Myths of Mental Skills Training

23 04 2018

Myths are beliefs that guide our thinking and behavior that may contain partial truth while also containing misguided information.

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.

Yes! Click here to get your FREE Coaching Call

Keep an eye out on our blog for myths two and three to follow.

Shaun

IMPORTANT NOTE:
**** 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.

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What is Focus?

20 07 2017

We hear a lot about the importance of focus in discussions about HIGH PERFORMANCE. Rarely is this concept unpacked with clarity and practical application. For this purpose, I offer these thoughts.

First, let me ask a couple of questions:

Do you find yourself with a daily desire to experience more in your life?
MORE…
Energy
Accomplishment
Peace of mind
Motivation
Purpose and Fulfillment
Connection with others
LESS…
Distraction
Fear
Uncertainty
Discouragement
Isolation
Empty days with endless tasks but very little purposeful results

If you can relate with these then I suggest that generating MORE focus is the equivalent of generating more power in your life. I have learned from coaching thousands of people that the LACK of FOCUS is always CONNECTED to a lack of true POWER in their lives.

Let me explain.

Focus is the capacity to continually invest yourself in the direction of clearly defined goals that connect you to your deepest desires and dreams. The emphasis here is on CONSISTENCY and INVESTMENT. The basic form of FOCUS is found in these words.

The reason why distractions are so destructive is that they turn off the continual feeding the fuel needed to generate or create the outcome for which you desire.

Many get lost right here, in distraction!

When asked what their goals and dreams are, responses vary but they sound something like this:

I want to have a great marriage!
I want to be an outstanding parent!
I want to make more money!
I want to have better friendships!
I want to make the A team!
I want to get better grades!
To name just a few…

The derailment has begun at this point because the strategy for progressing towards these outcomes is UNCLEAR, VAGUE, and LACKING TRUE FOCUS. In other words, great intention but very little capacity to turn the intention into the outcome sought after.

Here is a better, more focus friendly way to approach these goals:

I will pursue being a better parent by bringing a heightened degree of energetic, engaging presence to my interactions with my kids. I will focus on being present and intentional in the practice of this with each and every interaction.

If you wanted to make the A team in a sport you would say this: I will dedicate myself to mastering the skills needed to elevate my performance so that I increase my chances of making the A team. These skills include (list the skills specifically). I will pursue this mastery by dedicating 1 hour a day of practice in each of the skills I desire to master.

The power in statements like these is that they give a point of FOCUS for the individual to INVEST THEIR ENERGY ON A CONSISTENT BASIS. Without a CLEAR AND SPECIFIC point to direct one’s focus, you are left with a goal but nothing to point your energy towards on a consistent basis that moves you closer to that which you desire.

You might find this basic framework helpful as you work to generate intentional focus in your life:

I will progress towards my goal of _________ by ________ over the next 30 days so that I can reach my goal.

What is focus?

Focus is the intentional, consistent and ongoing pursuit of the desired outcome. When you use this formula to direct and guide your energy on a daily basis you literally generate your outcome because of your consistent pursuit.

Put the formula to the test in an area that you are looking for accomplishment.

If you’d like to dive deeper into this concept of focus and clearly defining your goals, sign up for your personal High Performance Strategy Session with Shaun now by clicking here.





Fear of Failure vs. Mentally Strong and Confident

20 03 2017

As a parent I have never really feared my kids physical abilities and skills to compete in the sports they have been in. My greatest fears have centered around their mental skills.

It is their failure that I fear.

I often wonder what will happen to their self esteem, confidence and overall well being if they fail. In an attempt to avoid having to see this outcome I have OVER USED encouragement and pep talks to do anything I can to PROTECT THEM from the possible fallout of experiencing failure.

It never occurred to me that FAILURE, STRUGGLE and DISCOURAGEMENT was actually the “game they needed to win.” Rarely was I concerned with wins and losses. MY CENTRAL CONCERN and point of interest and ANXIETY was EMBARRASSMENT. I did not want to see my kids get embarrassed. I equated the possibility of failing with them being embarrassed. I believe that this is what drives most parents in their interactions with their youth athletes.

THEN IT HIT ME…

What if I EMPOWERED, TRAINED AND TAUGHT THEM to UTILIZE these moments to GROW and STRENGTHEN?

What if I grew in my assurance that they were STRONG, RESILIENT, CREATIVE, and MENTALLY SKILLED?

