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Dan's Journal

Triple Threat! 3 Different Ways to Mentally Improve

Self Talk: "Hold it steady, hold it steady!!"

Self Talk: "Hold it steady, hold it steady!!"

Hi all!

In this post you'll find 3 things - a short & sharp review of building mental attributes, a practical psychology resource that you can download and use right now for free, and a great quote I've found relevant to high-performers. Enjoy!

Resilience Wasn't Built in a Day

Mental qualities are an established part of the conversation around high-performance in sport. In the pursuit of success, the importance of attributes like resilience, self-belief and inner-drive is obvious. We rightly promote the message to aspiring athletes that these are some of the essential components of a top performer. But whilst we highlight the need for these mental attributes, we must ensure the proper foundations are laid for their construction.
 
Part of any coach’s responsibility is to teach physical techniques and knowledge (e.g. tactics) of a given sport. When learned well, the techniques and ‘know-how’ enable the athlete to display desirable attributes in their performance, e.g. control, power, finding space, dictating tempo. In the exact same way, the mental attributes we want to see athletes display are enabled by well-learned mental techniques and know-how.
 
Effective internal dialogue (self-talk), looking for solutions instead of avoiding problems, cultivating varied sources of confidence, these types of mental techniques - practiced and forged in the fire of competitive experience - are a foundation on which an athlete can build those mental attributes required for success.
 
Keep promoting qualities like resilience, self-belief, drive, because those messages raise awareness and motivate. But check that you complement them with coaching on the mental techniques and strategies that these attributes are built upon, or construction won’t start.


Mental Qualities Worksheet!

Here's a worksheet that asks athletes to identify important mental attributes in their sport / position, rate themselves against those attributes and plan how to improve. Great for coaches to use with groups (get them discussing it!) or for athletes to use independently.
Just click here to download the PDF, print a few copies off and you're away!


Quote I've Found Interesting

"If someone succeeds in provoking you, realise that your mind is complicit in the provocation." - Epictetus

I've been thinking about this quote in relation to gamesmanship and also poor officiating decisions. How we choose to interpret these inevitable aspects of competition directly influences our reaction to them. Is your interpretation helping or hindering an effective reaction?


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Dan Carter