6 Smart Tips

Check out our 6 Smart Tips to awaken your competitive edge!

Free Evaluation

Take our free evaluation and test your mental toughness, get an assessment of how mentally competitive you are and what you need to improve!

Important Links

BLOG Archives

The Test

Stuck inside during the, shelter-in-place order with time on your hands?  You may enjoy watching the Amazon Original docuseries, The Test. This 8 part series follows the reorganization of Cricket Australia following a ball tampering scandal that disgraced the team in 2018. This inspiring docuseries touches on many mental training concepts and the process of player/team development under pressure. Some of the take aways are:

*Coaching and the process of bringing out the best in players.   *Shifting coaching style to fit players’.  *Coaching that invites and listens to player feedback to help the overall process.

*Captain/Coach leadership.  *Staff honesty and communication with players’.  *Communication/unity amongst players’. *Working with a purpose as a team towards a goal. *Creating Positive Team Culture. *Focusing on process vs. outcome in working towards a goal.  *Player motivation/self-confidence.  *Winning the mental battle.  *Achieving consistency. *Overcoming adversity.  *Player/team resiliency.  *Self control under pressure.  *Perseverance.

*Upholding the tradition of the sport. *Team/national pride.  *Media scrutiny.

Surprisingly, the docuseries didn’t have any signs of mindfulness training. The team brought in strategic, technical, physical and strategic experts but there was little to no specific mindfulness training. Many episodes showed the heartbreak the team experienced as it lost momentum in matches when mindfulness training could have helped keep their mental game in balance during crunch time. The coach talked a lot about staying focused and staying with the mental battle, but there were few signs of technique to achieve this skill.

The story is quite interesting and whatever sport you participate in the episodes are filled with Sport Psychology performance concepts which are easy to list but challenging to consistently produce in the heat of the battle against the greatest teams in the world.

Productive Downtime

At this time there isn’t a predictable date for athletes to return to training, or reconnecting with their teams. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, we are waiting for the trajectory curve of the virus spread to drop before entertaining the thought of returning to some degree of normality in general. A recent Q & A by Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors with Dr. Fauci is a resource that offered the public an opportunity to have some of their general Covid-19 questions answered. Hopefully there will continue to be ongoing detailed and relatable interviews with knowledgeable health experts that continue to provide an intelligent road forward through this pandemic.

In the meantime athletes can productively utilize this gap time to start or improve upon their mental performance skills. For athletes beginning to learn about the mental training process I recommend two classics by Terry Orlick,

PhD.  1) “In Pursuit of Excellence – How to win in sport & life through mental training.”

2)  “Psyching for Sport – mental training for athletes.”

Both books are excellent reads to begin steps towards developing a mental skills platform to your training. This doesn’t substitute for being with your  team or returning to your practice environment but it is a form of action that is within your control that can provide benefits going forward. Use your time well.

Psychological Momentum

Athletes feel positive and negative momentum. Coaches plan for it. Spectators see and at times feel momentum shift in a team or player. Positive and negative Psychological Momentum (PM) is a reality of athletic performance.

Sara Svoboda, MSc, Sport & Exercise Psychology Candidate recently published a blog article titled, “Cognitive Illusion or Key to Continued Success? An Athlete’s Guide to Psychological Momentum,” The article gives a nice over view defining Psychological Momentum and strategies to trigger positive psychological momentum and strategies for athletes to overcome negative psychological momentum.

A few key take-aways from the article are:

*An athlete’s perceptions dictate if a turning point will translate into (-PM or +PM).

*An athlete can trigger (+PM) by capitalizing on positive events.

*An athlete can maintain (+PM) by staying engaged and avoiding complacency.

*An athlete can overcome negative momentum by recognizing an opportunity for negative facilitation, using tools to manage arousal and capitalizing on cues from their opposition.

It’s a well thought out article that is worth a read!