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Healthy Mindset 01

Updated: Apr 20, 2023





Healthy Mindset for Athletes & Workplace Athletes


Helping Athletes Achieve Their Dreams and Goals

While Being Mindful of Everything in Life!

By Mike Hartman


 



Disclaimer


© Copyright 2022 by Mike Hartman and EchoNet Media, Inc.

All rights reserved.

It is not legal to reproduce, duplicate, or transmit any part of this document in either electronic means or printed format. Recording of this publication is strictly prohibited. The advice in this book is not a substitution for seeking advice from a medical professional.


 




Introduction

I was never supposed to make it. I was too short and too small and made up for it by being too slow. Everyone agreed there was absolutely no way I would ever become a professional hockey player. Everyone agreed, that is, except for me. I believed, and because I believed, I made believers out of my family, friends, coaches, and eventual teammates. I believed, and I worked. I believed, and I sweated. I believed, and I learned. I believed, and I planned. I believed and worked, sweated, learned and planned even more. Some people would see my situation and give up. I lived my situation and used the inadequacies people saw as fuel to make myself better. I’d prove to them I had what it took. Because I would not give up, because I worked hard and because I made the most out of what talent I did have, I achieved my personal best. I became a professional hockey player in the National Hockey League. I made it. And so can you. Growing up in Oak Park, a small suburb of Detroit, Michigan, I knew from an early age that I loved one activity over any other. From the first time I watched one of the older neighbor boys strap on his skates and pick up his well-worn wooden hockey stick, I knew hockey would be a driving force in my life. Fortunately for me, I came from an athletic family. My dad, who owned a wallpaper store, had played sports for most of his youth growing up and was a photographer for the Detroit Red Wings hockey team. My mom, who didn’t work outside the house, was a fantastic athlete. Growing up, she had been an excellent sprinter and baseball player.

Although I didn’t know it then, I was fortunate. Because my parents knew what it was like to fall in love with and excel in a sport, they were more accommodating of my desire to play hockey than they might have been. I wanted to join the Oak Park Rangers, the local house league team. The house league was a community hockey league full of local kids from the neighborhood, coached by parents and featuring what could only barely be called hockey because it was played on ice with sticks. The Oak Park house league was about as far away from the National Hockey League as possible, but it was where I could start. I battered my parents again and again. I knew I could play. Over the years I played in the house league, I can’t count the number of times I got knocked down or run over. But each time I got knocked down, I got right back up, determined that it wasn’t going to happen again. My coaches worried my small size would make it impossible for me to play effectively, but I saw it as a plus. Because I didn’t have the size and strength a lot of the other kids did, I found myself burning with a fire to prove myself every time I strapped on my skates. I made myself skate harder, skate faster and play harder every day. I made the willpower I would need to get better. I focused on doing the best I could in school, even though I didn't like homework because my parents stressed the importance of education. They were right. The first time I tried out for a travel hockey team, I didn't make it. I wasn’t good enough yet. But then my dad said something that changed my life. “When you try out the next time, you’ll just need to make sure your best is even better than it was today. That’s all.” I know some people might have taken the failed tryout as a sign that they should give up hockey (or baseball, or basketball, or football, or making the quiz team in school), but I couldn’t. I love hockey. I wasn’t going to give it up. I wasn’t going to give up my dream of becoming a player in the National Hockey League.

