Another Top Mental Game Success Story

 

Nick Blalock is a sophomore player for @cbalincroft and @cbalacrosse.

He was coming off an injury and knew he needed to improve his toughness if he was to achieve his goal of making the varsity and starting at least 1game.

What was holding Nick back from playing his best was not his physical talent or skills...it was his game.

So for 3months, we worked on his goal-setting, self-talk, and ability to perform under pressure.

We used visualization and imagery techniques to allow him to play loose, focused, and confident.

Well, in the last week, Nick...
made the varsity
started in the season opener
...and then, in the 2nd game, Nick scored goals, including the GAME WINNERin 2OT.

Time to establish some new goals, Nick!

If you are looking to give your athlete the mental performance tools to play at their best and maximize their potential...on the field and in life....reach out to me.

 

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Help! I’m a Coach and Want to Teach the Mental Game – Part III

This article was originally published in Soccer Today on November 6, 2020.

Help! I’m a Coach and Want to Teach the Mental Game – Part III

                                         By Bryan Price, Ph.D.

If you’re a soccer coach, chances are you religiously keep up with the latest drills and methods to improve the technical and tactical aspects of your team.

You no doubt study the latest trends in strategy, formations, and styles of play to stay one step ahead of the competition on the pitch.

But if you’re like most coaches, you probably don’t know where to turn for help on the mental game.

Even though U.S. Soccer has designated the psychological component as the 4th pillar of player development, it is the one that is the most difficult for coaches to develop and the pillar that has the fewest resources for coaches and players.

And yet, that...

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Interview with U.S. Swimming Legend Jason Lezak

 

On August 24, I had the privilege of interviewing Jason Lezak about his swimming career and his mental game.

This four-time Olympian is the proud owner of 8 Olympic medals, including four gold medals.

We cover a lot of ground in our discussion, especially about the mental game - goal-setting, self-talk, maintaining discipline, and the extreme toll training for four Olympic games takes on your mind and body.

And of course, we break down perhaps the most epic comeback in swimming history - his record-setting anchor in the 4x100 relay in the 2008 Olympics.

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Help! I’m a Coach and Want to Teach the Mental Game - Part II

If you’re a soccer coach, chances are you religiously keep up with the latest drills and methods to improve the technical and tactical aspects of your team. 

You want to know the latest trends in strategy, formations, and styles of play to stay one step ahead of the competition on the pitch. And, even though U.S. Soccer agrees that the psychological component is the 4th pillar of player development, there are very few quality resources for coaches and players.

Read: TEACHING THE MENTAL SIDE OF YOUTH SOCCER

In an article published last year on how the U.S. Women’s National Team was developing their mental game, the author discussed the important gap between recognizing mental strength training is important and providing the tools need to close this gap:

MOST SOCCER COACHES SAY ‘YES,’ MENTAL TRAINING IS IMPORTANT BUT WHEN ASKED IF THEY ACTUALLY PROVIDE ANY … THE ANSWER IS ALMOST ALWAYS ‘NO.’

But don’t panic. Soccer...

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5 Tips to Build Confidence For Returning Players

 

5 Tips to Build Confidence When Players Return
By Bryan Price

As various states lift restrictions to allow players back on the pitch, everyone associated with youth sports is understandably excited. Players are chomping at the bit to play, coaches can’t wait to get their teams back together, and parents yearn to cheer on their kids from the sideline once again.

But with that excitement comes some anxiety. It’s only natural.

For those near COVID-19 hotspots, shelter-in-place orders have kept players off the pitch for over 10 weeks. That’s a lot of rust to shake off, even if players managed to work out on their own.

So what can players do to get their minds right and return to the pitch with confidence?

1. Have a growth mindset

In her landmark book, Mindset, Dr. Carol Dweck examines what separates students who were able to quickly rebound from adversity versus those who could not. The difference was mindset.

Those who possessed a growth mindset were more likely to...

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The Mental Game: Working on the 4th Pillar During COVID-19

NOTE: THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN SOCCER TODAY ON APRIL 13, 2020. 

Muhammad Ali once said, “Don’t count the days. Make the days count.”

 For those soccer players navigating the COVID-19 crisis, are you making the best use of your time?

Because when this crisis ends and we return to “normal,” it will be apparent who made the days count, and which players simply counted the days.

For the past couple of weeks, I have run 5-day “bootcamps” on how to improve your mental game during this interesting time. This Tuesday through Thursday, I will be running a soccer-specific webinar series from 7-8pm EDT, and U.S. soccer legend Julie Foudy will be making an appearance to talk about her mental game.

If social media is any indication, many players are putting in the work. It’s awesome to see so many clubs providing players and coaches with video tutorials on how to improve technical skills, footwork, and physical...

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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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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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