This article and accompanying video was produced by Dr. Cassidy Preston, the founder of Consistent Elite Performance and a full-time high-performance coach helping elite athletes, teams, and businesses increase their performance and well-being. A former OHL & pro hockey player, Cassidy combines his personal experiences with the current research in sport and performance psychology to create relatable and practical strategies for his clients to apply.
Mental strength and leadership skills are both difficult to measure and work on. But, Cassidy utilizes assessments to help his clients clearly understand what it is they are working on. Then he provides customized programs with the necessary accountability and support to help improve the client’s overall performance and well-being.
Mental toughness is key to athletes reaching their potential.
The first step is to make it real. One of the main reasons why mental toughness is overlooked is because it is not so tangible — making it unclear what exactly a player is working on and how they can work on it.
So the solution is to assess it with your players. You can assess the main outcome of will they get into the ‘zone’ and then you can breakdown the five pillars of mental toughness:
- Intrinsic Motivation
The second step is to then provide effective strategies. Here are the top strategies we use to strengthen a player’s mental toughness:
- The reset routine: This is teaching athletes about accepting and letting go of distractions and things outside of their control (NOT forgetting about it — that doesn’t work). We want players to develop the self-awareness and the habit to manage their thoughts and emotions so that they can clear their mind.
- Structure reflection: It is important athletes learn to self-reflect and take ownership of their performance and their development. This is crucial for continuous growth and staying in the right mindset.
- Mental preparation: Creating a pre-practice and pre-game routine that works for them. Imagery should be a part of these routines. Check out our free imagery scripts for forwards, defence, and goalies on the Consistent Elite Performance Podcast.
The final step is to nudge them along. This is done by leading by example (managing your own emotions), providing timely reminders to use their strategies (e.g., remember to use your reset routine), and reassessing their mental toughness to see the progress made and to reprioritize areas for growth.
Sign up for Dr. Preston’s FREE Psychology of Coaching Masterclass on Thursday, December 10.
What can be expected in Psychology of Coaching Masterclass
You will learn about three crucial skills in coaching that differentiate the best coaches from the rest:
- How to work with difficult athletes or parents
- How to cultivate a championship culture
- How to strengthen your players’ mental toughness
In the 60-minute masterclass, you will learn how better understanding psychology can increase your impact as a coach and what subtle behaviours you can start integrating into your coaching practice. You will also receive a PDF summary and worksheet.
To register and learn more, click HERE.
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