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Coaching Tips

The First Step in Building Your Mental Game

My friend Dave Cross, a peak performance expert, says, “The road to improvement begins with honest self-evaluation.”

For instance, if you want to become a better free-throw shooter, shoot 10 and see how many you make. If you make seven of 10, set a goal of making eight. Then decide what you must change to reach the goal.

In other words, if you want to get from Point A to Point B, you must identify exactly what Points A and B are, then form a plan. And Points A and B, and the plan, vary from athlete to athlete.

No surprise then, that your mental game is the same way. If you’d like to be more confident and poised in the clutch, first figure out exactly where you are now. And everyone’s mental game is different.

These insights come from Dr. Spencer Wood of Icebox Athlete. In this article from Coaches Toolbox, Wood recommends developing a mental toughness program for each athlete. And he provides a questionnaire to give you a place to start.

Wood calls it a Peak Performance Assessment, and it asks athletes and coaches to rate themselves from 1-10 on such questions as:

Ability to handle adversity and mistakes;

Ability to handle equal or better competition;

Ability to compete against weaker competition;

And ability to push through pain and fatigue.

What a simple, yet brilliant, concept!

All these years I’ve tried to build my athletes’ mental game with quotes, videos games, and talks from peak performance experts.

Though some of those tactics work, it makes so much more sense to identify Point A for each athlete. Then you can give each one a Point B and a plan to get there.

I can’t wait to try this with my team.

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Thank you for visiting Total Game Plan. If your team, group or business needs a motivational speaker, please email coachtully @ totalgameplan.com. Here are some other resources for your success:

Think Better, Win More!” will give you a mental game to match your physical game.

To get better at anything, check out “The Improvement Factor: How Winners Turn Practice into Success.”

Do you coach females? Are you a female athlete, or the parent of one? Here’s “Was It Something I Said? A Guide to Coaching Female Athletes” by Vanessa Sullivan and Mike Tully

Need some motivation? Everyone needs it now and then. Open any page of “Thank God You’re Lazy! The Instant Cure for What’s Holding You Back” by Dr. Rob Gilbert and Mike Tully.

Are you a teacher, boss or sports coach? Here’s “Ten Things Great Coaches Know” by Mike Tully and Gary Pritchard.

Want to have your best basketball season ever? Here’s “Basketball: What Great Players Know that You Don’t Know,” by Mike Tully and Gio Grassi.


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