“Bad weather” mindset

 

Ask yourself, what is your mindset when you are forced to play in inclement weather? For those who play outside sports, what if I told you how you approach practicing in bad weather can significantly influence how you play in bad-weather games?

This topic recently came up with a collegiate golf team I work with. They had just finished playing 36 holes during the first day of a tournament, with the last 18 holes to play the following day.

Day 1 was a gorgeous Fall day - sunny, blue skies, and comfortable temps. The forecast for Day 2, however, was ugly. They were calling for a big drop in the temperature, wind, and rain. 

The course officials were even considering moving tee times up earlier in order to beat the worst of the weather, which meant an even earlier wake up time. 

Most of the team was not jazzed about playing in the inclement weather. Most of the team, that is, except for one player. 

I texted her and said I hope she gets a chance to finish out the...

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The Gratitude Exercise - Reduce Anxiety, Get Present, and Improve Performance

 

Happy Mindset Monday everyone!

In this week’s edition, I decided to post a video from a recent talk I gave to the Seton Hall University baseball team on the power of visualization and imagery. 

I work with my clients to create personalized visualization and imagery exercises to increase confidence, reduce anxiety, and perform at their best when it matters the most. 

Every athlete is different - some prefer unguided visualizations where they create the imagery and content. 

Others prefer guided visualizations which involve listening to someone provide direction to you on what to do and what to think. 

I expose my athletes to both kinds of visualizations, and I use emWave HeartMath software to show them how their bodies react to each kind. 

One of my most effective unguided visualization exercise is the “waves” exercise which I will describe in another blog post.

But given it is Veteran’s Day, I decided to share this video of my...

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Self-Talk: By the Numbers

 

I tell my clients, self-talk is like compounding interest - it can either work for your or against you....you get to decide which.

The problem, however, is that if you don’t make a conscious decision, the deck is stacked against you. 

A National Science Foundation study found that most of us have between 60-80 thousand individual thoughts per day. 

Up to 80% of those thoughts are negative. If you recall a previous episode of Mindset Monday, we discussed that the brain is predisposed to focus on threats. This helps keep us alive and aware of things that can hurt us, but it is also a poor recipe for optimal performance.

Worse, up to 95% of our thoughts are repetitive. 

The result? We may have up to 80K thoughts per day, up to 80% of them negative, and up to 95% of them are repetitive. 

Ouch. That’s a lot of repetitive, negative thoughts rattling around our brains. No wonder athletes struggle with confidence during competition.

To me, this negative...

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When ALL of your clients take their games to the next level...

“Is this normal?”

It finally struck me last night when I was recounting to my wife YET another amazing feat by YET another one of my clients. 

“Is this normal?” she asked.

The truth is... I have no idea. But it made me reflect on my current clients and the amazing successes they’ve enjoyed since they’ve started working with me. 

I’m a poli sci Ph.D., so I am naturally a fan of quantitative and qualitative evidence. Have I helped my athletes perform better? Or am I just looking through rose-colored glasses? Let’s see what the data tells us. 

Here’s the takeaway - ALL of my clients have improved, and MOST have achieved career-best success after working with me. 

That’s an awesome feeling. And while I’m smart enough to know that I’m not the sole or even causal reason for their amazing successes, I also don’t think it is coincidence that EVERY SINGLE ONE OF MY CLIENTS AND...

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4 Irrefutable Truths of Mental Toughness

 

Elite performers understand there are 4 irrefutable truths to mental toughness.

1) We play at our best when we are loose, focused, and confident. Conversely, we play at our worst when we are tight, unfocused, and full of anxiety and doubt. For some of you, playing loose and confident is easy, but for most of us, it is not. We can, however, learn how to get our minds in that optimal state of performance through breathing techniques, positive self-talk, and visualization and imagery exercises - all of which I teach at Top Mental Game.

2) The best athletes have clearly defined goals and an understanding of how to get there. I'm shocked at how many elite athletes I work with at the high school and collegiate level that don't have a clear understanding of their goals. If you don't know where you're going, then it's tough to know how to get there. How can you maximize your time at practice? Where should you be devoting your energy?

3) Speaking of energy, elite performers understand that...

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The Limitations We Face...and How to Overcome Them

 

 

Let's face it. Most of us are designed to be average. 

Whether through self-imposed limitations, evolutionary biology, or cultural norms and pressures, we are likely to revert to the mean.

But we don't have to be average. We can be extraordinary - we just have to know how to overcome the evolutionary and cultural deck that's stacked against us. 

The two most influential components that nudge us to being average are our brains and the fact that we are tribal beings.

Our brains are designed to keep us alive, and to do that, our brains want to keep us safe from harm. The brain does this by diligently alerting us to threats and then dealing with those threats so we can survive (e.g. fight or flight). Walk to the edge of a cliff, and your brain sends signals to your body that danger is lurking. Same thing when you are asked to deliver a speech to a large group of strangers. The brain concludes that what kept you alive yesterday and the day before that is likely to...

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No greater joy.....

Is there anything better than watching your clients succeed even beyond their wildest dreams?!?

This weekend, two of my players had EPIC performances!

Maddie Sager (Sr, Phoenixville, PA) and Sarah Fouratt (So, Santa Maria, CA) just won the Nittany Lion Invitational at Penn State, besting 72 golfers from 12 other D-1 schools.

This is Maddie’s first-ever tournament win in college and she set a career low for a 3-round tournament, firing a 214.

It is also the first collegiate win for Sarah. But to do it, she had to shoot a 4-under 68, which turns out to be a Seton Hall record for a par-72 course and a career best for her, in the final round.

The best part? Both Sarah and Maddie (in the second pic) have been working with me since February to improve their mental game and to become the best version of themselves.

The pic of Maddie below is her SIX MONTHS AGO, listening to a personalized visualization recording of her “perfect round” that we collaborated on together. The...

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Performance & Stress - Where are YOU at?

 

What is the optimum level of stress/pressure at which athletes perform at their best?

Are you the type of athlete that needs to get “amped up” before a game or competition? 

Or are you the type that gets too stimulated before a competition and needs to dial it back to perform at your best? 

The answer to these questions may help determine what kind of pre-game/pre-competition routine you should be doing.

More importantly, the answer to these questions will likely improve your chances of performing at your best when it matters the most. 

The attached video discusses the relationship between performance and stress that impacts all athletes. It covers what is called the inverted-U theory, or to be precise, the Yerkes-Dodson theory.  If we experience too little stress/stimulation, we don’t feel motivated to perform at a high level. Too much stress/stimulation, on the other hand, can be debilitating and lead to poor performance. 

What...

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