Achieving Peak Mental Performance – Factor #1: Focus On The Process, Not The Outcome

The Growth Mindset – 7 Key Factors to Achieve Peak Mental Performance​​​​​​​
Factor #1 – Focus on the Process, not the Outcome
There are so many beautiful aspects of playing, coaching, and watching sports. The training, the teamwork, the thrill of a hard-fought victory. There are also many heartbreaks of tough losses, frustrations over bad calls or poor sportsmanship, and disappointments when situations out of your control go awry. The one ingredient I have seen in wise coaches, parents, and players who successfully handle the highs and lows of team sports is they have learned to:
COMPETE as “if to win” not “for the win”
Having this mindset takes the pressure off winning. You don’t have to live and die by the results of each shot, or lose your mind and scream at the ref when he makes a bad call. Those things do not impact your goals for the game – which should not be tied to the final scoreboard. This is easier said than done. Here are some wise practices to get in this mindset:
  • Set a few mini-goals within the game and emphasize those instead of the winning. Celebrate the little steps, don’t go overboard on celebrating wins/losses.
  • Set goals for your kids to try a new move during a game that you have been working on in practice. Willie Cromack during his interview shared with me one of my new favorite quotes for a coach to use: ‘Who is going to be brave enough to try this new move during the game this week?’
  • Have an intentional plan to not pull players immediately after they make a mistake in a game – you want to teach your players to play aggressive and loose, not in fear.
  • Set very clear expectations to your players on how you want them to play the game. Coach John Doss tells his team: ‘Make the right lacrosse play, we’re not worried about the results.’
  • Author Al Ainsworth shared with me a good analogy – in singing: you can’t hold back – ‘Make big fat ugly mistakes’
​​​​​​​When Lebron James was struggling with free throws a few years ago- he went to a shooting coach, and the coach asked him what he was thinking about when he went to the line. Lebron said he was thinking about making it. The coach said- ‘Don’t think about making it, think about your process.’
Next week we’ll dive into how great coaches like Pete Carroll know that practicing pressure situations is the best way to prepare for them in games.

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