I had to get better. By the time my dad and I got home, I was more determined than ever to achieve my goal. I would dedicate myself to improving my game. The thing was, though, before I could improve, I needed to know what to improve. For that, I looked to the coach’s evaluation. He had some specific issues with my game. Even though it hurt to remember what he said when he cut me from the travel team, the coach knew what he was talking about. He certainly knew more than I did, so I needed to take his advice and apply it to my life. His words formed the basis for my hockey- improvement plan. That was one of the hardest lessons I had to learn. Even when I didn’t want to hear someone tell me I wasn’t good enough, I had to be strong enough and mature enough to listen to what was said and use that advice to improve my performance. Throughout my career in the NHL and, really, in all of hockey, I was never a finesse player. I was known as a hard, physical player, someone who was more of a grinder or a digger than what’s known as a skill player. But I didn’t mind that. I was okay with that. I knew my strengths and weaknesses very well and decided to work within them to improve them. I saw what I was good at and tried to get better. I listened to my coaches to find my challenge areas and worked to reduce those areas or turn them into strengths. That’s what enabled me to make it to the NHL. The secret to my success as a player then and as a coach now is that I found what I was good at – being a hard worker, someone willing to do anything and do it at top speed at any time – and applied those strengths to help my team win. Before you can contribute to a winning team, you have to find the one thing you do very well. Never give up on your dreams, and never, ever expect that the journey you’ll take on the way to achieving those dreams will be easy. It’s the difficulty that makes achieving that dream all the more worthwhile. I can’t imagine how empty I would feel if I had given up on my dreams. The ache of unfulfilled dreams must surely be the worst pain of all. The pain of a twisted ankle barely able to fit into a skate is nothing compared to what I would have felt had I given up on my dream of playing in the NHL. There are millions of different dreams in the world and millions of different paths to finding fulfillment, but there is only one way to get to these different destinations. You need to find something you love, something you’re passionate about and then work your hardest to get there. Most important of all, though, is to remember to have fun on your way. If you enjoy yourself on the way to your goal, it will be all the sweeter when you achieve it. Achieving your personal best isn’t something you can do over the course of an hour or a week, or even a month. It takes long hours, a great plan and the dedication to see it through. It takes establishing a healthy mindset and taking the time to learn everything you can about what it is you’re trying to achieve. It takes making a commitment to improving every day, no matter how small the improvement may be. Most importantly, it takes believing in yourself even when everyone else says it’s impossible. Throughout my career as a professional hockey player, I benefited from having great coaches and mentors. Combined with my strong drive to improve my game no matter what it took, these coaches and mentors were able to make me a better hockey player and a better man. Once I retired from hockey, I started looking around for a fulfilling career to take the place of professional sports. That’s when I realized I had a real obligation to pay forward the incredible guidance I received when I was growing up and during my career. One of the most important things I learned while growing up is that it’s very important to have a plan. You need to talk with mentors, friends, family and others with knowledge of your goals to get all the information you can. Once you have your information, you can break it down into achievable steps that will lead to your goal. A lot of people say that life is a marathon; you keep running and running, having to hoard your energy for the hard work just down the line. I don’t believe that. Life is a series of short sprints, and it’s all about recovering energy between those sprints. That rest and recovery are what give you the energy to run flat-out as fast and as good as you can during the next sprint. If you’re running a marathon, in the end, you’re exhausted and have nothing left to give. In a sprint, you can focus on that sprint and give everything you’ve got, with no worry about saving something for later because you know you’ll be able to rest and recover when the sprint is over. Put together enough winning sprints, and you’ll have run that marathon, but you’ll have run harder and stronger than the person who never stopped but never ran as hard as he could. When I finished playing professional hockey, I became a performance mindset coach to try and help other people achieve their dreams. I’ve been fortunate that I was able to play with and learn from some of the best leaders and players in the National Hockey League and throughout my hockey career. Everything I learned as a hockey player, I’ve taken and applied to my calling as a performance mindset coach. I established Hartman.Academy to work with athletes, coaches and anyone who wants to get better at what they do. I realized quickly that people who were not involved in sports still could benefit from the lessons I’d already learned in hockey and in life. This workbook combines lessons learned from mentors, coaches and players, along with observations and insight gained through talking with folks through the years. It will help you establish a plan to work towards achieving your personal best and realizing your dreams. No matter what your goal is, big or small, you need a plan and the dedication to see it through.


 




Chapter 1: The Importance of a Healthy Mindset

Mindfulness for athletes is an important practice to have. This workbook will help you understand mindfulness and how it can help improve your athletic performance whether you are a student-athlete, a workplace athlete, or someone who just likes to stay in shape. Athletes often face a lot of stress, both physically and mentally. Mindfulness can help them learn how to deal with this stress in a healthy way and improve their overall performance. As you move through the workbook, take your time to understand each concept and answer the questions thoughtfully. Each chapter builds on the last, and by the end, you will have a mindfulness plan to put into action. Mindfulness can help athletes in many different ways. It can improve focus, concentration, and mental clarity.

What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is a concept that many athletes have embraced in recent years. This practice, which involves paying close attention to all aspects of the present moment, has been shown to improve performance and reduce stress. By tuning into your physical sensations, thoughts, and emotions in a nonjudgmental way, you can learn to be more present and focused on your training. This, in turn, can help you get more out of your workouts and achieve even greater levels of athletic success. Whether you're just starting out or looking to reach the next level, becoming skilled at mindfulness can be a powerful tool for any athlete.

Why is a healthy mindset important for athletes? A healthy mindset can help athletes in many different ways. It can improve focus, concentration, and mental clarity. For example, if an athlete is feeling anxious before a big race, mindfulness can help them calm their mind and focus on the task at hand. Additionally, a healthy mindset has been shown to reduce stress levels and improve sleep quality, both of which are important for peak performance. While there are many benefits to a healthy mindset, it's important to remember that it is a practice that takes time and effort to master. Like anything else, the more you commit to it, the better your results will be. With patience and practice, you can learn how to use mindfulness to enhance your athletic performance.


