What is Mental Training?

What is Mental Training?

When we talk about mental training, we’re referring to all actions and tools that we use to improve our capacity for concentration, focus, and the management and control of emotions that help us cope with the requirements of the activity we are carrying out.

Being able to control situations and possible eventualities during a sporting event, competition or training will determine its success.

Paying attention to training resilience and focus is the key to mental training and improved performance in our sports practice and training.

Importance to the athlete

There are countless authors and coaches who point out the great difference between those athletes who are able to control certain emotions during a sporting event (anger, excitement, exaltation, etc.) and those who are not able to control certain situations, losing focus on the game or competition.

The development and improvement of mental processes, mental and psychological qualities becomes a cornerstone for professional sportsmen and women in order to develop their full potential.

Maintaining optimal levels of motivation allows us to continue our training programmes without ups and downs and to be able to perform at our best during training sessions and/or competitions.

But it’s not just concentration that it helps, it also aids the learning of technique, motor skills and exercise execution, which makes it particularly interesting when it comes to performance and creating training programmes.


Establishing certain daily habits to improve our mentality, control emotions and external or internal factors, as well as cognitive skills that cause discomfort or anxiety, will allow us to cope better with certain situations and relativise many others, minimising the negative effects of poor emotional control.

Importance of Mental Training for the athlete

To be able to improve attention and focus during training.

It allows a better development of the same and, therefore, a direct improvement in the connections at neuronal level with a positive effect on the development of our motor skills and strength gains, for example.

Having better control over the different heightened emotions will also help the athlete to stay focussed on the present and be better prepared to deal with both positive and negative situations in the most efficient way possible.

How to do mental training?

Here are 3 practical exercises for mental training, the purpose of which is to work synergistically between our body and mind.

Remember, our Body-Mind are a whole.

With my athletes, for example, we try to include specific sessions to improve concentration, attention, and relaxation prior to training. This helps us create the perfect environment for optimal training performance.

When performing mental training exercises, it’s best to find a quiet space and environment, free from noise and anything that might impact your concentration, with the perfect temperature, etc.

Subvocal training

This practice is essentially based on mentally going over the movements, exercise sequences, the task we’re going to perform. It’s a way of repeating internally what and how the task is carried out, from start to finish.

We create our own “Jiminy Cricket”.

For example, a squat: we mentally sense the starting position, when we will catch our breath, that we will push our feet hard into the ground on the way up, and that we will bring our hips slightly backwards.

Perception training

In this practical exercise, we will be “looking at ourselves from the outside”, i.e. as if we were the spectator of ourselves.

In these cases, recall is important.

How to do mental training?

This practice allows us to observe how we do it more objectively and to make corrections and adjustments in each case, taking into account environmental conditions.

For example: record yourself several times performing an exercise, in a competition, and from there create that external vision to be able to correct when you are training.

Ideomotor training

Without a doubt, this practice is the one I use the most with my athletes and I find it vital to improve the skills and technical execution of each exercise. It is about feeling the movement to its fullest extent.

It works from an internal perspective.

For me, this technique is perfect to work on that union and mind-body connection that will allow us to be in a state of “flow”.

Other aspects of mental training

Like any other exercise in your training programme in any of the sport disciplines, you should include these new habits progressively and evaluate what works best for you. Pay attention to the following mental exercises:

  • Don’t forget to create your space in time and environment to be able to work better on these new mental skills.
  • These new habits will not only improve your athletic performance, but also your quality of life.
If you want to go deeper and develop this topic further, it is best to seek the help of a professional sports psychologist.

Related Entries

  • In a previous article, we shared other mental training techniques that can help you create a full programme of exercises to train your mind and improve your performance.
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About Isabel del Barrio
Isabel del Barrio
Isabel del Barrio really loves sport, demonstrating it from a very young age and sharing her enthusiasm and knowledge to this day
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