Mental toughness creates trust, positivity, happiness

It wasn't that the Golden Eagles weren't tough. It was just that they lacked mental toughness. Patti Hoelzle is the head volleyball coach for Ferndale High School in Ferndale, Washington. She has a skilled team with the right level of fitness. A team consistently comprised of amazing athletes, tall and athletic girls who do well during practices... Now, that is. Before mental training came into play, they were a completely different team during matches.

The (mental toughness training) problem

In addition to the team unraveling during games, Coach Hoelzle had to consider retraining the athlete’s parents. She needed them to understand their young daughters were impressionable; that their conversations were affecting their children’s performance. What conversations, exactly? Well, the town enjoys a very successful youth athletic program. Unfortunately, that often means the parents almost automatically expect their children to win upon entering...

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The 9 key components to choosing a mental training program

We just completed a survey of 137 coaches and saw that the majority of teams don’t use a structured and consistent program. Instead, they rely on homegrown solutions, guest speakers, or books to guide them. These tools, while with their merits, rarely deliver meaningful and measurable long-term results.

While most coaches and athletes understand the importance of the mental game, it previously has been very difficult to implement a structured & comprehensive mental training program. It involved a lot of trial and error and often times required the coaches and organization to first learn and then develop a program. Doing so typically takes a few years to build and most organizations forgo this investment and suffer from under-performance issues, low confidence, and inconsistency in their teams and players.

Just like any other skill, mental training should be as structured and methodical as any type of physical training. It’s a simple equation,...

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GA5 Volleyball achieves 70% wins with mental training

At Positive Performance, we love hearing from clients about how mental training has changed their lives and their games. Read what a coach from the GA5 Volleyball Club in Georgia had to say about our program.

A Letter from a GA5 Volleyball Coach

I’ve been actively coaching with an elite club for two years. I served as an assistant coach my first year, where I learned the ropes of club coaching and how the junior system worked.

I was hands on with the girls. But, as I watched a very good and athletic group struggle to close games, get frustrated on the floor, and lose faith in their game,

I knew they needed more of something.

I knew there was something that could help them get over the mental challenges they faced; something to help them focus on what they could control, as opposed to what they couldn’t; something that would help them play better together as a team.

GA5 goes to AVCA

As a coach, I am always looking to learn new and different techniques to push...

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Volleyball olympic athlete Courtney Thompson: The mental game and leadership

Photo from

In an effort to keep things short and sweet, we wanted to share a couple of audio clips from an interview Positive Performance's Co-Founder Lindsey Wilson conducted with 2012 silver-medalist and Volleyball Olympian Courtney Thompson.

How To Mentally Prepare.

Being a great athlete has a lot to do with how one prepares their mind, not only going into the game, but long before and long after. Here, Courtney talks about how she prepares herself.


For a transcription of this video, click here.

The mental game.

Born in 1984 in Kent, Washington, Courtney understood early on that having a clear mission was important to her success as a volleyball player. Listen as Courtney talks to Lindsey about...

  • How she developed her mental game;
  • Why she feels mental strength is important; and
  • how she continues to harness her mental strength to continually improve.

"What sets Courtney apart is, she battles."

- Hugh McCutcheon, Olympic Gold &...

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4 Exercises to improve your team's mental toughness

Summary: Every team trains and competes on the physical level. But time and time again, athletes fail to play to their potential because they don't train the mental side of sports. While it isn't rocket science, it can be very time consuming and difficult to implement mental training. In this webinar, we teach four surefire methods to immediately improve your athletes' performance.

In this webinar we cover:

  1. Why Mental Training is the only way to reduce the gap between performance vs. potential.
  2. How to have great practices and develop focus in your athletes.
  3. Why most athletes aren't ready to compete and how to get them ready.
  4. How to learn to remain positive, after every competition. Even after a big loss.

Watch the Webinar on the Four Exercises to Improve Mental Toughness on your Team

Presented by Lindsey Wilson



Get your...

