Sports Psychology Coaching

Articles, Quizzes, Interviews & Book Reviews

We offer you an archive of leading-edge articles on sports psychology, peak performance, the mental game, mental toughness, the psychology of high achievement, coaching, and related topics.

Many of these articles have been read by millions of people in publications the world over to help improve their sports performance. Click on the links at the right to go to the section you want, then click on the article titles to read the articles.

We also offer several free quizzes designed to test your mental game skills, in addition to interviews of Bill Cole, and reviews of books related to Sports Psychology Coaching.

Article Topics:

Sports Psychology and Mental Training
Mental Success Strategies
Peak Performance and Mental Toughness
Republishing Guidelines



Book Reviews


Sports & Performance Articles:








Dog Agility





Mixed Martial Arts

Motorcycle Riding

Motor Sports


Olympic Weightlifting








Table Tennis

Team Roping


Transitions In Sport


Water Polo


Sports Psychology and Mental Training

The Psychology Of Sport - An Overview Of An Exciting, Valuable Field

This article looks at the field of sport psychology and discovers how it can help you as an athlete, as a parent of an athlete, or as a coach. This article covers nine areas the psychology of sport examines and practices in helping people. 833 words.

What Does A Sports Psychology Consultant Do? Do You Need This Specialized Mental Advisor?

This article gives you a broad overview of the world of sports psychology consultants. You will learn who uses sports psychology consultants, how they operate, and what they can do for you. A sports psychology consultant addresses critical sports learning and performance areas such as mental readiness, concentration, motivation, teamwork, communication, the zone and managing a sports career. Discover the many ways a sports psychology consultant can help you as an athlete, as a parent of an athlete, or as a coach. 1672 words.

Do You Have a Sports Psychologist On Your Success Team? Discover What This Mental Game Coach Can Do For You

Top professional athletes and coaches know how important it is to have a solid mental game. In pro golf alone, it's been estimated that over 80% of men and women pro golfers use a sports psychologist or mental game coach. Here are seven major ways you can utilize a sports psychologist to help you improve faster and create sustainable success in your sport. 567 words.

What Does A Mind Coach Do? Do You Have One On Your Success Team?

You've heard of mind coaches. We train the mind and emotions of athletes so they can learn better, practice more effectively and compete and win more under pressure. I've done this for professional tennis players, golfers, water skiers, cricket players, MMA fighters, and countless other athletes in over 55 sports to date. How about you? Do you have a mind coach on your team? This article shows you how a mind coach can help you reach your athletic dreams, and make them a reality. 490 words.

Myths About Sports Psychology: 32 Misconceptions About The Mental Game Of Sports Explained

Sport is a mind game. A place where a small difference in mental powers often makes a big difference between winning and losing. The field of sports psychology can help athletes and coaches succeed faster and achieve higher sports goals than they ever dreamed possible, but there are many myths and mysteries surrounding this fascinating field. This article examines 32 sport psychology myths and offers facts and analysis to shed new light on age-old misinformation and misunderstandings. 2858 words.

Why Are Some Athletes Reluctant To Use Sports Psychologists?

Many people are reluctant to go to a physician out of fear. Many athletes also steer clear of sports psychologists out of fear, and worse, the social stigma that still exists when asking for mental help. When an athlete does call a sports psychologist, it is often when all else has failed, they have an important event coming up, and they need mental help--fast. Virtually every college, national, professional and Olympic sports team has a sports psychologist on staff and countless individual professional athletes work closely with sports psychology consultants. Learn the 72 reasons athletes avoid sports psychologists. Discover the many benefits of sports psychology training, and what to expect in a sports psychology session. 6602 words.

Championship Superstar Athletes: What Makes Them Tick?

Who is your all-time favorite star athlete? What is inside them that drives them to the heights? All great athletes have common attributes that propel them to be excellent. Learn 10 characteristics common to all superstars and how you can develop them yourself to grow and achieve more than you ever thought possible. 670 words.

