If I had a nickel for every coach that agrees with the statement 'sports are 90% mental’ and then spends 0% of their time training like it, I’d have a whole lotta nickels.
But 90% of these coaches WANT to do mental training. So what’s the holdup? Two things- one real and one false. Meaning some of the excuse is not having the right tools, strategy or implementation plan and some of it is MINDSET (meaning the coaches mindset... weird, right?)
So we are going to bust these excuses AND give you a free bundle of solutions in our The Mind/Body Exercises: 5 Ways to Implement Mental Training into your Existing Practices.
I don’t have enough time is the mantra most of us use in our lives. It’s on a loop in our heads and it’s our knee jerk reaction to almost ANYTHING new. We often think of time as this limited resource that is always slipping through our fingers instead of something we can creatively alter to meet our needs.
That said, I know many of you have limited time with your athletes and (especially at younger ages) they absolutely need time in the gym. Mental training isn’t going to help your athletes if they can’t do a layup correctly or if they are completely out of shape. Physical training and skills matter a TON, but so does mental training. Do them together and save time.
Excuse Buster: Not having ‘enough’ time is a myth. We use time in the way we prioritize it.
Action: Make mental training work WITHIN your existing practices with our Mind/Body Exercises: 5 Ways to Implement Mental Training into your Existing Practices.
I have a few things to say about this. One is this: The problem is not your athletes not buying in, the problem is YOU not buying in.
Assume that with ANY change you may get resistant eye rolls, disinterest, and questioning. Who cares? You are the leader that decides how to help your athletes improve. If you are wishy washy about mental training, they will pick up on that and it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy- You have doubts, they pick up on it, it doesn’t work because no one believes in it, and everyone says ‘See?! It doesn't work.’
We don’t ask athletes if they want to do weight lifting, we know it’s good for them. We don’t tell them we are going to ‘try out’ a new warm up, we just DO It.
While I do believe it is in your best interest to work TOWARDS buy in, you shouldn't worry about it in the beginning.
Mental training improvements are not always obvious. For instance, you don’t get bigger muscles the way you do with weight training. That’s why with our Mind/Body exercises we talk about how to pull your athletes' awareness to the improvements they are making. And when you combine mental training with physical training, your athletes will EXPERIENCE the shifts in a way that is obvious and familiar to them.
Excuse Buster: If you are worried about your athletes having doubts, it’s because YOU have doubts.
Action: Do Mental Training WITH your athletes so you can see the benefits yourself AND help bring their attention to the incremental shifts that will happen with mindset work.
When we don’t believe something is going to work, we don’t invest in it. It’s as simple as that. When we KNOW something will give us the benefits we desire, we’ll move mountains to FIND the budget. You must decide FIRST to do something and then you can creatively find ways to do it. When you say ‘I don’t have the money’ you close your brain off to creative solutions. You literally will not be able to see a path forward.
If you aren’t ready to invest in mental training from a monetary standpoint. That’s OK. You aren’t there yet. You may never be there. And that’s OK. But it’s not a money issue, it’s a value issue.
The good news is that there are many free things you can do to start implementing mental training and seeing the benefits.
Excuse Buster: You may not have a pile of money laying around for mental training but when you decide to do things, you creatively find ways to make it happen.
Action: If you want to start without investing, that’s okay too, just do it. We have tons of free resources in the Mind/Body exercises below.
Let’s be honest, there may be a time to hire a mental training coach for your athletes, but until that happens, unclaimed time is wasted time. I believe that for most teams, the mindset coach they really need is YOU.
Because frankly, YOU are the one that is there with them every day. YOU are the one that knows their mindset challenges and YOU are the one they trust!
I KNOW it can feel overwhelming. You don’t know where to start. I KNOW it can feel like you aren’t prepared- but our job is to give you step by step material you can trust. And remember what you teach your athletes about growth; you can GROW into the mindset coach your team needs with the right approach.
Excuse Buster: Change your mindset. It’s true you may not be a mental training expert TODAY, but what can you be tomorrow?
Action: At your next practice, start mental training with our Mind/Body exercises. Better yet, start doing them yourself so you can LIVE what you teach.
I’ve been doing mental training for 20+ years now as a formal practice. And by formal, I mean I intentionally and consciously have worked on it- visualization, meditation, positive self-talk, breathing exercises, etc.
But one of my friends asked me the other day if I meditate every day. I don’t. At least not now. Since having kids, my mindset training has altered. While I do have a daily discipline (My Daily Mindset Beast), I’ve had to become more creative about how I get my mindset work in so that having kids doesn't just become an excuse.
One way I've done this is by combining mental and physical training.
And I realize that I’ve always done this. I’ve always made my physical training into mental challenges. That’s part of why I love exercise. To be honest, I used to think everyone did it.
But then I realized many people actually didn’t know how to integrate the body and mind into one exercise. Or coaches did, but they didn’t know how to teach it to athletes or make it an intentional part of practice. To help coaches do this, we developed The Mind/Body Exercises: 5 Ways to Implement Mental Training into your Existing Practices.
After all, mental training doesn’t happen in a vacuum. We all know that. It’s when the body AND the mind work together that true magic happens. That’s why it’s so important that mental training is practiced as an isolated skill AND as part of the integrated whole.
It’s sort of like how even professional basketball players still do layup drills (to isolate the skill), and they also scrimmage so those layups are done at game speed (as part of the whole).
I believe isolated mental training is IMPORTANT, but it's also important to have specific mind/body mental training skills that allow your athletes to practice mental training WHILE they train their bodies. (An example of an isolated mindset exercise is The BRAVR). But if you want to bust the 4 excuses coaches use to NOT doing mental training, start with our Mind/Body Exercises: 5 Ways to Implement Mental Training into your Existing Practices