THEN I COULD REST AND BE AT PEACE!!!

As a result, I created Stay In The Sport Zone!

Do you want to get a jump start on your MENTAL SKILL TRAINING?

Do you get confused about where to go to begin your training?

Do you want to learn from someone that has many years of experience coaching and training youth athletes to improve their mental skills?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions then Stay In The Sport Zone is for you!

Stay In The Sport Zone is an online, non-threatening coaching program you can do in the privacy of your own home. I personally will lead you through (6) powerful mental skill teachings that will propel you forward in the pursuit of a STRONGER MIND!

Each video coaching module provides a step-by-step approach on how to build these vital sport-zone skills:

MODULE 1: Moving from Frustration to Fire
MODULE 2: Building Laser Focus
MODULE 3: Becoming Unshakably Confident
MODULE 4: Peak Performance Practice
MODULE 5: Powerless to Empowered
MODULE 6: Moving Beyond Your Fear of Failure

Here is what is being said about this program:

“This email is to THANK YOU for your great video series Stay in the Sport Zone, I spoke with you on what you offer athletes for working on building their mental skills. After hearing all the options we ended up going with the online “Stay in the Sport Zone” online program where my kids could work at their pace and even revisit different concepts.

I don’t think I could possibly convey to you in an email what a big difference, in a positive way, your online program made to my daughter this senior season of her high school career. It was pretty amazing! We’ve always thought she had many athletic tools but for the first time, I think EVER, she was a very composed and confident athlete even when she had a few minor set backs. It was such fun to watch her all season long and admire the personal growth she made. She made some big goals for herself…. and she accomplished them. Knowing this kid — this came down to her finding something she’d never had before and that was truly a mental edge. She ended up accomplishing LIFETIME best time in her event (by a lot, after 2 years of a plateau) and making individual All – State which was the biggest deal ever to her. She diligently and completely (on her own) used your program all season and grew as an athlete. It was obvious to me she connected with the concepts and used them to grow and enjoyed the process. She enjoyed her season so much she’s planning to continue in college.

Just want to say thank you for having that program available!!

It’s made a huge difference to a kid who has now wrapped up her high school career in a sport she has put so much time into, in the most positive outcome we could have hoped for. THANK YOU!”

Parent of a Stay In The Sport Zone Client

“Working with Shaun has been an incredible opportunity. I started meeting with Shaun as a freshman in high school, and little did I know that moment would change my life forever. I was ecstatic to begin my journey with Mental Edge and boost my athletic performance by working on my mental game. Shaun not only taught me strategies of how to become more mentally tough on court, but also how to be a supportive teammate and compassionate person. He’s by far one of the most incredible, kind, and generous people I’ve ever met and I’m lucky to have him in my life.”

Student Athlete

Go ahead and get registered for this life-changing video coaching and I’ll see you on the other side to get started!

Shaun





3 C Power

7 02 2017

stencil-youtube-thumbnailLike many, I am fascinated with the formula for SUCCESS. I realize that success has different meanings depending on the source. However, for the sake of this piece I am simply looking to understand a formula for living with purpose, resulting in something being produced, fueled by passion, and challenges our potential.

Simply stated, success might be be defined as living purposely to produce an outcome motivated by passion to realize our potential.

Isn’t this why we pour hours of energy into a sport, career, relationship, hobby?

Are we not truly desiring to have purpose and intention in our living?

Do we not want to see results from our efforts in the form of some outcome?

Are we not trying to live with passion and motivation so we can sustain ourselves through the challenging times?

Are we not also curious about what we are capable of and truly seek to tap into the deep potential that lives often latently in the depths of our being?

I want to suggest that there are 3 C’s that can propel us to this end.

First, is COURAGE. I really believe that removing unfounded fear and living courageously is at the center of fulfillment, purpose and achievement. Regardless of what you are striving for at some point courage will be necessary. Whether we are looking to improve a relationship, performance at a job, improve our grades in school, or let go of a dream to cultivate a new one, COURAGE IS PART OF THE SUCCESS FORMULA.

Second, CHALLENGE. Challenge is like the weight room of life. It is here where you face your limitations and train past them. When you are engaged in a well grounded strength training program limits and resistance are used to grow strength and endurance. Aren’t we all looking for strength and endurance in our lives? We MUST EMBRACE THE CHALLENGES IN OUR LIVES!! When we do so with wisdom these challenges can be transformed into strength and endurance. Success is often achieved through the expression of strength and endurance as seen in commitment and persistence.