Do You Know What A Mental Trainer Does? Do You Need One To Achieve Greater Success?

Professional athletes realize that having a strong mental approach is key to their success. How about you? Do you have a mental process and approach you trust? Does your mind work for you, or against you? This article discusses eight major ways you can utilize a mental trainer to help you improve faster, and create sustainable success in your sport. 876 words.

A Mental Training System Checklist: 50 Mental Game Tools Peak Performers Use

What mental tools do you have in your peak performer's tool kit that will propel you to excellence? Peak performers have a wide array of mental technologies to help them overcome obstacles, prepare for performances, and review and adjust their mental game. Here's a list of superior psychological tools you can use to create your own custom mental training system. 748 words.

Create A Mindset For Winning At Tennis -- Your Competitive Nature Can Be One Of Your Biggest Weapons

This article presents competition tips to help you tune your mind up to compete at your best. Included are examples of behavior to avoid and questions to ask yourself about your competitive attitude. 870 words.

The Stress Of Transitions In Life And Sport: How Both Stressors Impact Your Performance

All throughout the year, but every August and September in particular, I receive many emails and phone calls from parents asking for mental help with their sons and daughters as they move into new schools, new coaching staffs, new living arrangements, new team mates, new coaching styles, new techniques, new playbooks, and many other new demands. For over 40 years, I have been very successful helping young people manage these pressures and in helping them regain their confidence. I have a unique insight into this process, because I saw this phenomenon "up close and personal" as a Division I Head Coach at two west-coast universities and then also as a mental game coach.

The key word is transition. All of the situations described here in transition require adaptation and change. That takes a lot of mental strength, and a lot of good old-fashioned problem-solving. The athlete is not only facing new challenges, but they are leaving behind former support structures and trusted support people that were always there for them. Now they can feel very alone. These are larger pressures for newer college athletes and they often become derailed in trying to figure out how to cope in the face of multiple new challenges, many of them happening all at once. This article lists 17 life transitions from the Holmes-Rahe Life Events Stress Scale, with a link to that test and 36 Transitions That Cause Stress In Sport. Word count is 1163.

The Mental Game Of Fencing - Use Your Mind To Improve Your Performance

Bill Cole, MS, MA was asked to conduct his workshop, The Mental Game of Sports, for the Stanford University Fencing Camp at Stanford University in Palo Alto California. In attendance were a group of young national and international fencing competitors. This article describes this program, The Mental Game of Fencing, and what everyone learned, how it was conducted, and some of the participant's comments. 1231 words.

The Mental Game Of Badminton - A Case Study Of The #1-Ranked Player In The US

This article tells the story of how a badminton player undertook a mental game of badminton training program and achieved the #1 singles ranking in the United States. At the tournament levels of the sport, the mental game of badminton is critical. It separates the winners from the near-winners. It's that final edge that pushes a player into the finals so they can take home the big trophy. Having a strong mental game of badminton is a must for all serious tournament competitors. To succeed at these levels competitors need to build mental toughness, a deep will to win, sharp focus and the ability to make come-backs after challenging points and matches. 860 words.

Mental Success Strategies

The Fear of Failure - Nothing Succeeds Like Failure: How To Bounce Back From Defeat And Reach Your Potential

How do you react when you make a mistake, or when you fail? Do you have a plan for using failure to help you succeed? Top-achieving performers and achievers have developed powerful mental strategies for bouncing back from seeming defeats and to catapult themselves to the next level of success. You can learn those strategies too. 797 words.

The Fear of Success: How to Overcome It

Is the fear of success real? How could anyone possibly fear such a wonderfully positive thing as success? As strange as it sounds, many people do fear success. This fear holds them back from achieving their goals and dreams. It may sound more reasonable to fear failure, and not to fear success. What is this all about? Here are some reasons people fear success. Think these through and you'll begin to resolve these issues within yourself. 593 words.

