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....
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...
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...
“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...
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.
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...
If these are some of your experiences then this blog might give you a new perspective to create change and movement.
At first sight you may look at the title of today's writing and have to spend a couple seconds thinking about it. However, I wrote the title purposely. I want to have a look at commitment and challenge you to re-think how you see this rich and vital concept.
I think it is safe to say that we are in the FOMO generation (Fear Of Missing Out). I hear with consistency the phrase, “I do not want to commit to ________; something better might come up that I do not want to miss out on.” I believe the effects of this mindset are destroying the quality of our relationships, work and sport. We...
We would all like to believe that we are in CHARGE of or CONTROL our lives. Fundamentally we do make choices with our behaviors and thoughts day to day. However, the shocking truth is that we are all CREATURES OF HABIT. It is these habits, or repetitive behaviors, that end up determining the quality of our lives.
Over the years I have become more aware of the connection between the quality of my life and my habits. In other words I have been struck by how much I get what I have earned. For example, in relationships I have had a habit of talking more than I am listening. This came to my awareness as I was talking with my son one day. I went into the conversation with a desire to learn about his level of interest in his upcoming college experience and realized as I was driving to my next appointment that I had actually learned nothing. This was not because he was unwilling to share, it was because I didn’t listen. I have work projects that I have authentic excitement about that...