old was Joe Montana when he won his first Super Bowl? You probably think you know. And would probably bet money on it. Wouldn’t
you? Don’t put the money down yet. The answer will be towards the end of this article – the real answer that is.
How old were you when you reached the height of your success
or will be when you do? Whether it’s business, football, hockey, baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, golf or whatever
– think about that question for a few moments.
How much of your game
/ sport is physical?
And how much is mental?.
is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.”
Most athletes tell
me their sport is at least 50% mental. But how much of your time is spent doing mental practice? And how much physical?
The difference between an elite athlete and one just one notch down the ladder is just
one step. The elite athlete spent more time on the mental game than the one on the next level down.
have a sports coach and many use personal trainers for the physical. But how many utilize a Coach to help them with the mental
Only the ones who really want to be on top of their game. The ones who really want to move to the
next level above their teammates and opponents.
And in this article, I want to teach you some of the techniques I use with my athletes
during individual or group sessions when I’m working with them to help them reach their sports goals.
careful of the words you use and the questions you ask yourself, because your SubConscious is listening!” William C.
Now let me ask you another question. Think about it before you answer. Are you ready? Who is your
competition? Write it down.
Let me introduce you to your competition.
Look in a mirror. That’s
right, a mirror!
If you’re not competing with yourself to improve your talents and skills, to be
stronger or faster, or have more stamina – then those other athletes, whether they’re on another team, or maybe
even on your own team, but competing with you for position or playing time – they’re not going to have to worry
Decide today – YOU HAVE NO COMPETITION! You’re only competing with yourself
to improve YOUR performance. To do better than you did yesterday and to do better tomorrow than today!
winning isn't everything, why do they keep score?"
-- Vince Lombardi
Since we were talking about mirrors, let me teach you a way to make a mirror a tool
you can use. While you’re looking in the mirror. Say this to yourself:
Every day, in every way,
I’m getting _______________.
What would be an effective word or words to use to finish
this sentence? Maybe stronger, more accurate, faster, more confident? Does it have to be only one? No, how about stronger
and more confident? Would that be good for you?
“Every day, in every way, I’m getting stronger
and more confident!” Say it right now to yourself.
When you’re deciding
what to say, make sure you have a positive statement, one that works for you.
Now how many
times a day do you see your reflection in the mirror? I’m not talking about the vain ones that do it out of narcissism,
but just on average. Once, twice? Several times?
Wait a minute! Are mirrors the only time you see your reflection?
NO! How about glass windows / doors in office buildings, schools, mirrors in gyms or public restrooms, or your reflection
in your car or truck – either the window or the door if your car’s nice and shiny (mine’s not).
What if you were to say the suggestion – some people call them affirmations or statements –
EVERY time you saw your reflection? At least once! Or even twice or more!
Do you have
to say it out loud? No. But you can if you feel comfortable with it. If you’re in public – people will just think
you’re talking on your phone. You can at least say it in your mind.
And the more
you say / repeat it, the more it will become your positive self talk, and will become your new way of thinking.
This is one of the ways I teach my athletes to talk to themselves properly – and that’s
a lot of what mental practice is – self talk.
We all do self talk
on an ongoing basis. Did you know research says we give ourselves suggestions (self talk) thousands and thousands of times
EACH day? And how much of that do you think the average person says in a Negative way to themselves – 70 – 80%!
I’ve got news for you – you don’t have to put yourself down – others will
do it for you! It’s your job to build yourself up! – Not just physically (although it is important), but mentally
too. You’ve got to give yourself positive encouragement.
an example of what I’m talking about. After a workout, or a tough practice, you may hear athletes complaining about
how hard it was, how hard the coach or trainer pushed them.
they’re giving themselves negative feedback. If something’s hard, we generally don’t like it and don’t
want to do more – even if it’s necessary. Our SubConscious Mind rebels and in a whiney voice says “that’s
hard” You know the kind of voice I’m talking about.
me how many times I see college athletes complain on Facebook about how tough their workout was that day or how tired they
There’s one in particular though, he always says
something positive. And this guy really pushes himself – a lot further / harder than most guys. He’s a quarterback
and his team and coaches respect him.
It’s paying off. This man is going to achieve his
goals – not just in football, but in Life too. How do I know? Because he has the right Mental Attitude. He sees it as
a challenge to make himself better – stronger / more confident. I don’t know who this athlete uses as a Mental
Coach, but I would be very surprised if he doesn’t have one.
