Obtaining the Inner Game Mindset for Sports Performance
In this week’s sports psychology tip, I’ll continue to the topic of performing with trust in your skills…
Please note that I define trust in your skills differently than confidence. Confidence is knowing you or your athletes can perform well or execute your skills. Trust is relying on your practice to execute you skills and putting your mind on autopilot.
Okay, your mind is not really on autopilot, but your skills are. Think of your game as two mindsets that help you play to your potential in competition…
The first is the practice mindset, which you use in practice when trying to improve your game. You work on technique and try to get better.
The second is the performance mindset, which you use in competition. This is when you try to get the most out of your skills–and you are not caught up in how to perform a skill.
According to Tim Gallwey, author of “The Inner Game of Tennis,” you get in your own way when you over-coach yourself with too many verbal instructions during competition. I call this being stuck in a practice mindset.
You get in your own way because you are giving your body too many instructions or “verbal commands” such as how to follow through properly, Tim Gallwey argues.
To find the flow, he says that you want to simplify your thinking when you perform. You have to trust in the learning process from practice and rely on motor memory.
Translation: You study hard (via practice and training) and then take the closed-book test in competition. You test the skills you have trained in practice during competition – you don’t continue to “study” in competition.
This is another tough one for perfectionists because they tend to:
- Continue to practice and improve their skills in competition
- Over analyze mistakes and try to fix them at the wrong time
- Focus on future improvement, instead of performing great today
- Want their performance to feel, look, and be perfect
What can you or your athletes do to have more flow and trust in competition?
First, you have to separate your practice, when you are improving, from the times when you are performing. Know when to turn off the learning mindset and just play.
Second, Gallwey says athletes need to shut off the “verbal instructions” they give themselves to allow their performance to shine. Less thinking and more reacting is the key.
Third, stop trying to be perfect in competition. Perform with a functional mindset: Be okay with a play, shot, or skill that turned out okay and got the job done. Brad Gilbert calls this winning ugly in his book, “Winning Ugly.”
Does this mindset based on trust in your skills really work?
Here’s what one professional ballerina said about our work together using these principles I also teach in
“It was amazing!!! Before the show, I really felt like I was becoming the part. I stayed focused in each moment, remained calm, and actually did the difficult tricks better than I ever have! My coaches said I looked so comfortable. This is the result of my work with you! You gave me the tools to tackle this huge mountain of a role, step by step! I am beyond happy!”
If you didn’t know yet, you can get all of The Confident Athlete CD series on digital download today. That means no shipping costs and you download it the same day! Check it out here:
Your Mental Game Coach,
Dr. Patrick Cohn
p.s. We also help lots of perfectionists learn how to improve their flow in competition via our person mental coaching programs. Please check out the one-on-one coaching programs here:
The top program we have for fearless performance is:
Boost Your Self-Confidence With Mental Game Coaching!
Master mental game coach, Dr. Patrick Cohn, can help you or your athlete(s), ages 12 and up, overcome mental game issues with personal coaching.
You can work with Dr. Patrick Cohn himself in Orlando, Florida or via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone. Call us toll free at 888-742-7225 or contact us for more information about the different coaching programs we offer!
What are our students saying?
“WOW!!! What a week I had. I was able to perform with a confidence that allowed my style to shine through–no more entering the arena with that “deer in the headlights” look or feeling. I stopped evaluating myself while I was performing, and I actually left the arena after my patterns feeling like I had experienced a lot of fun. Thank you so much.”
~Julia Dreyer, National Champion Equestrian
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D you have a negative self-image of yourself as an athlete that stifles confidence?
No matter ow positive you try to be, are you unable to shake the doubt that rushes into your head when you size up your competition?
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What are customers saying?
“I first purchased The Confident Athlete to see how the program went and immediately saw results. I then purchased the rest of the confident athlete series and have noticed a dramatic improvement in my level of play or should I say consistency. I currently play NCAA Division 1 baseball for Lamar University, and even my coaches have noticed a change in the way that I approach the game. My attitude and confidence at the plate.”
~Tylor Prudhomme (Listen to his success story)
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~Shaun Burrell, Professional Surfer (Listen to his success story)
For Young Athletes and Parents – Learn More About How to Help Kids Improve Confidence Quickly!
We’ve got a great program for you called “The Confident Sports Kid: A 7-Day Plan for Building Ultimate Self-Confidence.”
The Confident Sports Kid is a 7-day program for sports parents and kids to boost young athlete’s performance, happiness and success… in sports and life!
The Confident Sports Kid is two programs in one. There’s a manual and CD for parents/coaches, and a workbook/CD for young athletes.
Packed with mental strategies that you and your kids can start using immediately, this program teaches your athletes how to identify confidence busters, proactively deal with them, manage expectations that undermine confidence, and mentally prepare to stay confident when faced with adversity.
What’s more, our program teaches you, as sports parents and coaches, how you may be hurting your kids’ confidence and gives you instructions for changing your behavior in ways that will improve your athletes’ performance, confidence and enjoyment.
Learn more about one of our most popular CD programs in The Confident Sports Kid Series…
What are parents and coaches saying about our program?
“I appreciate the advice to parents as to how to help your child become more mentally resilient to bullying in sports. The specific advice and scenarios are extremely helpful for any child on a team and very helpful in guiding parents, coaches and administrators in how to deal with bullying in sports. I cannot thank you enough for your input, and I am so reassured to know that there are people like you who are writing articles and doing interviews on such timely and important matters.”
“Dr. Patrick Cohn and Lisa Cohn are to be congratulated! Together, they offer a wealth of knowledge, information, and practical mental tools for sports parents on the substantial “mental game” challenges and pressures facing today’s young athletes.”
~Marc D. Anderson, LCSW, MGCP, Mental Game Coach
For Mental Coaches – Add More Value To Your Mental Training Programs!
This workbook series was designed for coaches and mental coaches to use with their athletes.
The Athlete’s Mental Edge workbooks complement your existing mental training program. Each of the 15 workbooks in the Athlete’s Mental Edge System teaches your athletes a specific mental skill to improve their performance.
For mental coaches, this system is ideal for between session education.
For sports coaches, you’ll be able to conduct 15 team seminars using the workbook system.
In the Athlete’s Mental Edge workbook system, you receive 15 easy-to-read, practical Mental Edge Workbooks on PDF, as well as 16 coaches’ game plan MP3 audio files.
What are coaches saying?
“I am really pleased with the Athlete’s Mental Edge workbooks – they are fitting in really well with my coaching! I find they offer a great framework for doing workshop sessions. I have also used the workbooks with a few individual athletes – for the younger ones (12 and under). They are giving a good structure and framework to our sessions. The workbooks have worked well with all of them!”
~Kerri Morgan, Mental Game Coach
“I am impressed with the willingness and openness of Dr. Cohn to share all of his assets (intellectual, products, etc.) with the MGCP students. You have developed an incredible model/package for mental training. Even though we are paying for your service, you are passing on a legacy built on your contribution to the world of sports. Thank you for that.”
~Tony Melito, MGCP