How to Help Athletes Apply Skills
If you work with athletes on their mental game, you know most of your clients can understand the mental strategies you teach. But the big question is: Can they apply what they learn to practice and competition?
My #1 challenge as a mental coach is helping my athletes apply what they learn to practice and competition.
Athletes understand the concepts of refocusing, proactive self-confidence, and preshot routines. They embrace these skills…
I find a huge divide between the conceptual strategies in sports psychology and athletes’ ability to act on it.
One person asked the following question on my mental coach survey:
“How do you motivate your one-on-one clients to follow through and actually practice what you teach?”
I don’t think it has to do with motivating clients to take action. They want to make changes and improve. Rather, I think athletes need the right tools to help them take action.
I call this bridging the gap between learning and application of mental game skills….
For example, pregame routines or warm up routines are an ideal way to help athletes bridge the gap.
In the MGCP program, I teach my students how to integrate the mental game into the pregame routine….
When athletes understand that’s the pregame routine is just as much a mental warm up as a physical one, they can take action on the skills they learn from you.
Helping athletes focus on the process instead of outcomes, for example, should begin in the warm up routine, not just when the game starts.
Thus, my success as a mental coach increases when I can help athletes apply what they learn to practice and competition. To do this, you must bridge the gap between understanding and application.