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Starting Your Mental Training Program

Athletes and coaches prepareto make each year their best in sports. One important step to consider is how to start a mental training program.

No matter how much talent you or your team possesses or how money you spend on equipment and physical training, you cannot reach your potential with a sub-par or an average mental toughness!

Common mental barriers in my work such as doubt, lack of focus, low self-confidence, and poorly stated goals prevent the most talented athletes from reaching peak performance in sports.

One of the most powerful mental blocks for athletes is called negative self-labels. Self-labels are names you give yourself that place limits on your performance, such as "choker, " "loser, " or "butterfingers. " These are very hard to overcome on your own.

Every week, athletes and coaches ask me where to begin with a mental training program and how to start - personal coaching, online coaching, or read mental training books.

Starting a mental training program depends on several factors such as the type and severity of mental game challenges that block your potential, your level of competition, and your commitment to goals.

The very first step in your mental training program is to identify the mental game challenges that hold you back. You may already know what mental blocks sabotage your success in sports.

However, when an athlete begins mental training with me, I almost always discover other mental game challenges beyond the easily apparent issues. It really helps to get input from an expert on this.

The *top ten signs* you can benefit from mental training are:

-You do not have well-defined goals or lack goal specificity.

-You are so self-conscious, you worry about what others think.

-You maintain many self-doubts about your sport.

-You worry about letting others down by not performing to their expectations.

-You suffer from anxiety, worry, or excess tension when in competition.

-You attach your self-worth to how well you perform in sports.

-You lose focus or have mental lapses during critical times of the game.

-You are distracted by little things in your environment.

-You become easily frustrated because of high expectations.

-You cannot perform with freedom or trust in competition.

Can you identify with any of the statements above? This could indicate that you could benefit from a mental training program. The next step is to determine a program that best suits your needs.


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, coachesPsychology Articles, and sports parents:

Article Tags: Mental Training Program, Mental Game Challenges, Mental Training, Training Program, Mental Game, Game Challenges

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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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