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!
There are many questions athletes ask when they ponder the possibility of working with a Mental Skills Coach. Sometimes, many questions can be answered by simply unpacking some of the most common myths. In a past blog, I deconstructed one myth.
Today I'm deconstructing Myth #2.
Myth 2: If I work with a Mental Skills Coach it must mean that I am psychologically weak.
The truth is, engaging in mental skill work is more about mastery, leading to increased strength and skill. In other words, we are weakened because we lack skills. Most athletes are not weak people simply because skills are lacking. Over the last 20 years, I have learned that mastery is a long process and as one honors the struggle of mastery they see consistent growth and progress.
However, where our skills are inadequate to the challenge, then weakness is revealed.
In the world of sports when a weakness is revealed, then we become vulnerable. It is this vulnerability that leaves us lacking in getting where we want to go....
One evening I got a call from a young athlete that had tried out for a specific team, and he was struggling to understand why he did not make the team. With great frustration and anger, he detailed for me all the work he did and how angry he was that the work did not seem to make a difference. As is often the case, I dug a bit deeper to understand what was truly fueling his intensity. He went on to describe how many of his friends would be on the team and how sad he was to miss out on those experiences. I replied; “Is there anything else that is hard for you?” He then said; “I know my dad is really disappointed in me. He told me that I needed to work harder to keep improving rather than play video games.”
I have had this type of conversation too many times to count.
Tryouts bring with them fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, joy, relief, and uncertainty.
This blog is not designed to be about the fairness, or lack of it in youth sports, although there might be...
Some months ago I was talking with a young athlete, and I asked him how things were going for him. His response was, “I DONT KNOW.” To most people this response would be a dead end and the conversation would have moved on to something else.
Not this time!
I continued to explore with him what “not knowing” meant. My next question was, “Does 'I don’t know' mean you don’t know how to describe how it is going?" With immediate tears, he said, “YES.”
This experience opened my eyes to the reality that many young athletes are living with deep disappointment, discouragement, and despair without the words to describe their reality. This has emerged as a trend as I have worked individually with young athletes. Much of their experience leaves them confused, frustrated, and without direction.
Recently, I spoke to a young athlete that expressed to me his deep desire to succeed, but with frustration and anger he said, “I have no idea what...
I first thought of this concept when I was on the pool deck of a club swimming team working with individuals as they, one by one, jumped out of the pool for a short mental-skills coaching session. (for 2 hours I rarely have a break because of the interest these amazing athletes have in mental skills development)
Many want to know how they can strengthen their levels of confidence, reduce anxiety, mentally prepare for their races, or move on from a discouraging race.
However, the most often asked question is, “Shaun how do I stay motivated?”
This is an understandable question because most of these athletes train and compete year round. Fatigue, questions about what is being missed out on, and sacrifice lurk under the surface and grow intensely during times of disappointment and discouragement.
Because of the sheer numbers of athletes asking this question I was forced to dig deep and figure out how to respond responsibly to this important question.
What follows is my...
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,...
We ask ourselves questions all the time. Most of these questions start with the word WHAT.
“What should I wear today?”
“What should I say when asked a question?”
“What should I eat?”
We also ask ourselves, “WHAT IF?”
This often leads us to a series of memories that plant us right in the past regretting something we did leading to feelings of inadequacy or shame. I find that the questions that we ask ourselves inevitably shape our perception, perspective and framework for experiencing life.
Questions aim our thinking, awareness and focus.
This morning, while doing my daily journaling, I decided to RIFT off of the the question “WHAT IF?” However, the substance of my “what if” was much different.
Here are some examples:
What if my fears are unfounded?
What if 10 seconds of courage in a relationship could transform it forever?
What if my beliefs about myself are mistaken?
What if my assumptions are unfounded?
Have you ever given thought to the connection between ATTENTIVE CONSISTENCY and SUCCESS?
What I mean by ATTENTIVE CONSISTENCY is the continual capacity to give quality focus and concentration to a pre-determined priority; gaining a deeper and deeper understanding with each days focus. This is very similar to immersing yourself for a period of time in something you have a deep passion for or has significance to you. Examples of ATTENTIVE CONSISTENCY could include a relationship, hobby, business, sport, or even yourself.
But there is a problem.
I believe many of us are missing out on the deep joy and sense of fulfillment that accompanies the capacity to fully engage in and consistently focus on important priorities. We are often lured away from this type of experience because of multiple distractions. I define a distraction as anything that interrupts the flow of our attention.
Ask yourself this question: What is the length of time I can give quality focus and concentration to a...
Have you ever asked yourself what it means to be GREAT? Maybe you haven’t asked yourself this exact question but you have most likely desired and maybe even taken steps towards some form of GREATNESS in your life.
This has increased in importance to me because I believe the understanding of “GREATNESS” has changed from a vigilant pursuit of the uncommon to something used more as an habitual punch line for vague, unwarranted and often average performance and living. Pursuing GREATNESS should be a daily aim.
Because of my passion for this I want to INSPIRE a MOVEMENT of GREATNESS SEEKERS!!
Today, I define GREATNESS as intentionally pursuing my “HIGHEST SELF” while serving others to do the same. I believe pursuing greatness requires (3) things:
First, TRUE GREATNESS requires INTENT and personal initiative. To reach any form of excellence in our lives it is vital that we leverage our WILL. GREATNESS is never an accident. If I am to BECOME a GREAT husband,...
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...