How to Manage Strict Expectations
Last week, I wrote to you about confidence-killer #1 in sports: Harboring strict expectations…
Athletes who maintain very high expectations (demands) easily lose confidence when they don’t perform up to their expectations.
Strict expectations also can lead to judgmental thinking and self-doubt. Even worse, athletes become frustrated when they fail to perform up to their expectations and lose focus altogether.
This week, I’d like to discuss confidence booster #1: How to manage these strict expectations. When you can manage strict expectations, you or your athletes’ confidence will flourish…
A few coaches and athletes do resist my idea about expectations being harmful to performance. That’s because they see confidence and expectation as one in the same. But they are not.
So how can you remove the problems of strict expectations?
Here’s the plan:
- Identify what expectations get in the way for you or your athletes.
- Throw expectations away–stop demanding you must reach them.
- Replace them with more manageable goals or objectives.
Most athletes find it hard to stop focusing on to expectations because they have done it for so long (and often adopt them from others).
So what’s the solution?
The solution is to replace strict expectations with more manageable objectives or what we call process goals (mini goals).
Think of process goals as objectives or performance cues and not really goals you must achieve. Remember that you strive for and focus on goals–you don’t have to reach them.
What are the objectives you should focus on? Ask your one important question:
“What can I focus on that will help me execute or prepare for…” …this shot …this play …this pass, or …this race?
When you focus on small objective that help you execute in the moment, such as your target or committing to the play, for example, your mind is locked into the present and not obsessed with obtaining results (a la expectations).
Here are a few sport-specific examples of objectives or mini goals:
- Golf: Focus on picking smart targets
- Tennis: Focus on trusting my forehand strokes
- Baseball: See the ball and react. Keep it simple.
- Hockey: See the open player for the pass
- Swimming: Focus on staying on top of the water
- Basketball: Focus on being decisive with shooting
Obviously, you can select many objectives to help you focus on execution. But the key is to select an objective or performance cue that will help you prepare for or execute a good play, shot, routine, or pitch.
And keep it simple, don’t over-complicate your performance!
Hey, if you enjoy my mental game tips, please forward this email to other athletes or coaches who would appreciate it.
Next week, I’ll discuss confidence killer #2 of 6.
Your Mental Game Coach,
Dr. Patrick Cohn
p.s. You can learn all my confidence-boosting tips via my popular “Confident Athlete” CD and workbook series. Learn more here:
And for young athletes, coaches and parents of young athletes:
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
For All Athletes – Learn Confidence-Boosting Techniques!
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?
Have you labeled yourself as a loser, poor closer, or mediocre athlete and these labels keep you stuck in a rut of self-pity and indecision?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, check out The Confident Athlete!
The Confident Athlete CD and workbook program is a 14-day plan for ultimate self-confidence. This program is ideal for any athlete or coach that wants to discover proven confidence-boosting techniques guaranteed to drastically build self-confidence and improve sports performance.
Learn more about one of our most popular CD programs in The Confident Athlete Series…
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)
“I am a ASP world qualifying professional surfer and after beginning the ‘The Confident Athlete’ I had an almost instant change in attitude about my own surfing ability and my mindset going into competition. By using the Confident Athlete strategies, my confidence has done a complete 180 degrees. I won a local pro/am a few weeks back, and just had my best result of the year in one the last big events on the world circuit this last week in Brazil! It is my secret weapon!”
~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