging, honest, and committed.   Performers who use self-talk to regulate their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors prior, during, and after competition or performance find themselves more calm and able to perform at high levels.  READ MORE about SELF-TALK
 
FOCUS
Successful performers identify what they need to pay attention to during each practice, rehearsal, or performance.  This includes identifying what is likely to distract them or pull their focus so they can devise ways to resist these distractions, whether they come from the environment or from within.  Performers need to practice shifting their focus back quickly, when distracted and learn how to perform in the HERE & NOW, without regard to either past or anticipated future events.  READ MORE about FOCUS
 
EMOTIONAL CONTROL
The last, but certainly not least, of the Level II skills is extremely important for performers.  Performance, by its very nature, is a highly-charged experience.  Mentally tough performers accept strong emotions such as excitement, anxiety, and disappointment as part of musical performance.   They learn to use these emotions to improve and to motivate themselves, rather than let them interfere with high level practice or performance.  It is vital for performers to recognize and accept that some degree of anxiety, arousal, or excitement can help you perform well and learn how to reduce anxiety when it becomes too strong or interferes with performance, without losing the intensity necessary to perform their best. 
 
Next time we will discuss the Level III Skills that performers need to perform their best when it matters most. 
 
Want to learn more about how to develop your own unique pre-performance routine and your most effective mindset? Then, check out The Relaxed Musician:  Mental Preparation for Confident Performances, A 14-Day Plan   Download Day 1 of the workbook and audio to see how the program can work for you.  With purchase, you will receive 2 great bonuses—Your Pre-Performance Checklist and the e-book, Letting Go of the Need to be Perfect!
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