Getting In The Zone: How To Be a Superhero Part 2 - Defending Against Our Super-Villain


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Doc Ali’s Tight Mind Monday 5-22-17: Defending Against Our Super-Villain

Last week, our Tight Mind Monday looked at the qualities you need to have to be a super-hero in the gym and reach your summer goals. This week we will look at the things that get in our way. What are the challenges that stop us and cause us to feel defeated, and scared? Just as Superman has his Kryptonite, we all have a “super-villain” that lives inside of us. Our super-villain uses the weapons of fear, frustration and doubt in order to block us from achieving our goals. This week, we will identify our inner super-villain, recognize his tactics, and plan our defense against him.

Here are your Tight Mind Tips:

Recognize the super-villain
If you don’t know who your super-villain is it’s hard to defeat him. Imagine not knowing what your arch-rival looks like. He could surprise you anywhere, jumping out when you least expect it. It’s important to know what triggers your negative spiraling in the gym so you can be prepared. What brings out your super-villain? Is it fear? Or missing the same skill over and over again? Is it when you compare yourself to others? Or possibly when you worry that your coaches are disappointed in you? Identify the situations in the gym that trigger your negative thinking. Then, when those situations happen, you can be ready for action!

Know your super-villain’s language
Negative situations and challenges are always going to happen in the gym. The trick is understanding the self-talk you use when these situations occur. What kind of self-talk does your super-villain use in stressful situations? Does he or she say to you, “You can’t do that. Just give up!” or “This is too hard for you.” When you can predict and prepare yourself for the negative thought weapons your super-villain hurls your way, you can defend against them quickly.  

Plan your defense
Now that we know the situations that trigger your arch enemy and the things he says to defeat, we can plan our defense strategy. One tool we can use is called SBT Go (Stop, Breathe, Tight mind, Go)! The first thing will will do is shock your inner super-villain by saying to ourselves, “STOP!” or “Don’t go there!” Our next step will be to take a deep breath. Practice breathing in confidence or determination. Finally, flood your mind with tight mind thoughts. Positive thoughts are the perfect weapon against the villain. No super-villain can escape from thoughts like, “I’ve got this”, “Nothing stops me,” or “Tight Mind”.  

This week, not only be your super-hero in the gym but be ready for any negative situation that comes your way. Use SBT Go and POW! that super-villain will be running scared. But stay on the lookout, because you never know when he’ll be back for revenge!  

Alison Arnold Ph.D. has been a mental toughness consultant to USA Gymnastics since 1997. For more information of Doc Ali and her summer on-line bootcamps, go to