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Pitching tips intro: 4 parts to understanding yourself as a pitcher

Uncategorized Nov 25, 2014

Jim Clem, a well-recognized name among baseball and the current pitching coach for the Bellingham Bells of the West Coast League, sat down with me a few weeks ago to discuss, in depth, his coaching philosophy and to give us some pitching tips for players who are both seasoned and new to the game.

Coaching = physical + psychological

It’s important to note that Jim Clem is a seasoned athlete in his own right: he was a standout player on his high school basketball and baseball teams, and, among his many other qualifications, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Athletic Administration.

It’s his understanding of psychology that allows the coach to really bridge the connection between sports and the mind. Not only has he seen mental training show its muscle through his athletes’ improved performance, but he recognizes that, on a basic psychological level, people are wired in a way that makes mental strength so critical to sports...

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Junior takes control with mental training, makes breakout season

Summer grew up in a small town with zero to very little competition. Like many athletes in similar shoes, when she started playing college sports--for her, women's volleyball at a Division III school--she was struck with a cold, hard fact: she wasn’t the best anymore.

Going from big fish in a small pond to a small fish in a big pond was hard. By the end of her sophomore year, things were looking glum, and she knew she needed a change. That change was a commitment to mental training from Positive Performance which allowed Summer to change her strategy, take control, and make the season one of the best she’s ever played.

The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them" - George Bernard Shaw.

Making the work, work

Summer was raised by a football coach, so she grew up with a good, strong training ethic. Because of that, she never...

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Deep breathing exercises: It’s not “doing nothing”

Uncategorized Nov 21, 2014


Seems simple enough, right? Completely natural. We breathe without thinking about it, one of those involuntary functions of our bodies that keep us alive.

But, then my mentor, Dr. James Hollingsworth, told me it wasn’t just breathing. It’s deep breathing. And they’re exercises, which, in my mind, implied some kind of concentration requirement, some kind of effort. Some kind of… WORK.

This new definition of breathing took the wind out of my proverbial sails.

Call it quacky. Call it weird. Call it what you will, but I've come to find that this quirky “breathing” is an important, even critical, part of performance. And, as we collectively venture further and further into the craziness of the holiday season, I thought to issue a little reminder about the athlete’s need to stop, breathe, and remember our goals.

Deep breathing exercises are critical.

The first time I did breathing exercises I thought it was stupid. At the very best, I...

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Mental training gives team more ease, more focus, more success

In the summer of 2013, Coach James Bacca of West Liberty University Softball experienced a fracture… with his team, that is.

The softball players were emotionally and mentally separated from him. That split soon developed into a desire for physical separation: 11 of his players were writing letters to the Athletic Director, trying to get both Bacca and his wife, who serves as Assistant Coach, fired.

It took changes on all fronts to get the team thinking as a unit again, but, in the end, the results were worth it. Not only did they become more unified in thought, but they became more unified in their focus; athletes rediscovered their “Zone”, and winning more was merely one of the great results they experienced as a mentally strong fortress of players.

Before any of that happened, though, Coach Bacca had to alter his own process to get the ball rolling. He had to

Kick "old school" habits

It took this hard push back from his athletes for Bacca to take a step back...

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Focus for coaches: Part 3 - Benefits of putting focus to work

Now that you've had a few days to create your focus lists and put those 80% efforts into practice, I want you to stay encouraged by knowing what you can expect by maintaining diligence in working toward your goals.

Applying focus in the way described in Focus for Coaches: Part 2 may seem extreme at first, but, as you do it consistently, you will begin to save time and eliminate wasted effort. You will be increasingly present and focused in each moment as you work toward your goals. When unexpected events happen, your clear priorities will help you make a strategic, rather than reactive, decision in response. Your focused plan will also help you say no to responsibilities or opportunities that are outside its scope.

A Simple Barometer: Ask yourself, “Does this task fit in with my priorities?” If not, it may be time to reevaluate your plan of action and revisit Article 2.

The power of many

Because you do not operate alone, communicate your areas of focus with...

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The Top 7 Ways to Develop Tough, Focused and Resilient Athletes.

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