How to Understand Your Athletes’ Needs
A mental game coach trying to establish himself recently asked me this question:
“What is the number one mistake mental coaches make on the first session with an athlete?”
I’ll give two answers to this question today because I think the answer depends on your philosophy about how to do mental coaching…
First, I believe you must understand your student or athlete before you begin formal coaching. I agree with the notion, “Seek first to understand,” as Steven Covey says.
A mistakes mental coaches make is not fully understanding the mental game needs of the student before starting to instruct or coach.
Besides teaching my MGCP students the phases of mental coaching, we discuss how to do a preliminary assessment (using the AMAP) even before you meet with the student.
In the MGCP course, we also talk about what questions to ask in the first session with a student to gain more information that you don’t get from an assessment.
I suggest you are really an investigator first and then a coach later. I want to understand my students fully before I begin coaching for many reasons.
Thus, in my first session with an athlete, I’ll go over his or her assessment and drill down with relevant questions to understand my student.
I know some mental game experts who are more directive and want to begin coaching in the first session without first understanding the student’s needs. And I think this is a mistake.
Second, I also think it’s important for you to develop rapport with your student in the first session. You want to put your student at ease and gain their trust.
So, I spend a few moments discussing my student’s background, the plan for coaching, and asking more basic questions before getting into the more difficult questions about their mental game.
Of course, this is just one approach you can use. But it’s worked well for my MGCPs and myself over the years.
If you have not done so, please complete an application at the MGCP website:
If you have already submitted your MGCP application, please email me to request the enrollment forms.
Please call me at 888-742-7225 if you have any questions about the course.
Students in the MGCP program get access to the same mental game assessments I use in my work–The AMAP, GMAP, and TCAP. I teach you how to evaluate an athlete’s or team’s mental approach and what relevant questions to ask in the initial interview stage. Find more details about the course here: