Recruiting Tip: Leverage mental training

blog May 01, 2013

One of our clients, a Head Coach, asked me the other day, what role I saw for mental training in recruiting; Did i think it could be used to help attract better recruits?

Oh boy, did I! That question took me right back to my own recruiting experience.

Of course, coaches and athletic directors implement mental training because they want to develop their young athletes, their teams, their athletic programs. But there's no doubt that one of the long-lasting strengths of mental training is that it also prepares athletes for "real life!".

And if that isn't a boost for a recruiting pitch, I don't know what is.

From my own experience, there are two main areas that athletes and parents look for in recruiting: sports and everything else beyond sports.

In my case, at 17 years old, I cared more about the former, while my parents cared more about the latter. Probably not atypical for most young people. It’s not that I didn't care about the school, the campus life, my future beyond...

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Top 5 reasons to visualize: #1 Builds confidence

Uncategorized Jan 30, 2013

In these 5 blog posts we will talk about how visualization helps program the subconscious brain to be successful. The first reason to use visualization is: 1-    Builds confidence: visualizing success in your training or racing and you can subconsciously improve your belief in your abilities. We all compete according to how we see ourselves. Change how your see yourself, and your performance changes. Just take a moment and write down your top 7 – in life, in sports, in social settings. Think of 7 times you were at the top of your ‘game’. Write them down. Then take a deep breath, close your eyes and replay all seven of those instances in your mind. Bet you feel more confident in your abilities and more sure of your enormous potential. It’s powerful stuff. Simple but brings out your BEST you. coming next: reason #2 to Visualize. Feel free to share your own Visualization success stories with us in our comments below. If you liked this article, ...

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blog Jan 30, 2013

Athletes need a lot of sleep

I was no exception. And, as a high school and collegiate athlete, two really strong memories always pop up: Being hungry and being tired. As an athlete, my days were long (6AM-6PM) so I was always struggling to get enough food and sleep.

Sleep was the most difficult problem to solve. Between school, practice, studying, and the normal life tasks (not to mention a pathetic attempt at a social life), I tried to nap whenever I could - On the bus, in the car, in between class, and (let's be honest), sometimes even in class. But I never seemed to be able to catch up. Working with athletes today, Nutrition and hydration have been well documented but until now, I didn’t really understand how important sleep really is.

Working with athletes today, I've noticed that the problem is getting even worse. Kids are on their phone or tablet, working on homework late into the night, and not able to go to bed early enough to give their body the sleep it craves....

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Mental toughness issue #5: Inconsistent confidence

blog Jan 30, 2013

It is a rare athlete that maintains their confidence after a bad game. Most athletes, at every level, feel great after a great game and bad after a bad game. Their confidence in themselves as a player, or even as a human being is completely contingent on the most recent results. This can obviously be a great thing when someone is playing well. But how do we help those players that are in a shooting slump, or just seem to be ‘off’? Often times, these bad games snowball and it becomes very difficult for the player to find themselves out of it.

The irony is that confidence is the one thing that can get that player back to their best performance and yet confidence becomes elusive.

So what can we do?

We can help them focus on self-belief (otherwise known as internally driven confidence). Self-belief is confidence that is not contingent on results. It involves ONLY the things the athlete can control, their effort, their focus, their attitude, their work ethic. Of course, we...

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Take a vacation!

blog Jan 29, 2013

Vacations can give us time for self-reflection, which is good but can also unlock feelings of being unproductive or stir up old emotions that are easier to ignore in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Back in the day, I hated taking days off. I thought it was boring.  And I never thought about rest in the context of a larger picture. It just felt lazy. My first real vacation wasn’t until I was well into my 20s and even then I remember running on the beach feeling sort of odd without the structure of practice.

And that sort of drive is typical for many athletes and coaches, we are all used to going going going. That’s mentality is what got us to where we are…. It can also be the kiss of death for ambition, health, happiness and many other useful and productive emotions.

But vacations serve a vital purpose in our overall reach for success. But for some of us, we need to prepare to enjoy our vacation. Here’s how to make your vacation the most...

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Coaching passion

For coaches....

