This video was originally streamed on Facebook Live. Watch the video, and/or read the brief synopsis below to learn about the most powerful mental training tool you should be teaching your athletes.
I get some variation on this question from coaches a lot:
Lindsey, which mindset tool will help my coaching and my athletes the most?
The greatest all-around tool that can truly benefit everyone on your team (including you) is visualization.
If you follow this blog, you've likely heard me mention visualization before (most recently, here, and here). Today, I'm going to keep it simple and talk about how visualization can help you really get through to your athletes.
Visualization is a method in which you imagine a storyline. This enables you to experience something on a deeply emotional level without posing any real risk.
Learn more about the scientific research behind visualization in our previous blog, The Top 5 Reasons to Visualize (w/Scientific Proof).
I'll start with an example that is very likely familiar to you: One of your athletes is struggling with confidence.
You try talking to them and encouraging them. Perhaps you tell about the potential that you see in them. Maybe you get through to them, maybe you don't. This strategy is unpredictable.
You tell them a story about how you were once unconfident. Perhaps you show them a video of a top athlete talking about how they struggle with confidence. This is likely to work a little better because stories are scientifically proven to make a more emotional impact.
You help them learn how to instill confidence on a deep, subconscious level for themselves by teaching them to visualize.
One exercise we do for confidence involves helping an athlete visualize themselves playing with a backpack full of all the things that are weighing them down... Fear, self doubt, parental pressure, etc. The athlete then visualizes taking that backpack off and experiencing playing without it.
What happens in your athletes brain is they will start to forge those mental pathways that will help them move past their confidence roadblocks. Over time, they'll begin to respond to pressure in a new way by using visualization to take action to mentally release the weight that's keeping them from feeling confident.
When you teach your athletes visualization, you give them a lifelong tool that enables them to help themselves.
Our Mindset Coach CertificationTM will be relaunching in June with a new small-group cohort. One benefit of going through this certification is that you will not only graduate as a Positive Performance Certified Mindset Coach, but will also learn to be a Performance Visualization SpecialistTM. Our entire second month is a full immersion into the art and science of visualization. Coaches learn how to develop custom visualizations, guide athletes through visualizations, and create full, long-term visualization action plans.
Visualization can be beneficial in countless ways; as a tool for building confidence, relieving stress, reaching goals, healing injury, identifying and overcoming mental roadblocks... the applications are endless.
The Coaches Cheat Sheet includes elements of visualization, positive self-talk, breathing, and mindfulness.
This is simple enough to be a great starting point for coaches who want to begin mental training their team, and robust enough to be a great addition to any existing mental training program.