When working with athletes who want to increase their confidence and create an inner dialogue that will help improve their performances, I always start with an assessment of their current level of mental toughness. I want to find out what is going right and what is going wrong. I need to know how the athlete is currently handling pressure, adversity, how well they are able to concentrate, and whether or not they own a winning attitude. Once the results of the assessment are collected we begin to develop a plan for changing the athletes’ mental game.
So what does changing an athletes mental game actually mean? First of all, it involves daily reflection. This is the part where the athlete begins to gather information at each practice and each competition. It creates better awareness in terms of what athletes have been doing, what habits they’ve created, and what they need to change. The next step involves setting specific goals and creating a plan of action for achieving those goals. The athlete will then examine any current relaxation techniques that they may use and with the help of the hypnotherapist these techniques will be replaced and/or modified as necessary.
Another important aspect of changing the mental game is the development of a tool kit, which will provide the athlete with a quick reference to help them at practice and at competitions. Although some of the techniques used will be interactive in either office sessions or on Skype, many will be mobile techniques allowing the athlete to access them any where. By using mobile techniques, the athlete’s participation is the only thing required to approach the competition with a winning mindset. In addition, a proactive plan is designed to overcome any internal or external obstacles that may be present at the competition.
Based on everything that the athlete learns they develop a personal pre-competition routine, that will assist them in becoming a more prepared, intentional athlete and person. A post competition routine will also be developed allowing the athlete to reflect on their experience, reinforce their successes, and make any adjustments necessary for future competitions.