Mental Toughness Homework – Positive Thinking

Positive Thinking Games

Focusing on the positive or “reframing” things that don’t go as planned, help to make a more confident, adaptable athlete.  This builds mental toughness and makes gymnasts capable of accepting anything that comes their way.  Here are some fun activities that will help develop positive thinking and improve confidence. 

1.  Recognizing Positive Behavior

First brainstorm a list of positive behaviors. (Example someone who gives credit to others, smiles, says thank you, listens without being judgmental and absorbs negative behavior with tolerance, etc.) Think of people who exhibit these characteristics.  Do people like this person?  Why do you think that is?


2.  The “Glad” Game

The character Pollyanna from the Disney movie of the same name plays a positive thinking game she calls “the glad game.” This game helps increase positive thinking habits. One person brings up a negative event, such as losing a job or a bowling league tournament, and starts off saying something like, “My coach won’t let me leave balance beam.” Other players provoke the first player to think positively by starting off a phrase, such as, “But because you get to stay on beam, you’ll have more time to–blank.” The first player fills in the blank with a positive word or phrase, like “practice your skills,” or “get your cartwheel better than anyone else’s.” Searching for the silver lining in even a relatively disastrous event is the optimistic basis for the “glad game.”

 3.  Hunt for Happiness

A positive-thinking scavenger hunt game is suitable for children and adults. Children or adults make a list of things that they feel make life worth living. For children, Fishful Thinking says to have them work up a list of animals, people or places that make them happy or bring smiles to their faces. Parents or teachers then help the children spend about an hour on a scavenger hunt, searching for as many items on the list as possible. Once the child discovers an item, she can place a sticker on or draw a smiley face next to the item.

 4.  Egg-Balancing Game

A potentially messy game that requires plenty of positive thinking is the egg-balancing game, in which an individual has to balance the wider part of a raw egg on a flat, somewhat textured tabletop. This exercise is possible, but requires patience and a positive attitude. Hard-boiled eggs won’t work, since they tend to wobble and fall over because of the weight of the cooked yolk at the bottom. If players are unable to stand the egg upright, all is not lost. Sprinkle a small mound of salt on the table and balance the egg in it. Having the person resort to using salt illustrates that many things are possible but may require some outside-the-box thinking to achieve.

5.  Commercial Campaign

After playing these games, make a 30 sec. video using Instagram, Vine, your iPhone, etc. that advertises yourself as a gymnast.  Sell yourself as Wildcard’s best gymnast.  You can use video, pictures, graphics, etc.  Be creative!  Send your video to or upload it to the Wildcard Facebook page, tweet it, etc.  We want to see those videos!  

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