10 Mental Toughness Strategies To Help You Reach Your Fitness, Weight And Health Goals

Fitness and weight changes work best when done from the inside out, rather than the outside in. What that means is, discover why you want to change, what the internal resistances are that may hold you back, and how you will adjust your attitude to bring those changes about. Here are 10 mental toughness strategies you will find critical in "making weight". 513 words.

Peak Performance and Mental Toughness

The Mental Game Of Olympic Weightlifting: Break Through Your Mental Barriers

I've had the pleasure of being the mental game coach to many athletes competing in the sport of Olympic weightlifting from local and regional levels to the national and international stages. This article helps weightlifters break through their mental barriers by discussing The One-Hit Wonder Syndrome and offers suggestions on how to navigate that by comparing negative pressure vs. positive pressure. It details the Imposter Syndrome by showing how famous entertainers fall prey to it and how to determine when you are confident. It also lists 12 ways lifters think incorrectly, which can lead to clarking, and 12 ways lifters can think correctly that leads to confident lifts.

Psyching Up For Greatness: 7 Pre-Event Mental Preparation Strategies.

Do you ever wonder why you perform with excellence one day and can't get out of your own way the next? The answer might lie in how you prepare. Here are seven top tips to get you focused and ready to take on the world for any task or performance. 414 words.

The Twenty Most Dangerous Myths About Peak Performance

In what arenas do you want to perform better? To improve your performance abilities, you need to recognize, understand and be able to avoid the myths surrounding performance. Top performers have seen all the traps, pitfalls and blind alleys about performing, and have devised methods to overcome them to be able to sustain high levels of performance under all adverse conditions. Learn to avoid these twenty peak performance myths and you will immediately see your performances soar. 1887 words.

Mental Toughness: The 69 Characteristics Of Mentally Tough Individuals

What does it mean to be mentally tough? Why do top achievers and performers revere it? The quality of mental toughness means that an individual has the ability to master the naturally unmanageable desires of the body and mind and bring them under a discipline to achieve and sustain demanding goals and performance under pressure. Mental toughness is something championship athletes possess. This article describes the 69 characteristics of mental toughness. 578 words.

Mental Toughness And The Zone

Top performers seem to have the ability to enter the zone at will. Discover how to build mental and emotional resilience so you can enter the zone on command. 628 words.

The Mental Game Of Golf: Ten Strategies For Better Concentration

Do you arrive at the golf course hoping your A game will show up that day? Or do you have a system for making sure your concentration will be zoned in? Players who give consistent performances know how to fine-tune their minds. Here are ten mental strategies that can help you improve your concentration in golf. 788 words.

The Mental Game Of Baseball: Mental Toughness Wins Ball Games

When I was the Sport Psychology Coach for the Stanford Baseball Team they were ranked number one in the United States. We worked on mental toughness every day. We also worked on focus, mental preparation and building and maintaining routines and mental recovery strategies. This article gives you five mental game of baseball strategies you can use right away. 541 words.

The Mental Game Of Softball: Focus, Toughness And Mental Preparation Win

When you know more about the mental game of softball, and of how to manage your own mental approach, you can look forward to improving your effectiveness and enjoyment in your favorite sport-softball. This article tells you about visual focus cues, keeping your hands loose, monitoring your body language and sharpening your rituals. 647 words.

The Mental Game Of Soccer: Are You A Mentally Tough Athlete?

What are your mental strengths as a soccer player? Do you have mental toughness, particularly under pressure? Do you have the ability to let go of mistakes in a contest? Can you maintain confidence in the face of setbacks? This article gives you four mental strategies for the mental game of soccer you can use to boost your mental soccer skills back into overdrive. 1087 words.

The Mental Game Of Volleyball: Winners Have Calm, Focused Mental Toughness

Learn about the mental game of volleyball, and of how to manage your own mental process. You are in charge of what is in your mind, and about how you react to situations. As you take more responsibility for yourself you will gain a growing sense of power and mastery over yourself. Take that power, and improve your game. 521 words.

