When I was growing up my mom would tell me I could not go swimming after dinner because I would drown from immediate cramping. For many years I thought that eating and swimming were dangerous only to find out that it was not true. I could now eat and the jump in the water! FREEDOM.
I suspect that we all have hooked our wagons to mythical beliefs only to uncover or find out the error of our ways. When myths are uncovered, it is because a NEW TRUTH that dispels that myth is learned or discovered through experience. My purpose for writing about myths and mental skills training is to bring new and fresh information to you in a manner that helps open up new roads of understanding. When this happens, you just may uncover something that could help you reach new heights of living and performance.
Myth 1: You have to be struggling to benefit from mental skills coaching.
Back in the day, you might have heard a story of an athlete working with a Sports Psychologist, or Mental Skills coach, primarily initiated when a STRUGGLE was sabotaging performance or life. Much of this work was done privately (nothing wrong with this at all) and with only a few having awareness. The work might have come to the forefront when the athlete had attained some space between that struggle, so they were better able to be open up about it. These brave and courageous individuals carved a pathway for more to consider the value of mental skills work. I have these people to thank and many others that have championed the value of these skills for 30 plus years. However, one shift that I believe is VITAL is to not only associate these skills with overcoming struggle but to understand that anyone CAN ENHANCE their performance, consistency, and overall life quality by learning, practicing, and strengthening their MENTAL SKILLS.
Truth 1: Mental Skills work can be learned, strengthened, and sharpened no matter how you are performing and what you might be going through.
You would never say to yourself, “I am playing good enough to stop getting stronger or more skilled.” It is common to keep pursuing mastery of sport-specific skills, so why would we ever believe that MENTAL SKILLS work is any different?
Learning how to improve your capacity to notice key triggers that lead to poor and unproductive thinking and re-structure the focus of those thoughts and the quality of the thought is significant. Just this one skill has become a game-changing skill for many I have coached.
Learning strategies for overcoming failure by committing to extracting the next piece of learning to enhance future performance has been a game changer not only in sport but life, for many I have coached. These are just a few examples of the importance of learning some skills that originate in the mind to enhance performance as well as overall life experience.
If you have ever thought that working with a mental skills coach is only for those that ARE STRUGGLING and hold the stigma that to work with this type of coach means you are FLAWED, WEAK, or ILL, then it might be time to re-look at this option.
I want to make it easy for you!
I invite you to join me for a free 30-minute MENTAL SKILLS COACHING SESSION.
Keep an eye out on our blog for myths two and three to follow.
**** It is important to understand that there is a difference between working with a Sports Psychologist and a Mental Skills Coach. A Sports Psychologist is licensed to diagnosis and therefore take into consideration influential factors that might be responsible psychologically for the struggle that often requires a more advanced treatment approach that is more broad and holistic than that of a Mental Skills Coach. When these psychological factors are present, Mental Skills Coaches need to understand where their training is insufficient because the needs of the client lie beyond their training. This understanding helps us to serve the individual with the utmost professionalism, ethics, and excellence.