How can I start practicing mindfulness? If you're new to mindfulness, there are many ways to get started. One easy way is to simply pay attention to your breath. As you inhale and exhale, focus on the sensations of your breath moving in and out of your body. If your mind starts to wander, simply bring your attention back to your breath. You can also try other healthy mindset exercises, such as walking meditations. Dr. Scott Greenapple has been in private practice since 1986. He has been involved with Sports Medicine and Injury prevention for over 30 years. He is a six-time member of the U.S. medical staff for Triathlon and Duathlon and has traveled and treated at the World Championships in Europe, and the U.S. Dr. Greenapple has worked with all sports at the highest level with the NFL, NBA, PGA, WNBA, NHL, MLB, Olympic Gold Medalists, Collegiate, High School and Youth athletes. According to Greenapple, “Mindfulness by definition is paying attention on purpose with intention and attention without judgment. The key is to just be aware, becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable and training the mind to be less reactive with its negativity bias, learning to let go and begin again without judgment. The brain is malleable. It can be re-wired and trained. This is called neuroplasticity. What you practice grows stronger.” He continued, “The use of the breath is a good and easy way to begin. You always have the breath with you, and you have been breathing all your life, so this is an easy anchor to start with. Just focus on the inhale and then the exhale. It only takes 1-3 focused breaths to change the patterns of your thoughts and your responses” (Greenapple, 2022). Throughout this workbook, there are exercises to guide you in finding the ways to achieve a healthy mindset, not just as an athlete, but as a student, an employee, a child, a parent, and through all walks of life.

What are the benefits of practicing mindfulness? Mindfulness has been shown to improve focus, concentration, and mental clarity. Additionally, mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress levels and improve sleep quality, both of which are important for peak performance. Some other benefits of mindfulness include increased self- awareness, decreased negative thinking, improved relationships, and enhanced well-being. With regular practice, you can experience these benefits and more.

Improved Focus Any athlete knows that there are a lot of mental games that go along with physical training. Learning how to focus and block out distractions is a key part of becoming a successful athlete. When athletes are able to focus on the present moment, they can better utilize their energy and resources. They're also less likely to be sidetracked by outside factors that could impact their performance. For example, if an athlete is worrying about the outcome of a race, they're not going to be as focused on their breathing or their stride. However, if they're able to focus on the present moment and stay in the moment, they'll be more likely to have a successful race. Mental toughness is an essential part of being a successful athlete, and it all starts with learning how to focus on the present moment. Golfer Tiger Woods is known for his focus. He has faced a lot of adversity throughout his career, but he has always been able to stay focused on his goals. In fact, after winning the 2019 Masters Tournament, Tiger credited his focus and discipline for his victory. Although he hadn't had a great season, he kept telling himself that it wasn't over yet. In an interview after his win, he kept stating that he just focused on the fact that the tournament wasn't over yet, even on the 18th hole.

If you want to be a successful athlete, learning how to focus is essential. And mindfulness can help you do just that.

Improved Concentration Having a healthy mind is a key skill for athletes both on and off the field. By cultivating an ability to concentrate on the task at hand, athletes can better manage distractions and stay focused during training. This is essential for reaching peak performance and avoiding injury. Moreover, having an awareness of one's own body and mind helps athletes to anticipate challenges before they occur, strengthening their ability to react to difficult situations quickly. Kevin Durant is an NBA player for the Golden State Warriors. He has won two NBA Finals MVP Awards, four NBA scoring titles, one NBA Most Valuable Player Award, and two Olympic gold medals. As a professional athlete, Durant has to be able to concentrate on the task at hand. If he isn't focused, he could make a mistake that could cost his team the game. Mistakes are costly in the NBA, and players have to be able to focus on the task at hand in order to avoid them. In an interview, Durant spoke about how important concentration is for him as a professional athlete. He said, "I think concentration is key in anything you do in life, whether it's playing basketball or just living day- to-day. If you can control your thoughts and really focus on what's important, I think you'll be successful." As an athlete, if you want to be successful, you need to learn how to concentrate. Mindfulness can help you do just that.

