October 10, 2015

How To Apply Mental Game Skills to Competition

How do you apply the mental game lessons I teach to competition? I receive this question quite often from both athletes and coaches who struggle with the application of the mental game.

Your ultimate success with mental game improvement lies in your ability to transfer the concepts I teach you to competition. For many athletes and coaches, this is a huge stumbling block.

When it comes to the mental game, learning sports psychology strategies is much different than applying and using them in competition consistently…

I know you can easily understand the basic mental game skill of how to refocus when distracted, for example. However, can you do it when the pressure is on and emotions are elevated in competition?

What prevents you from taking the lessons I teach into competition? Bad habits. Bad habits are hard to break. Just like the physical game, mental skills must be well learned and assimilated for you to use them in competition.

What are some strategies for helping you apply mental game lessons to competition?

One way to take what you learn about the mental game to competition is to integrate my lessons in to your regular pregame warm-up routine.

I’m sure you have a specific warm-up routine that you use to prepare yourself for competition. Most athletes do. If you don’t have a warm up routine, you need one.

But more importantly the warm-up routine is also a time to hone your focus, boost your confidence, and prepare to trust in your learned skills from practice. So the warm-up routine is an ideal time to apply your mental game strategies.

For example, if you’ve been following my tips you know that I’m an advocate of eliminating expectations that cause pressure and undermine confidence when they’re not achieved.

As part of your pregame routine, you’ll want to check in with yourself and note any expectations you’re feeling about the upcoming performance or competition. The next step is to replace these expectations with smaller more manageable objectives.

For example, perfectionist golfers expect a hit perfect shots. This expectation is not healthy for confidence. Instead, I suggest to my students that they focus on small objectives such as to pick good targets and have full trust in their swing.

Thus I want you to look at your warm-up routine as a mini mental preparation routine in which you get your game face on, are focused, confident, and ready to play freely without the shackles of over control.

You want more information on pregame mental preparation?

We just posted new sport specific pregame mental preparation guides for athletes at Peaksports Network, my online mental training system.

Become a member today and download these for free along with hundreds of pages of e-books, interviews, and teleclasses to improve your mental game.

Note: New members who join Peaksports Network in April get a 20-minute live one-on-one mental coaching session with me.

Demo my online mental training program today:

Online Mental Training Program

Your Mental Game Coach,

Dr. Patrick Cohn

p.s. If you’re already a member of my online mental training system at Peaksports Network, you can download the sport-specific pregame mental preparation guides here:

Peaksports Network: Sport-Specific Mental Preparation Guides


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