How Can an Amateur Athlete Train Their Mind?

31 July, 2020
Finding the right balance between mental health and athleticism is a feat. To do this, it's important to train your mind, which can help to increase your performance.

The right mindset of an amateur athlete can help them to meet their goals. In general, an athlete that’s not a professional will know the basics about their sport. Although perhaps, not the necessary information they need for the mental training of the sport. This can bring difficulties in certain moments of the competition.

The term “training” comes from the French “entrainer”, which means “preparing for a sport”. That’s to say, training consists of ensuring that an athlete is adequately prepared for the discipline. 

On this same line, mental training consists of conditioning your mind in different areas, such as emotions, motivation, stress, anxiety, or fear. The end goal of this preparation is that athletes can stay emotionally balanced when confronted with any result that surges from a competition.

The mind of an amateur athlete: the brain

A study from the University of California confirms that the brain produces chemicals that help reduce depression. The substances responsible are called GABA and are generated when a person performs a physical activity.

By creating routines, the brain generates new neuronal connections. These connections can help an amateur athlete learn new techniques, learn a new sport, or perfect previously acquired movements. That’s to say that if a person decides to learn and practice new skills for the sport they play, they’ll create new neuronal connections. With time these will permit them to reinforce their skills and remember what they’ve learned.


On the other hand, it’s important to note that the recommended activities to exercise these new neuronal connections don’t require force. On the contrary, they should be activities that work areas such as attention and concentration. 

Boxer concentrating

How to train the mind of an amateur athlete

Just with any training, it’s important to be committed to yourself. In this way, the athlete creates responsibility and a habit for each situation. Consistency is key, as they say. It’s important to invest at least 21 days in a change in order to form a habit.

It’s also worth mentioning that you don’t have to be a professional to be able to manage these tasks. The motive is that it won’t only help the athletic part, but also enhance the performance in every area of life of the person.

Training the mind

When beginning mental training, it’s recommended that, as a first step, you seek out the help of professionals in the case that you have any unresolved conflicts. In other words, a person with issues surrounding anger, lack of communication, impulsiveness, or anxiety, should search for professional help. In this way, they can ensure they have the tools for self-control and ensure that they have a trustworthy person nearby to help motivate them.


To work on your mental fitness, there are no complicated exercises needed. On the other hand, what you need to be armed with are written positive, motivating phrases, or perhaps you can play a game that helps with concentration and memory.

In a similar manner, aerobic exercises in the morning can help, as well as ensuring you have a proper diet. All of this is important, but the most important is having your objectives and goals clearly defined for the sport that you play.

Benefits of mental preparation

When an athlete develops a routine to help them concentrate, especially with professional help, they’ll develop a balance between what they want to project in the game and the way that they go about that. That’s to say, the athlete will be able to feel liberated and will develop more energy to meet new goals.

Billiards concentration

The benefits of mental training before a sport are various. Some of the benefits are:

  • Self-confidence. When you work on yourself, you’ll generate self-motivating thoughts that can help you meet your goals for your chosen sport. In addition, this can help you control your anxiety and fears that can surface in different circumstances.
  • Creation. Amateur athletes need to create strategies with their companions to prepare themselves before a game. During the week, they should begin new routines that will keep them active, increase their physical performance, and relieve stress.
  • Motivation. The influence of primary caretakers is fundamental so that athletes can be consistent in what they’re doing. Receiving support from your family, friends, and trainers will generate a positive change in your attitude.

Mental training for everyone

Every athlete, whether professional or not, needs to take care of both their mental and physical health. This will help them achieve their competitive commitments. Just as the word “training” suggests, it’s the preparation before an activity, which includes exercising the brain to generate new neuronal connections.

On this same line, passive activities such as memory games or yoga can help a person relieve themselves of negative emotions. In this way, it keeps an athlete physically active with new ideas for their game and helps them become emotionally balanced.

  • Linares. R (2001), Psicología del deporte: La ventaja deportiva psicológica. Una mirada distinta,  ED, Editorial Brujas, ISBN: 987-9452-39-9
  • García-Naveira. A. (2010). El psicólogo del deporte en el alto rendimiento: aportaciones y retos futuros. 31(3)
  • Maddock. R, Casazza. G,Fernandez y Maddock. D (2001) Acute Modulation of Cortical Glutamate and GABA Content by Physical Activity, 36 (8), Journal of Neuroscience , DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3455-15.2016
  • Srebro. R (2009). Ganar con Cabeza. Una guía completa de entrenamiento mental para el futbol. ED: Editorial Paidotribo, ISBN: 978-84-9910-117-0