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.
What follows is a list of some psychological tools you can use to
create your own custom mental training system. Scan the list, try
some skills that intrigue you, and then develop your own comprehensive
peak performer's tool kit.
1. Visualization skills: using your mental movies to imagine
yourself at peak.
2. Positive self-talk skills: keeping yourself motivated
and on a positive track.
3. Breathing techniques: staying relaxed and in the present,
staying calm under fire.
4. Goal setting: staying focused, energized and on track.
5. Mental game journal: noting your dreams, observations
about your performances.
6. Audio tapes: using off-the-shelf music/voice or customize
your own for inspiration.
7. Affirmations: talking nice to yourself, inspiring and
8. Video tape your performance: seeing yourself perform is
9. Relaxation techniques: staying under control under stressful
10. Pre-performance rituals: having a comforting system for
11. Posture awareness: controlling your perceived image and
your bodily energy.
12. Post-performance review: analyzing how you did and how
to do better.
13. Anger management skills: handling frustration with goal-setting
14. Centering skills: staying grounded, focused, relaxed
and tuned in, all at once.
15. Mistake management skills: dealing with inevitable errors
by cognitive techniques.
16. Momentum skills: using a performance's ambiance to gain
17. Psych-out/heckler management skills: dealing with rude
18. Coach communication skills: having clear, open dialogue
with your coaching team.
19. Contingency plans: having back-up strategies, in addition
to a main plan.
20. Percentage thinking: thinking the way experienced performers
see their discipline.
21. Pre-performance warm-up: having a system for being ready
mentally and physically.
22. Practice performances: practicing gives confidence and
makes skills automatic.
23. Time management skills: using your precious time to become
24. Distributed practice: breaking up your practices instead
of having one big session.
25. Concentration skills: learning how to focus, inward/outward
26. Awareness in-the-moment: being aware of yourself in the
here and now.
27. Thought-stopping: saying STOP! to unwanted thoughts when
28. Pacing skills: controlling your energy and bodily movement.
29. Having a game plan: making a main and backup strategy
for your performance.
30. Performance-charting: having someone analyze your performance
31. Interventions: any skill, technique or approach you use
to improve performance.
32. Shaping: making progressively closer attempts to your
ideal performance target.
33. Process vs. product focus: letting outcome take care
of itself by focusing on process.
34. Reinforcement: giving yourself praise, rewards and strokes
when you succeed.
35. Meditation: relaxing and focusing your mind so you have
36. Modeling: observing ideal behaviors in others and making
them your own.
37. Music: using the power of music to soothe, psyche-up
and motivate yourself.
38. Self-hypnosis: using trance to program yourself for anything
39. The third eye: having an objective, observing part of
the self to self-coach.
40. Role-playing: practicing as an actor how you want to
perform in actuality.
41. Sense of humor: gaining perspective on a pressure situation
by finding mirth in it.
42. Creativity tools: using your mind to see new possibilities,
43. Mentoring: having a mature, successful guide who has
been where you want to go.
44. Daydreaming: using mind wandering as constructive, creative,
45. Assertiveness skills: seeking your rights without being
aggressive or passive.
46. Reframing: seeing a situation in a different way, from
47. Action-orientation: overcoming inertia to initiate and
sustain a project.
48. Risk-taking skills: taking appropriate chances after
49. Perspective skills: keeping all things in strategic and
tactical view at all times.
50. Balancing skills: maintaining center in one's life, under
To learn about sports psychology coaching services offered by Bill
Cole, MS, MA, the Mental Game Coach™, visit www.SportsPsychologyCoaching.com.
Copyright © 2005-2008 Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.
Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on sports psychology, peak performance,
mental toughness and coaching, is founder and CEO of William
B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps sports teams and individuals
achieve more success. He is also the Founder and President of the International
Mental Game Coaching Association, an organization dedicated to advancing
the research, development, professionalism and growth of mental game coaching
worldwide. He is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school
alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published author of books and articles,
and has coached at the highest levels of major-league pro sports and big-time
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