Imagine you are an elite diver competing in the Olympics. Going into your final dive of the games, you hold a slight lead over your rival, the defending Olympic Champion. As you climb up to the platform, you see thousands of people cheering, but you can only hear your breath. One dive. One chance. Four years. You know you'll have to have a nearly perfect dive to win. One minuscule mistake and you'll lose. You've spent you whole life for this.one.moment.
How are you going to do? What if I told you we could predict your performance? Under all that pressure, with so many variables, there is one thing that separates the good from The Champions. So what is it?
In 1988, 235 Canadian Olympic athletes competed in Seoul, South Korea in the Summer Olympic Games. These athletes were asked to rate themselves on mental, physical and technical ‘readiness’ factors using a 1 to 10 scale where a ‘1’ means ‘0% ready’.
Despite the fact that these athletes rated...
When athletes are struggling, the most important action they can take is to stop thinking about the results of their performance. This is easier said than done and may even seem counter-intuitive to what they have ever been taught. However, just as in business, give me two teams of similar abilities and the team that consistently follows the process will perform more consistently with better results (wins) over the team that is focused solely on results.
One of the many reasons I’m so passionate about sports is because I think learning to ‘go for it’ is vital to reaching one’s full life potential. I also believe it's better to learn this at a young age: when we're closer to the ground and have less distance to fall, when we have less money to lose, when we have less insight and more naiveté. This is a special time in one’s life. Where the habits and attitudes developed have an enormous impact on one's success or failure.
Mental training helps teach young people to ‘go for it.’ I was thinking about this watching ESPN’s 30 for 30 about Reggie Miller. What struck me again and again is how critical Cheryl Miller was in her brother’s success. In the family driveway, Reggie lost again and again to his sister. In his world, those one on one games took everything that mattered to him as a kid: his pride.
So what did he do? He learned to conquer the fear of failure. He learned to...
It is a given that the mind and body are intrinsically connected. As a general rule of thumb: If one feels crummy, the other follows. If one feels great, the other does too. When the body experiences a lot of physical and psychological stress (a sports season being one example), it wears quite significantly on the body and the mind. It’s not enough to take a day off. Instead, one needs a Reset Day- a day completing dedicated to getting ‘back on track’- physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. There is something significant about taking a full day, a dedicated effort, a sense that one will be different (i.e. rested) after the said day than they were before.
To my clients, I recommend taking a Reset Day which consists of the following in order:
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...
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, ...
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....
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...
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....
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).
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...