And then there
are those (especially those I’ve worked with) that after a hard workout or practice, will be telling themselves “That
got me pumped! That’s really making me stronger, more confident!”
Let me give
you another tool I teach my athletes. During a workout, when you really want to build your stamina and endurance and make
the workout even better, talk to yourself – but in a special way.
pretend you’re lifting weights. And with each upward move you say “Bigger” and each downward move “Stronger”.
Maybe you misunderstood when I said “say”. I don’t mean like a wimpy “bigger”. I mean a real
Do you have to do it out loud? Sure, why not? Are you really
that worried about what someone else will think? If you are, can you scream in your head? You can – either way, whichever
suits you best. When possible, I would suggest doing it out loud – VERY LOUD!
But I know
some of you are thinking “what will other people think?” or one of my athletes pointed out to me that by saying
it out loud, maybe other athletes would start doing it too and improving.
one has ever drowned in sweat."
OK – if they’re on the same team and it’ll get you closer to a Super Bowl
or Stanley Cup, then it might be worth it.
But here’s what you’ll have that they don’t.
You’ll know why you’re doing it and you’ll be using that as only one tool in your mental toolbox to begin
to change any negative self talk to powerful, Positive Self Talk.
You may be
wondering how I came up with that. One of my pro athletes invited me over to his home to visit and do a session with him there.
His wife let me in because he was still doing his workout. He has his own gym, probably bigger / more expensive than most.
She took me to his gym, and he asked me to watch him work out to see if I could spot any ways he could improve.
remember, I’m an Alpha Process Coach – a mental trainer, not a physical trainer. But I said “Sure, go through
your regular routine and let’s just see what I notice.”
He was lifting
weights and doing his self talk with each up / down, but instead of “Bigger” / “Stronger”, he was
saying “Yeah” and “Ummmph”. Not just saying, but LOUDLY!
When I asked
him why he was doing the “Yeah / Ummmph”, he said it helped him focus. That’s when I suggested using “Bigger
/ Stronger”. He really liked it and you know what? He said it kept him focused even better, and he could also see the
benefit of using the positive words. And he began to see even more excellent results quickly.
A funny thing happened not long ago. Two of my high school clients were working out at a gym in their
neighborhood. They didn’t know each other, but noticed that each were doing the “Bigger / Stronger”.
They got to talking to each other after their workouts and found out they were both my clients. One
played football, the other hockey. They became good friends and started working out together. They both reached their goals.
Here’s another question. Do you do your workouts once, or a practice once, and say “that’s
enough – just once will get me all the results I need”. Would you really go to the gym only once and think one
workout would get you the strength and stamina you need? Would one practice give you the skills you need to win?
It’s the same with mental practice. Just like you do physical workouts and practice for your
sport over and over, you need to do your mental practice over and over as well.
about repetition – physical and mental!
Let me know what you think about the concepts I’ve
taught you in this article. I really want to hear from those of you who actually use the concepts and see the changes you’ve
been looking for.
If you're 100% satisfied with your sports performance,
you don't need to contact me about Sports Hypnosis. But if you're not, will you wish you did later in the season? Or will
it be too late then?
If you want me to work with you personally, there are several
ways we can do this.
• Individual sessions in my office in Dallas – one on one – or maybe you and a
teammate, friend, or brother / sister
• your high school / college / pro team can hire me to work with your team
at training camp, or campus
• Does it have to be in my office? No, if you’ve got the money to spend, you,
or your parents, or your team can pay my expenses to come to you – maybe even make it a working holiday – Cabo?
Colorado? Costa Rica? Australia? Sure I’m willing to travel.
• If your high school / college coaches want
me to do a workshop – we can even talk about that – either in the Dallas / Fort Worth area or another location.
Did we forget something? Oh yeah, how about that question
about Joe Montana? How old was he when he won his first Super Bowl?
how Joe Montana responded when after he finished a speech, someone in the audience asked him how old he was when he won his
first Super Bowl.
years old, and I’ve won a thousand of them since.
All but four of them, I explained, took place in our backyard in my hometown
of Monongahela, Pennsylvania, a few miles down
the road from Pittsburgh.”
“Winners, I am convinced, imagine their dreams first. They want it with all their heart and expect
it to come true. There is, I believe, no other way to live.” Joe Montana
You see, Joe
Montana knew the secret of making dreams come true. He played every game, every scrimmage, every practice as if it was a Super
Bowl. He started preparing for a Super Bowl in his Mind when he was twelve years old! And he was always competing with himself
to do better than he had before.