As I shared in past writings, gaining an edge on the competition can take on many points of focus. One can improve their strength, agility, skills, and speed. However, one of the skill sets that often gets overlooked is that of the MIND. I realize that the reason is often a lack of understanding of what it means, along with some MYTHS that cloud one's understanding keeping them at a distance from the experience. I am writing about some myths because if that is the reason why you have not pursued this work I want to attempt to take away that barrier.
Myth 3: Doing MENTAL SKILLS work will be boring, painful, and a waste. I can do this on my own by just trying harder and being more positive.
If you talk to the people I work with, you will find that some started with this very thought. It was not too long before their Mental Skills work became their absolute FAVORITE part of training. It was INSPIRING, INSIGHTFUL, ENCOURAGING, HELPFUL, and maybe most importantly, SO BENEFICIAL!
Myths are beliefs that guide our thinking and behavior that may contain partial truth while also containing misguided information.
When I was growing up my mom would tell me I could not go swimming after dinner because I would drown from immediate cramping. For many years I thought that eating and swimming were dangerous only to find out that it was not true. I could now eat and the jump in the water! FREEDOM.
I suspect that we all have hooked our wagons to mythical beliefs only to uncover or find out the error of our ways. When myths are uncovered, it is because a NEW TRUTH that dispels that myth is learned or discovered through experience. My purpose for writing about myths and mental skills training is to bring new and fresh information to you in a manner that helps open up new roads of understanding. When this happens, you just may uncover something that could help you reach new heights of living and performance.
Myth 1: You have to be struggling to benefit from mental skills...
I often get calls that start off like this, “Shaun my son/daughter is really having a tough time this year. EVERYTHING has changed.” They continue by stating, “Something is off.” They conclude by saying, “I do not know what to do to help! Can you help?”
This is truly a difficult spot for a parent to find themselves. Knowing that your kid is struggling and not knowing why or what you can do to help is truly disturbing and a bit scary as well.
This experience has become far too common and as a result, it is going to be the focus of this blog to help give perspective, guidance and some encouragement to those that might be dealing with this currently or in the future. We can all learn something.
Every player that I have worked with over the years WANTS TO DO WELL AND PLEASE THE COACHES they have. Hopes are high, motivation is strong, and most of the time they have invested significant time and energy to perform well. What often transpires moving...
There isn’t a day in my coaching practice where a question about confidence doesn’t come up.
Confidence is often seen as the CORE DEFICIT when performance is sub par.
I have never heard an athlete say, “Shaun, I am playing really poorly but my confidence is in tact.”
This leads me to think that many understand confidence to be only present when one is playing well and absent when performance is sub par. Therefore, when performance drops confidence drops with it.
Confidence must be understood differently for it to be of great value.
So, what is a better way to think of confidence?
Watch my Building Unshakable Confidence Coaching Video for greater understanding!
To begin I offer this definition of confidence:
Confidence is the belief that one generates concerning their ability to be successful in their arena of performance.
I want to emphasis that for confidence to be present it must be generated from within the individual. Nobody, no matter how well meaning,...
“The trauma that results when coaches over step the boundaries of human decency and respect.”
We have become INCREASINGLY aware and sensitive to the dangers of concussions over the last couple of years. Professional sports is implementing increased protocols in an effort to protect their players as they should. Traumatic brain injuries, as many know, debilitate the functioning of the brain and therefore ends up forever affecting the quality of life for the one affected as well as those around them. We all know that prevention is the key.
There are certainly no shortage of concussions in youth sports. I am glad that greater awareness is paving the way for preventing and protecting more youth sport athletes.
However, there are “BRAIN INJURIES” that our young athletes are encountering with little to no intervention or treatment. These injuries often come in the form of coach/athlete interactions. Often through simple observation you can attend any youth sporting...