The Mental Game Of Squash: Manage Your Mind To Win

Learn about the mental game of squash, and how to manage your mind in lessons, training and matches. Learn how to laser target your focus and how to show your competitive fire and will to win. Learn confident communication skills that let people know they can't push you around. Make your mind your strongest weapon out there. 690 words.


The Mental Game Of Diving: Manage The Fears And Doubts To Win

For many years I've been the mental game coach to divers who have succeeded at the top diving competitions in the sport. I've coached remotely at the London Olympics and Rio Olympics (one Bronze medalist), had winners in the US Olympic Trials, three top-ten finishes in the World Championships, a Silver Medalist at the FINA Diving World Cup, a Silver Medalist at the Pan American Games, a Silver Medalist at the FINA Diving World Championships, a USA Diving National Champion and three first-place wins at the NCAA Division I National Diving Championships. My clients have been members of Team Diving USA, Olympic Diving Team USA, Team World Cup Diving, and many other teams. Learn four key mental diving skills I teach to help you perform better. 1264 words.

The Mental Game Of Polo: Build An Unstoppable Competitive Mindset

This article about the mental game of polo teaches you how to manage what's in your mind. Remember that how you think and feel comes from you, not the outside, and to stay calm, yet energized, and ways to handle the dead time as well as the action, and to believe you belong (with a way to reduce pressure on yourself). May you enjoy all your polo matches! 731 words.

The Mental Game Of Racquetball Focus Your Mind, No Matter What

I've been the mental game coach to dozens of racquetball players over the years. The mental game of racquetball is one of my specialties. At two major universities I taught racquetball to general college students and also taught physical education majors how to play and teach racquetball. I've specialized in the mental game of racquetball since the early 1970's when I competed. This article outlines five strategies you can employ in these situations so you can keep your mind laser-focused and play well under any degree of pressure. 1124 words.

The Mental Game Of Running: Find Your Mental Power For Peak Performance.

I've been mental game coach to runners in many categories: track, marathons, ultras, obstacle races, biathlon, and distance races of all lengths. I've done this with High School, college, AAU and senior runners. My clients have won local, state, regional, national and international events, including 4th place in the Redbull 400 World Championships in Germany, 3rd place in the Philadelphia Toughest Mudder Obstacle Race Course, and 3rd place in an international Skyrunning Ultra in Mexico. This article gives you four mental approaches I use with runners. 1232 words.

The Mental Game Of Table Tennis: Confidence, Concentration and Composure

Learn about the mental game of table tennis, and how to make the most of the powers of your mind. How is your mental game? Do you have the level of confidence you want? Are you able to concentrate at an intense level for the entire match, and over the course of a tournament? Can you relax and remain composed, even in the face of relentless match pressure? This article gives you three powerful mental strategies to help you get more out of your mental approach to the game. 918 words.

The Mental Game Of Swimming: Mind Over Matter Results In Success

Here are four mental strategies for the mental game of swimming you can use to raise the level of your swimming-immediately: relax more to go faster, don't blow big meets out of proportion, if you are a star, expect some flak, and how to keep your parents under control. 673 words.

The Mental Game Of Gymnastics: Building Mental Toughness And Confidence

Learn about the mental game of gymnastics, and of how to manage your own mind. Learn how to appreciate yourself more as being a tough athlete in a tough sport and how to be more positive, and to visualize success. Finally, learn how to coach your coach to be a better communicator. 559 words.

The Mental Game Of Mixed Martial Arts

Do you train your mind as hard as you train your body? Is your mind an ally or an enemy when you step into the ring? Modern fighters embrace mental toughness. They know they must have the mental resiliency and hardiness that comes from mental training. This article discusses seven mental training methods I use with these combat sports. 983 words.

