Mental Coaching Handbook: Magic Wand Not Included


I am often asked what it is I do for a living (sometimes even by those closest to me…). My answer is always the same – I take an athlete and I make a champion!

Although this response does little to clear up the confusion my family has about what I do for a job, achieving this outcome specifically is done through working both with and on an athlete.

Working with an athlete comprises working on their mental structuring, emotional stability and natural cognitive patterning to produce a sustainable, replicable and smarter performing champion.

However –

There is no Magic Wand included

No one hit wonder…

No silver bullet…

No one technique where we mystically hypnotise, covertly re-pattern and take away the self doubt in an afternoon that will see them through to the rest of their lives…

Absolutely no picket fences and fluffy dogs!

We do utilise all those techniques – and more – and this takes dedication, time and commitment!

The same way an athlete knows they have to continually hone their performance skills, practice their training techniques and systematically nurture their physical body – the mental process is the same. In fact, if unattended, it can be less forgiving than the physical programme!

If an athlete neglects their mental and emotional development, it can have devastating consequences and have an immediate impact on both their performance and confidence!

Individual perspective and behaviour have been forged over their entire lives and it is these unique views on reality about what they can and cannot achieve that dictates the effectiveness of their behavior, and therefore, level of their success!

The mechanics of our reality is quite simple:

  1. We experience an event, physical or imagined
  2. We assess that event and create our own personal interpretation
  3. We create an internal representation, an understanding
  4. We apply a personal meaning to that and similar events
  5. It becomes a distinguishing emotion

This essentially categorises that event as ‘something’ and assigns a perceived value.

Our individual perspective on the world is built upon these personal experiences from the copious amounts of data we come into contact with, then translated and used as puzzle pieces.

The good, the bad and the ugly in our lives, are decided upon by us, whether we consciously mean to or not.

For an athlete to truly produce their preferred performance, we must first understand and master the mind’s Information Filtration Systems, deciphering the picture it has painted, what emotional tagging system is adopted and what information is allowed in and what information is kept out – and why!

As we now understand, the pivotal influence over our performance is our mind. So athletes and coaches who wait until the train has crashed before they engage in effective mental training are going to be left behind.

There is no instant fix – when coaches see athletes almost magically transform under another coaches tutelage – this coach is fully engaged in mental training. It is the most effective way of producing a bigger, brighter and more productive attitude and belief in their athlete.

There is no doubt that physical talent is paramount and will probably get you so far towards your dreams, goals and aspirations but it is your mental agility and mental toughness that will make you a champion!


Image Credit: Flickr pillwoodlouse

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