Like many, I am fascinated with the formula for SUCCESS. I realize that success has different meanings depending on the source. However, for the sake of this piece I am simply looking to understand a formula for living with purpose, resulting in something being produced, fueled by passion, and challenges our potential.
Simply stated, success might be be defined as living purposely to produce an outcome motivated by passion to realize our potential.
Isn’t this why we pour hours of energy into a sport, career, relationship, hobby?
Are we not truly desiring to have purpose and intention in our living?
Do we not want to see results from our efforts in the form of some outcome?
Are we not trying to live with passion and motivation so we can sustain ourselves through the challenging times?
Are we not also curious about what we are capable of and truly seek to tap into the deep potential that lives often latently in the depths of our being?
I want to suggest that there are 3...
I think most of us would agree that increasing strength is a good thing. Athletes invest countless hours training for the purpose of increasing their strength. They do this because the rigors and challenges about to come REQUIRE ENHANCED STRENGTH to succeed. Without adequate strength they will be overwhelmed and out matched by the demands of the sport.
ATHLETES THAT TRAIN INADEQUATELY ARE ILL PREPARED FOR THE DEMANDS OF COMPETITION.
Physical strength is trained by utilizing resistance. I have never heard of an athlete that goes to the gym to train with AIR. Resistance is a CRITICAL element of strength building. However, if the resistance is not moved with correct form then INJURY can occur which has the exact opposite effect on the body. What initially was intended for BENEFIT has now become HURTFUL simply because of the use of IMPROPER FORM. The RESISTANCE is not the problem. The FORM is the variable that allows for injury.
Through the thousands of conversations and observations I...
I attended my first teen support group about 30 years ago. I remember that night like it was yesterday. My first encounter was with a 15 year old that asked, “What the ******** are you doing here?” To which I honestly had no good response. To be honest, as a recent college graduate I believed that I had answers to the problems that many teens were experiencing at the time. I was there to share wisdom and provide a pathway to better living for those that were lucky enough to listen to my counsel. (I now realize how misguided I was)
This is where MY education began!
For the next 6 months I listened to young people talk about family breakdown, drug abuse, suicide, school failure, rejection, depression, hopelessness, and deep discouragement to name just a few. I realized that my answers were weak and unwanted, not because they were without merit, but because my presence reeked of superiority and judgement. I certainly did not intend this, but in retrospect, I understand.
When people think of a mirror they think of a piece of glass that reflects the image that faces it. Mirrors can be useful because they reflect back to us an image. Mirrors do not judge, have an opinion, talk back, or hate. Like most things when utilized for their intended purpose the value is high.
However, a mirror can be turned into a weapon of mass destruction because of the user. Many spend hours in front of a mirror shaming and hating on themselves because of the judgment and self-condemnation they generate from the image being reflected.
Let me offer a different way to think about a MIRROR.
Recently, I was mentoring a young soccer player. She just finished tryouts and I asked her to share a moment that stood out in her mind. She proceeded to vaguely tell me of a moment where she passed the ball to her teammate and that teammate scored. The initial description was lacking detail and it would have been easy to gloss over with a statement like “good job” or...
Have you ever backed down from an opportunity because you were afraid?
Have you ever felt your heart race while doing something that evoked incredible fear?
Have you ever wished you could have more COURAGE?
Maybe you have organized your entire life in a manner that guards you from facing your fears?
If you can relate to any of these statements I have some GREAT NEWS FOR YOU!
YOU CAN OVERCOME the debilitating nature of FEAR.
I am not saying you should overcome ALL FEAR. Some fear is based on the awareness of danger. Feeling afraid in the face of real danger is normal, natural and helpful. In this case learning to calm oneself is valuable.
For the remainder of this blog I want to focus on HOW TO OVERCOME DEBILITATING FEAR. This is the type of fear that inhibits us from LIVING all out in FULL EXPRESSION of our best self. There are three basic fears that I believe we all need to wage war against on a regular basis.
First, is the fear of what others will think. Second, is the fear of...