The Mental Game Of Climbing

This article gives you some new mental insights into the mental game of climbing. You will learn how to manage your mind, and how to maintain contact with the present time zone and how to avoid having your mind fall back into the past with regret and anger or having it zoom into the future with fear or worry. Discover the attachment breathing technique that helps you clear your mind and stay present-focused during each move. 881 words.

The Mental Game Of Basketball

I've been the mental game coach to dozens of basketball players, teams and coaches over the years. The mental game of basketball is one of my specialties. I've coached basketball players on Team USA, and top college programs like Stanford and UTEP.

Have you had a mean, toxic, negative, bullying coach? How did that affect you? If you compete long enough, and you have enough coaches, you are bound to have a coach you don't like. I don't mean a coach who is not qualified, or who is not skilled. I mean a coach who is downright negative. Unfortunately, coaching is one of the last bastions of institutionalized abuse. If a teacher did what many coaches do to players—yell, scream, call names, belittle, ignore them, punish them, etc.—what do you think would happen? A teacher like this would probably be sanctioned, suspended or fired very quickly. A coach who did this might get an long as they're winning. How should you deal with a negative coach? How can you protect your self-confidence?

This article outlines five strategies you can employ in these situations so you remain mentally strong and continue enjoying the great game of basketball.
1304 words.

The Mental Game Of Dancing

I have been mental game coach to national level and world-class dancers, and have been able to help them get past stage fright and other performance issues to achieve excellence in auditions and competitions. Here are three mental approaches to performance enhancement you might find helpful in your own dance career. 464 words.

The Mental Game Of Motor Sports

This article gives you new mental insights into the mental game of motor sports. It teaches you about the cocoon nature of the zone, and how to achieve that under pressure. Discover the art of fine-tuning, where you become aware of yourself, and make adjustments to get into the zone and stay there. 1294 words.

The Mental Game of Motorcycle Riding: The Art Of Awareness Leads To Peak Performance

I've been fortunate to be the mental game coach to multiple national motorcycle racing champions and professional motorcycle racing competitors. I've helped them improve their mental preparation, ability to handle pressure, and to develop a deep, laser focus. You can learn these skills too. The master skill for being a solid, adaptable, consistent rider is awareness. That's the magic word. With it, all is possible. Without it, almost nothing is possible. Learn how awareness is blocked, and how to enhance it so you ride to your potential. 1427 words.

The Mental Art of Motorcycle Riding

A big part of achieving "riding face" is the ability to be engaged in what you are about to do, BEFORE you do it. Athletes call this game face and it is integral to their success. Game face or riding face is having a mental expectation of success, visualizing or planning for what you are about to do and having a deep, undistracted focus. Awareness is the master skill. This article explains in more detail how awareness is blocked and what you can do to remove those blocks. 1462 words.

The Mental Game Of Team Roping

This article on the mental game of team roping gives you some new insights into the psychological aspects of team roping. You will learn how to manage your mind, how perfectionism is ruining your performances, and how to change that. You will also learn how to identify your cues and rituals to improve your focus. 1093 words.

The Mental Game Of Dog Agility

This article on the mental game of dog agility shows you some important ways to improve your mind and emotions so you can manage pressure, stay focused on the correct cues and create sustainable peak performance. This article tells you how to understand and use the concept of control factors and the process vs. outcome focus method. 960 words.

The Mental Game Of Football

I've been the mental game coach to football players, coaches and parents at the high school, college and pro level. I've mentally trained players for the NFL Combine, for media interviews, and for transitioning into college and the pros. I'm the sport psychology advisor to many football players and coaches. What are some of the top mental issues you would like to improve so you can reach more of your football potential? What are some mental issues holding you back from football greatness? If you're like many of my clients, you have a need for more self-belief, and better mental toughness. Here are four mental approaches I have found very useful for football players. 917 words.

The Mental Game Of Music

This article on the mental game of music teaches you the importance of visualization and breathing as a means to peak performance. You'll learn the relationship of visualization to the zone, and how to call up the zone experience on purpose. Discover how to breathe and how your breath brings you into contact with the present moment, which is the experience all performers seek. 960 words.

