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Mental Performance Coaching 101

Written by Craig Frea, M.A. Mental Performance Coach for FITMBS®

Think of mental performance coaching as personal training for the mind (i.e., a mind trainer). Thus, mental training is the compliment to all of the physical effort you put into a performance. That is, physical training determines what an individual can do, while mental training determines what an individual will do.

Mental performance coaches work with performers to identify mental challenges (e.g., self-doubt, comparison thinking, performance anxiety, etc.), and develop skills to navigate those challenges more effectively. In addition, mental performance coaching may work on areas of focus such as: concentration, confidence, goal setting, mindfulness, self-talk, stress management, and much more.

Here is an example of what you may experience in one of our sessions:

I want you to think about your best performance/workout. What were you thinking about and how were you feeling during that performance? Most people will recall that they either had positive thoughts and feelings during that performance, or they do not recall much. In fact, they may have been so deep into the experience that they only recall a few elements of that performance.

Now, think about a performance/workout that did not go so well. What were some thoughts and/or feelings that you experienced during that performance? Most likely, that experience is connected with negative thoughts and feelings. These thoughts and feelings may consist of not feeling good enough, comparing oneself with others, and/or wondering what other people may think of them. If this resonates with you, rest assured, the experience is completely normal and eventually happens to everyone.

The most important part of experiencing performances that do not go so well, is that we learn from those experiences. Mistakes are guaranteed to happen in life. So, our reaction and assessment of the mistake need to be part of our mental performance that is improved upon.

Think about how you treat yourself in moments of struggle. Would you treat your best friend the way you treat yourself after a mistake? We all want to improve, and we should identify areas of our performance that should be improved upon. However, we should also acknowledge and celebrate the successes we have in a performance, as minor as they might be.

When we do that, over time, those small wins turn into a large victory that builds confidence and a central belief that we are good enough. As legendary college basketball coach John Wooden once said, "Don't let what you cannot do, interfere with what you can do."

To learn more about mental performance coaching or to schedule an appointment with Craig Frea for a free consultation, log onto You may contact us through the contact link or check out our plans to start your mental performance coaching journey.

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