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Simplify Your Mental Game

Anything in life can become too complex. Take computers, for example. Most of us use them every day, but we really do not know how they work inside. We use them for simple tasks such as to write e-mails and for word processing.

The makers of computers have made them simple for us to use (most of the time). If computers were too complex, we would not perform at our peak efficiency.

Your sports performance is no different. If learning a new backhand or beam routine becomes too complex for the student, no learning happens and nothing gets accomplished.

We can say the same for your mental game. When you make your performance too complicated by over-thinking or over-analyzing, your body will not respond well.

Have you heard the saying, "paralysis by over analysis? "

A few years ago, I was at the Buick Invitational in San Diego working with some golf students. Joe Durant approached me saying he was thinking too much about his preshot preparation.

He went on to talk about how he was over-analyzing the final steps in his routine. He was thinking too much about what to do before he executed a shot and could not pull the trigger.

His over-thinking was sabotaging his natural athletic ability.

We worked for a few minutes on the practice tee discussing how to simplify his approach. I showed him how to stop over-analyzing and use his natural feel to perform like an athlete, and not a mechanized robot.

He liked my approach to make his thought process simple. Although Joe only scored a top 40 that week, but he won his next two events!

Mental training should not be complex, but some mental coaches do not abide by this principle. They use psycho-babble and complex terms such as inverted U hypothesis to try to explain concepts that should be easy to understand.

*Athletes cannot understand and apply complex mental training strategies.*


Want to learn simple, proven mental toughness skills that you can apply to competition? Grab my free online mental training newsletter, Sports Insights Magazine - for athletes, coachesFree Articles, and sports parents:

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Dr. Patrick Cohn is a master mental game coach who work with professional and amateur athletes, sports parents, and teams of all levels. Visit for more information.

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