Close your eyes, take a deep breath and think about one of your earliest memories of basketball. Think of a time when you were a little girl or little boy playing on a playground by your house, shooting hoops with your dad or your sister or a neighborhood friend. Remember how much fun it was, how freeing it was, how you wanted to stay out there all day long.

That’s a small part of a guided visualization I do regularly with the athletes I work with. This simple, sort of silly paragraph of text can be enormously powerful. Whether these athletes are struggling with confidence, not having fun, unmotivated, or frustrated this exercise can often lock them into a positive mindset in the matter of a few minutes.

For coaches it’s important to do the same thing- lock into the love of why you do what you do. With all the stress and pressure college coaches deal with, getting back to the root of your motivation can help drive you forward in a healthy, positive way....

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How fear impacts performance

In this article:

  • Learn what fear is, and what it isn’t.
  • Understand how irrational fears affect you.
  • Learn to control your fear by finding your Zone.


Control your fear

I work a lot with athletes on fear. Unfortunately, most believe fear is a weakness. It’s not. Our bodies are designed to feel fear. The problem is that we humans commonly lack the mental tools necessary to deal with fear, thereby allowing fear to run our lives.

I had three experiences lately that made me reflect upon fear in a more personal way: two were in the ocean; the last was on a flying trapeze (yes, that’s me in the photo at right).  

Fear experience #1: Powerlessness.

I was in Hawaii over the holiday. While i was there, my boyfriend and I decided to go snorkeling...Terrible idea.

We had just traversed the rocky shore and immersed ourselves in the water when the tide shifted. We were caught in a washing machine of currents. The waves threw us...

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Now is the time!

blog Jan 29, 2013

Let’s face it, most seasons end in disappointment with a loss or some kind of unfinished business. The silver lining in all this is that disappointment can be a powerful motivator. But it can also be crushing.

Some teams grow, some crumble. Much of this has to do with an individual’s outlook and confidence; much of it has to do with the culture of the team and the coaches expectations.

This is the time of year to challenge your athletes to improve. The taste of failure can be the fuel that motivates them this Spring and Summer to be ready to wipe that taste away come Fall.  OR, it can be the evidence they need that all their hard work just isn’t worth it.

Here are 3 things coaches can do to ensure their team is one that grows from adversity:

1. Let them decide their poison

There is no way to avoid pain. You either risk the pain of disappointment or the pain of regret. Many people pick the pain of regret simply by default because there isn’t such a...

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Sink or Swim

blog Jan 29, 2013

There’s a sink-or-swim mentality floating on athletes’ minds. There’s no question that, when competition time comes around, “Survival of the Fittest” accurately describes how athletes view the importance of the game and their involvement in it. Either they ‘get it’ or they don’t. Those who ‘swim’ come out proud, confident, and successful…

…but those who ‘sink’ suffer disappointment and embarrassment; if it’s really bad, they risk removal from the team. And, for the coach worried about the team's pool of talent, there’s rarely someone standing on the sidelines ready to replace the fallen soldier.

It only makes sense to give athletes the best training to optimize their potential and make it out of the game alive. And, if we want the best training method, we need to model it after the best-trained: the Navy SEALs.

In this article:

  • 3 Ways athletics is like SEALs training.
  • Why failure isn't...
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Is a rigid mentality holding you back?

blog Jan 29, 2013

You know the player: he or she is so ridiculously hard on themselves that they might as well be playing with handcuffs on. They obsess about mistakes, they have anxiety about failure that hasn’t even happened, they are at times even harder on themselves than you are on them.

One of the biggest issues I see repeatedly in my work with athletes is the tendency to expect perfection, be obsessive about details, be competitive to the point of making yourself sick with anxiety. I call it a ‘rigid’ mindset. High standards are of course desirable, and if you ask any coach they’d obviously prefer perfectionist athletes over unmotivated and lazy. But the problem with this perfectionism is that it almost always leads to anxiety, fear, and unnecessary stress.

I know this because I had this tendency myself. And the upside was that this rigid mindset kept me in the gym shooting for hours, made me lift weights on days when my body woke up screaming, and wouldn’t let me...

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