Improved Mental Clarity In order for athletes to perform at their best, they need to have mental clarity. This means being able to focus on the task at hand and not letting outside distractions or thoughts impact their performance. When an athlete is able to maintain mental clarity, they are able to enter "the zone" where they are completely focused on the task at hand and are able to block out all other distractions. This allows them to perform at their highest level and achieve peak performance. There are a number of techniques that athletes can use to help them maintain mental clarity, such as visualization, positive self-talk, and breathing exercises. By using these techniques, athletes can ensure that they are able to stay focused and perform at their best. One professional athlete who is known for his mental clarity is LeBron James. He has played for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat. He is a three-time NBA champion, four-time NBA MVP, and two-time Olympic gold medalist. Known as one of the greatest players in the NBA, LeBron James is a master of mental clarity. He is able to block out all distractions and focus on the task at hand. This allows him to perform at his highest level and achieve peak performance. In order to maintain mental clarity, LeBron uses a number of techniques, such as visualization, positive self-talk, and breathing exercises. With so many benefits to mindfulness, it's no wonder that so many coaches around the world encourage their athletes to incorporate this powerful strategy into their training. Phil Jackson, known for his work with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, is a firm believer in the power of a healthy mind, and he has seen first-hand how it can help athletes perform at their best. In an interview, he said, "I think mindfulness is probably the most important thing that any human being can do to develop his or her full potential." Jackson isn't the only one who believes in the power of a healthy mind. More and more coaches are beginning to see the benefits of incorporating this practice into their athlete's training. As the evidence continues to mount, there is no doubt that mindfulness will continue to gain popularity among athletes and coaches alike.

Lowered Stress and Improved Performance A healthy mind can help athletes deal with stress and improve performance in a number of ways. First, having a healthy mind can help athletes to stay focused on the task at hand. By practicing mindfulness, athletes learn how to concentrate and block out distractions. This allows them to stay focused and perform at their best.

Increased Self-Awareness Increasing self-awareness is another benefit of having a healthy mind. When athletes are able to be more aware of their thoughts and emotions, they can better control them. This allows them to manage their stress levels and stay in the moment. As a result, they are able to perform at a higher level and achieve greater success. On the field, court, ice, etc. being self-aware can allow you to control your actions and reactions during the game or during practice. If you know what is going on inside your head, then you can better control it. The ability to stay in the moment and allow all of the other things to fall away during a game is a powerful tool that all athletes can benefit from. In one study, college football players who practiced mindfulness reported feeling less anxious and more relaxed during their games. They also had lower levels of cortisol, a hormone that is released in response to stress (Rooks, 2017). The benefits of having a healthy mind are clear. For athletes, mindfulness can help to improve performance, lower stress levels, and increase self- awareness. If you're looking to improve your game, incorporating mindfulness into your training is a great place to start.

Increased Mental Toughness Mental toughness is regarded as a key performance asset for athletes. It is understood by those in competitive sports as the ability to sustain attention on the task-at-hand while under pressure, as well as in the face of distraction (Jones et al. 2002). A number of studies have found that a healthy mind can help to increase mental toughness in athletes. A study of collegiate rowers found that those who practiced mindfulness had increased levels of mental toughness (Kabat-Zinn, 2000). In the study, participants were given a four-week mindfulness training program. The results showed that the participants who received the mindfulness training had increased levels of mental toughness compared to those who did not receive the training. The same results were found with tennis players participating in a six-week mindfulness training program. Tennis player Serena Williams is known for her focus and her ability to stay calm on the court. "If you are behind in a game, it's so important to relax, and that's what I do -- when I'm behind in a game, that's when I become most relaxed. Just focus on one point at a time... just that sole point, and then the next one, and the next one," she has explained (Stillman, 2021). Williams slows down her perception so she can “keep her eye on the ball,” a technique that has led to her numerous wins. The only way to achieve this level of focus is through practice.

Improved Overall Health Having a healthy mind isn't just about the way you think. It's also about the conscious choices you make daily such as eating well, getting enough sleep, and setting goals. All of these things contribute to your overall health and can have a positive impact on your performance. When you're mindful of the choices you make, you're more likely to make ones that are good for you. You're also more likely to stick with them because you're aware of the benefits they provide. Making healthy choices becomes a habit, and that habit can lead to a healthier, happier, and more successful life. The benefits of having a healthy mind are clear. For athletes, having a healthy mind can help to improve performance, lower stress levels, and increase self-awareness. If you're looking to improve your game, incorporating mindfulness into your training is a great place to start.

So, what are you waiting for?







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Guest
Feb 20, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Learning to be more mindful has really helped me excel in all areas of my life. So glad I found Mike's program.

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Mike Hartman
Mike Hartman
Feb 21, 2023
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Thank You Lisa!!

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