The Mental Game Of Chess

This article on the mental game of chess shows you some ways to improve your mental powers so you can better manage the pressure of a competitive chess event. Learn how to reduce stress and pressure when you compete and how to manage your energy so you can focus better, for longer periods of time. Discover how to manage negative and anxiety-inducing comments from others and how to keep your mind in the present, so you can focus on what is happening. 840 words.

The Mental Game Of Cycling

I've been mental game coach to cyclists in many aspects of the sport, ranging from BMX, downhill, road racing and time trialling. I coached a member of the United States National Cycling Team to change her pre-competition mental readiness rituals, resulting in her winning the Gold Medal at the Pan American Championships in downhill bicycling. How about you? How's your mental game of cycling? Do you have mental toughness? Can you maintain focus? Do you love what you do? Here are four mental approaches with cyclists I've used with great success. 919 words.

The Mental Game Of Water Polo How To Focus Your Mind, No Matter What

I've been the mental game coach to dozens of top national water polo players over the years. I've also been mental coach to many swimmers and divers, ranging from high school, state, national, international to the Olympic level. This article outlines five strategies water polo players can employ to keep their mind laser-focused in the present to play better under pressure. 1152 words.

The Sports Psychology Peak-Performance Model In Business: The New Corporate Ethic

Corporations today are committed to helping organizations empower their people with high-performance work styles. People who are identified as peak performers, even in high stress environments, have mastered the skills top achievers in all disciplines possess. The secrets of renewal in a high-stress world are revealed in this cogent work. 1899 words.


What's a Mental Game Coach?

You're familiar with psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, peak performance coaches and sport psychologists, but you may be wondering, what's a mental game coach? Read this in-depth article about how to choose the best type of this unique, specialized mind coach who will help you reach more of your potential in business, sports and life itself. 2004 words.

Why Hire a Coach?

A tennis coach, golf coach, swim coach, personal coach, business coach, executive mentor, financial planner, personal trainer, sport psychology coach. What do all these coaches have in common? Why work with a coach? A coach won't do the work for you, but here are ten top tips how a coach can help launch you to the next level. 373 words.

The Top 15 Characteristics Of Excellent Coaches: Winning The Mental Game Of Coaching

What makes for an excellent coach? Is it something that can be learned, or are great coaches born? Of the coaches you've had, what made them stand out? Read this article to discover Bill Cole's view of the top 15 characteristics of excellent coaches. 400 words.

Peak Performance Training For The Coach: Get In The Flow!

How can you as a coach bring the world of peak performance to bear upon your life and your work? How can you embrace the ethic and abilities of the peak performer to raise the level of your entire life's functioning on a daily basis? How can you help your clients to become their own best coaches? How is your own mental game? Learn the secrets peak performing coaches use to inspire others. 1226 words.

Article Republishing Guidelines

  • You have our advance permission to use these sports psychology coaching articles in any form you choose. Typically, organizations use these articles on their web sites, in e-zines, in newsletters, within larger articles, in company publications and the like. All articles have been previously published externally or internally, but we hold the copyright. There is no charge for their use. There may be a fee if used in programs we provide you.

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Mental Game Quiz: How's Your Mental Game?

Take This Peak Performance Quiz And Discover Your MGPQ (Mental Game Power Quotient)™.

Sports Psychology Quiz: How Well Do You Prepare Mentally?

Take This Quiz To Discover Your Mental Preparation Quotient.


Yahoo! Sports Interview

Bill Cole was interviewed about Super Bowl XLI and sports psychology on a panel including football coaching legends Bill Walsh and Dick Vermeil.

Book Reviews

The Sport Psych Handbook
By Shane Murphy, editor

This well-written, comprehensive book was edited by Shane Murphy, a leader in the field of Sports Psychology..

Best Sport Psychology Books
Recommended by Bill Cole


Bill Cole, MS, MA
Sports Psychology Coaching

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