Mental Game Lessons from John Wooden

Basketball Confidence

What’s the Most Important Skills for Athletes to Possess?

Anthony Robbins sent me an interview he did with the legendary basketball coach John Wooden, who recently passed away at age 99. This was one of the best interviews Wooden gave, according to Robbins.

Today, I want to share with you something that Wooden said that I think is profound…

What’s the most important skills for athletes to possess? According to John Wooden, quickness is one:

“The most important attribute in any sport is quickness. Quickness must be under control. If it isn’t under control, you have a lot of activity without achievement. I don’t want activity without achievement,” said Wooden.

What does quickness have to do with the mental game?

Summer 2010 Mental Game Coaching Professional Update!

Early registration for the Summer 2010 MGCP
course ends June 18, 2010.

Enroll early and get 10 percent off!

Wooden went on to stay that athletes must be emotionally and mentally balanced. In order for athletes to harness their physical prowess, such as quickness, they must have balance…

“To have quickness under control, you have to be balanced, emotionally and mentally balanced. To have the physical balance, you have to be mentally balanced… Balance is keeping things in perspective, not letting yourself get too high or not letting yourself get too low,” said Wooden.

I love the idea of teaching athletes to have balance with the mental game. Wooden says athletes can’t get too low or too high emotionally, but I assume it applies to the mental game overall…

For example, one of the topics I discuss with my students in the MGCP course is helping athletes have a balanced level of motivation.

Too little motivation, your athletes won’t reach their goals. Too much motivation (a la perfectionists) your athletes won’t reach their potential. Yes, balance.

If athletes focus on too many performance cues at once, they’re confused. If they focus on too few cues, they get left behind. Balance is the key once again.

How do you help athletes find the right “mental game” balance? You have to find the imbalances, first.

In my work, I find imbalances with an assessment, the AMAP profile, I developed over 20 years of working with athletes and performers.

I teach you a model for coaching athletes in the MGCP program: awareness, education, and application. You must:

  1. Help athletes identify their unique challenges with the mental game
  2. Educate athletes to take control of their mental game
  3. Teach athletes how to apply what they learn to practice and competition

You’ll learn my entire system and get access to my mental game assessments when you join the summer Mental Game Coaching Professional program this summer.

If you have not done so, please complete an application at the MGCP website:

MGCP Application

If you have already submitted your MGCP application, please email me to request the Summer 2010 enrollment forms.

Note: The first five people to lock in their seats will get preference. Early registration ends June 18.

Please call me at 888-742-7225 if you have any questions about
the course.


Patrick J. Cohn, Ph.D.
Master Mental Game Coach

p.s. Cortez Hankton, a professional football player, had this to say about his experience in the Spring course:

“I wish I would have taken the MGCP course before playing professional football because this would have been a huge asset to my career. The course is detailed and shows step by step how to improve an athlete’s mental ability and performance by identifying underlying issues or problems. The course is well-organized and I feel that I learned a lifetime of information in 20 hours of live coaching with Dr. Cohn!.” ~ Cortez Hankton, Jr.

Related Sports Psychology Articles

*Subscribe to The Sports Psychology Podcast on iTunes
*Subscribe to The Sports Psychology Podcast on Spotify

Download a free sports psychology report to improve your mental game!

Learn more about our one-on-one mental game coaching.

The Confident Athlete

The Confident Athlete Audio

“The Confident Athlete” consists of 2 audio programs that include 14 days of confidence fueling exercises and a simple to follow workbook that guides you through the 14 days, helps you apply the strategies, and customizes the exercises to your personal needs.

Let me help you put a stop to the confidence leak. You can learn to have greater levels of confidence in competition than you do in practice by identifying the specific ways you undermine your own confidence and how to convert your practice confidence into COMPETITIVE CONFIDENCE.

“The Confident Athlete” is a ground-breaking system to teach you how to think like a champion and have ultimate self-confidence every time you step on the playing field, court, track, or course. The confident athletes was developed for any athlete – junior to professional –that wants to gain confidence. However, coaches and sports parents can learn how to teach others to perform with ultimate confidence. Use my program if you want to bust a slump or just wanting higher or more consistent levels of self-confidence.

Leave a Comment