Third, CONTENTMENT. This one will most certainly come as a shock to many. In this ELITISM SOCIETY where being EXCEPTIONAL is often looked at as the norm, NORMAL HAS NOW BECOME SEEN AS DEFECTIVE. Success for most of us will reside in living with a healthy contentment knowing that we did the best we could have. There is nothing wrong with being content with your best even if your best was at the low end of the norm. I see many knocking themselves out to pursue exceptional and elite status at the expense of their own well being with no real hope of ever reaching exceptional status. I have to thank my mentor, Micheal Anderson L.P. and co-author of the book GIST The Essence of Raising Life-Ready Kids, for this concept.

COURAGE, CHALLENGE and CONTENTMENT. 3 C’s that provide a framework for us to intentionally live with purpose and deep fulfillment as we navigate through the many experiences that we will encounter in life. I urge you to take these 3 C’s and activate them in your life.

Let us know your definition of success in the comments below!

Shaun





What If?

20 12 2016

We ask ourselves questions all the time. Most of these questions start with the word WHAT.

What If?

What If?

“What should I wear today?”

“What should I say when asked a question?”

“What should I eat?”

We also ask ourselves, “WHAT IF?”

This often leads us to a series of memories that plant us right in the past regretting something we did leading to feelings of inadequacy or shame. I find that the questions that we ask ourselves inevitably shape our perception, perspective and framework for experiencing life.

Questions aim our thinking, awareness and focus.

This morning, while doing my daily journaling, I decided to RIFT off of the the question “WHAT IF?” However, the substance of my “what if” was much different.

Here are some examples:

What if my fears are unfounded?

What if 10 seconds of courage in a relationship could transform it forever?

What if my beliefs about myself are mistaken?

What if my assumptions are unfounded?

These were just a couple of WHAT IF questions I posed to myself.

As I immersed myself in this wonderfully inspiring series of WHAT IF questions, I literally felt my energy, creativity and world of possibility open up. I found myself in the mental amusement park of possibility.

As I came out of the journaling session I couldn’t help but wonder… WHAT IF everyone could begin to see their lives through a powerfully constructed “WHAT IF?” What if we were surrounded by a community of WHAT IF people? What if a simple blog could challenge just one person to pose this question in a new and inspiring way?

Maybe you are currently experiencing a significant challenge yourself. “What if” you could see yourself with greater courage, strength, skills, or support? “What if” despite past experiences you could see yourself rising above your past and transform your life by cultivating a new perspective never before experienced? “What if” on this day, in this season, we all could take a couple of minutes a day and pose this question believing we have been given the gift of free will and the creative capacity and imagination to ask ourselves “WHAT IF?!!”

What is your “WHAT IF?”

Let me know in the comments below.

Merry Christmas,

Shaun





The Challenge is Real

14 12 2016

Many people I care about and love are in the midst of significant life challenges! You might be one of those in the midst of a significant challenge.

TheseThe Challenge Is Real challenges could be best described as “being in a war.” The challenge never seems to let up. No matter which way you turn, there it is seemingly waiting to torment and therefore, torture you. It is said that when we face challenges of this intensity we come face to face with our true self.

I have to be honest and admit that the intensity of some of the challenges I am seeing go beyond a “problem to be solved.” Truthfully, a problem would be far preferred than a challenge. Problems can often be solved through advanced thinking, surrender and increased support. Challenges seem to dig at our humanity, value system, spirituality, and in some cases, our very existence. They force us to quickly assess our emotional, social, spiritual, and at times, financial resources.

How are we to respond when faced with a challenge(s) of this magnitude?

Whatever threatens our health, well being, family, security, and certainty is a real challenge. When life is at its best the strength of these arenas allow us to LIVE WITH DAILY CONTENTMENT. Once they are threatened then our life feels like it us under attack.

A bad doctors report puts the vision for tomorrow in question.

The loss of a job brings deep uncertainty of how to cover our financial responsibilities.

When one of our children or another loved one is struggling we are often faced with fear about what might happen.

Suffice it to say any of our lives could come under attack at anytime and without warning.

These challenges are REAL. They Require Encouragement And Love. (REAL)

CHALLENGES that shake us at our foundation demand the ASSEMBLING of an ARMY. No one goes to battle intelligently without an army. Armies have one thing they focus on…WINNING THE BATTLE.

