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5 Most Mentally Challenging Sports

Those who do not play sports are not familiar with the mental concentration it takes to pay some. A great deal of sports is indeed played in your mind, sometimes your own inner voices shaking the confidence out of you like a cold sweat.

When it comes to team or individual sports, athletes have described both team and individual sports as mentally challenging. Here is a list of the most mentally challenging sports:

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1. Baseball

As physically demanding as the sport is when it’s your time to step on the diamond, the downtime leaves you with your thoughts for a great deal of the game. Too much time to think and you can psyche yourself out of even tapping the ball with your bat.

Despite what many think, a great deal of muscle memory goes into playing baseball. Visualize the best techniques you know before, during, and after practicing each one to prepare your muscles to best execute each. Having trouble landing many hits in succession may shake your focus, which is why a steeled mind is required.

Visualizing where you are sending the ball is as important as visualizing how you will get yourself to that base. Hold fast to the belief that your hits and runs will be good.

2. Golf

Considered one of the most challenging sports in the world, a rookie or professional with the right mindset can experience great joy playing the game. Playing the sport of golf is always challenging, regardless of your skill level.

According to the late, great Arnold Palmer, “The whole secret to mastering the game of golf – and this applies to the beginners as well as the pro – is to cultivate a mental approach to the game that will enable you to shrug off the bad days, keep patient and know in your heart that sooner or later you will be back on top.”

Most professionals have a pre-round routine or pre-shot routine to psyche themselves up and prepare mentally. How one evaluates their own performance may also have an effect on the player’s mental focus.

The movie Happy Gilmore showed us how the smallest of annoyances can completely ruin our performance on the course. Remain calm between holes, maintain your steely focus, and take the round back from your competition.

3. Tennis

The majority of us are no stranger to violently tossing a racket after a frustrating round of tennis. In addition to being one of the most physically demanding, it is also one of the more mentally challenging sports. Professionals are no stranger to their performance being affected by shaken nerves just before a major event.

Tomas Berdych says “The mental side is an important part of the tennis puzzle. If you are able to master all areas of being a professional athlete, you can be successful. My mental coach has taught me very simple things, such as creating a system and a routine in your daily life that helps you to work.”

There are many pros in the sport that have a team psychologist to help them through the toughest of mental blocks. Because the court’s a one-on-one area, it is important to keep your mental focus on the game and avoid taking notice of outside events.

Train to bring your focus back to the game just as much as you practice a backhanded serve.

4. Gymnastics

Gymnastics is a sport that requires a great deal of coordination, muscle memory, and laser focus. The acrobatic moves involved in the sport require a great deal more strength than most people believe it would.

One of the most common things for a gymnast to do is compete against themselves, often criticizing their own performance for missing a mark they hit two times before.

“Everything is about your movements and precision and timing, which is what gymnastics is about,” says Shawn Johnson.

Requiring both self-discipline and determination, typical practice schedules are 5 days a week, consisting of sessions 3 hours or longer in length.

Gymnastics requires complete and total mental focus on achieving your goal. Losing one’s focus during a complicated or aerial routine can spell disastrous consequences.

5. Swimming

You wouldn’t think swimming would be such a mental sport, right? Indeed it requires an athletic build, but it also requires great mental focus as well. Swimmers often fall into something called the ‘7-day self-sabotage cycle,’ where they cast doubts on their abilities and stress more than necessary.

Elka Graham says, “In training, everyone focuses on 90% physical and 10% mental, but in races, it’s 90% mental because there’s very little that separates us physically at the elite level.”

Whether the practice is mental or physical, it’s all about preparing for the next big swim.

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