We all need an army! A group of people that stand with us, fight for us and, without hesitation, go to war on our behalf.

What troubles me are the battles that people are fighting without their own personal army.

Armies compound courage in one another. BEING IN THE FIGHT WITH SOMEONE ELSE HELPS US TO FIND HOPE, COURAGE, STRENGTH, and FAITH IN THE BATTLE. Some of the challenges we face do not have any quick and certain answers. Maybe, the presence of a challenge forces us to GET OUTSIDE OF OURSELVES and LEAN INTO OTHER SOLDIERS borrowing their strength, hope and courage even if just for a season.

To those of you under attack because of a seemingly insurmountable challenge, I URGE YOU TO ASSEMBLE YOUR ARMY.

Many challenges appear to have no answers even though we chase answers with diligence and often desperation.

THE ARMY IS THE ANSWER!!

Don’t go it alone,

Shaun





What is Your Aroma?

6 10 2016

aromapostI attended my first teen support group about 30 years ago. I remember that night like it was yesterday. My first encounter was with a 15 year old that asked, “What the ******** are you doing here?” To which I honestly had no good response. To be honest, as a recent college graduate I believed that I had answers to the problems that many teens were experiencing at the time. I was there to share wisdom and provide a pathway to better living for those that were lucky enough to listen to my counsel. (I now realize how misguided I was)

This is where MY education began!

For the next 6 months I listened to young people talk about family breakdown, drug abuse, suicide, school failure, rejection, depression, hopelessness, and deep discouragement to name just a few. I realized that my answers were weak and unwanted, not because they were without merit, but because my presence reeked of superiority and judgement. I certainly did not intend this, but in retrospect, I understand.

You see my first encounter was a test. The test was, are you here to PROVIDE an ANSWER or are you here to BECOME PART OF THE ANSWER? Becoming part of the answer meant LISTENING INTENSELY before offering a solution. It meant truly seeking to understand before being understood. It meant EARNING through commitment and consistency the influence to MATTER over the long haul . After thousands and thousands of hours engaging in deep, honest, courageous, and vulnerable conversations, now 30 years later, I realize that the aroma that I brought to that first meeting had a distinct smell.

That smell was the aroma of LET DOWN.

Why? Because, providing answers and solutions to complex challenges without immersing myself in learning the learner has the smell of superiority and smugness.

This is often the aroma we bring when we want to solve heart-felt hurt, fear and desperation with simple cliches.

The truth is this AROMA is ALL OVER THE PLACE.

My presence and mindset that first meeting would have lead to nothing but more hurt, disappointment and LET DOWN to those I was with. The memory of my first years and what I have learned is one of the greatest gifts I have received in my life professionally and personally.

Here are three distinct POWERFUL PRINCIPLES that I have learned that I believe can guide you to better relationships, team work, personal success, and fulfillment.

People are wired to want and thrive from knowing that they are not ALONE. The disappointments, fears, failures, hurts, and unrealized hopes are best endured and healed through the unconditional presence of a loving person that simply seeks to walk in these moments WITH PEOPLE. Providing answers pales in comparison to being fully present. It took a group of teenagers to teach me the power of this principle. Many feel isolated, alone, and inferior without the relational experience of knowing they are not alone.

Practical help is the by product of deep listening and empathy. When we truly seek to understand the dreams, disappointments, and struggles the practical solutions become more clear. We often under estimate the power of UNDERSTANDING where one is coming from. This requires patience, curiosity, courage, and consistency. When this happens people grow wings of freedom and belief. When we take the time to LEARN THE LEARNER we become a powerful force for COURAGEOUS EXPRESSION and FREEDOM.

The aroma of our heart surpasses the wisdom of our words. Simply stated, “People do not care how much we know until they know how much we care.” This is a mantra for living, working and competing. I learned that everyday I am being vetted according to this principle and so are you.

When we are willing to BECOME part of the solution for others and serve them in this capacity we become forces of positive influence.

I want to humbly challenge us to change the aroma of our hearts by courageously investing in those around us. Lets see ourselves, not so much our solutions and wisdom, as part of the formula that unleashes FULL and FREE expression of those around us. Think of the untapped potential that could be realized if everyone had this in their lives.

Thirty years ago a group of 15 year olds taught me what was required and needed to truly become a force for growth and optimal expression of self. My hope is this blog can do the same for you!