How to Be Mentally Prepared For A New Role

Have you ever been suddenly thrust into a new role for the team and questioned if you were prepared?

Having a new role on a team can be an anxious time, even if it is for a few games or one competition.

Athletes get sick or injured all the time and you have to be ready to accept a new position…

At any time, one of your teammates might become injured and you might have to replace your teammate.

Would you feel ready to take on a new role? Are you confident that you can perform at a high level in a new role?

Performing consistently is all about confidence, but confidence is not an all-or-nothing proposition.

One of the biggest misconceptions by athletes is that some believe you either have confidence or you don’t.

In sports, athletes often say, “I’ve lost my confidence.” But there are many levels of confidence.

However, you do want to have stable confidence. And you’ll find many ways to steadily build confidence even if you are not the star of your team.

Let’s look at a prime sports example: the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback situation.

The Eagles traded for and signed Sam Bradford to a $35 million two year contract in 2015. Bradford was the incumbent starter for the 2016 year under a new coaching regimen. The Eagles also signed free agent quarterback Chase Daniel to a 3-year $21 million contract.

Then the Eagles traded up in the 2016 NFL draft to select top quarterback prospect Carson Wentz. Wentz was expected to learn from the two veteran quarterbacks over the next couple of years so he could eventually take over the reins in a few years.

Unfortunately, during his first pre-season game, Wentz suffered a hairline fracture in his ribs and never saw game action for the duration of the preseason.

After Bradford was traded a few days before the regular season, Wentz was thrust in the starter’s role for opening day.

Wentz felt ready stating he kept sharp, ready and confident by consistently paying attention to his mental preparation and doing his “mental reps.”

WENTZ: “The whole time, I was just getting ready for whenever this time would come. I knew I was ready. I knew I was taking the mental reps, being out the last couple of weeks, even going out to the first preseason game. I was developing at a fast pace and now it’s here. I’m confident in myself, I’m confident in this team. I’m excited for it.”

Wentz has been playing his sport for years and knows football is football, even if he is playing at the NFL level.

WENTZ: “There’s nothing different I need to do now. It’s still football. Still be the same guy.”

If you adopt Wentz’s positive approach, would you become overwhelmed when you get your chance to start?

How to Improve Your Confidence When Waiting For Your Shot

Practice with the mindset that your chance at playing is coming soon. Create mental scenarios during practice reps where you are playing as the starter.

Practice with a swagger. Imagine yourself performing well in games as the starter in a new role.

List the reasons you deserve to play and contribute to your team. Confidence is a long-term project based on years of practice and competition, but momentum can change often during competition.

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The Psychology Of Words And The Young Athlete

Young athletes live in a pretty strange world. So many adults saying things to them but no one really communicating. Its hard enough for them to decipher one adult’s vague instructions but then have to blend the mixed messages of parents and coaches.

Ken Taylor, former NFL cornerback for the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears, has been working with young athletes for over 20 years, specifically on making them faster.

Ken and I have been discussing the cognitive side of training athletes and he agrees that coaches and parents need to better understand how a 8-18 year old brain learns new sport skills.

In this approved excerpt from Ken’s terrific book, “You Just Can’t Teach That, Or Can You?”, he encourages coaches to be specific with their instructions.

The wrong or right use of words can send an athlete into a chain-reaction spiral of events–actions and reactions that can be positive or negative.

It just depends on the athlete. The specific use of a word or phrase can create understanding or confusion. Words can even create peace or war! Words can create an opinion of what the athlete needs to do next. Most of the coaching I have seen requires the athlete to develop an understanding of what the coach wants and expects. He or she must learn what the coach is looking for, and he/she had better decipher the meanings quickly or he won’t be playing.

It’s the same with teachers and professors; the burden of understanding is on the student. If the student doesn’t get it, then the student falls behind, becomes discouraged, disengaged, or fails.

Yet we, as adult coaches, with the mature brains, expect kids to immediately understand what we mean. It should be the other way around. For years we have seen research from countless studies that show the cognitive development of young athletes.

We know their cognitive abilities don’t mature until the 20 – 24 age range. The adult, or coach, is the person who possesses the mature brain and cognitive abilities.

The adult is the person with the ability to “decipher” quickly and more accurately. The burden of understanding and communication should be on the shoulders of the adult coach when teaching speed.

The coach needs to learn what the young athlete is thinking and how the young athlete learns. The best teachers understand this and help the young athlete or student to learn from their point of view.

For instance, when you tell a young athlete to, “Go! Go! Go!” how long will it take kid to figure out what you mean?

Many coaches still use what I call “Empty Directions.” This happens when a coach tells a player to “work,” “go hard,” “pick it up,” or “go, go, go,” with no detailed explanation of what is expected.

Further, this coach may expect the athlete to understand it all with one or two reps, yet we know that the younger brain may take a little longer. So an athlete may become very confused with the coach’s directions unless he or she has figured out the coach’s exact meanings. If the athlete doesn’t understand, then athlete may get yelled at, and hence, the confusion becomes intensified.

We all have “trigger words” that get us to react, or not react.

These trigger words can be used to also create a thought pattern or break a thought pattern. What do I mean here? Well, have you ever told someone to “relax?”

You say this word to one person and they calm down, but turn around and say it to another and they become more frustrated, maybe even enraged, and say, “Don’t you tell me to relax!”

To get immediately positive results from an athlete who wants to run faster, we need to decipher what their “trigger words” mean to them, and then use those words to communicate what we want them to do. Some words create emotions that are inappropriate for teaching speed—for running efficiently, faster, and more easily.

Those are words like, “Try harder!” “Come on, move it!” “Dig, go, hustle!”

These words may mean something specific to the coach, but to the young athlete, who knows what they mean. Good speed training for the pre-elite athlete requires that the athlete learn and understand what to think about while in motion.

We must consciously choose the right words from the athlete’s point of reference to make the greatest impact. The right “words of direction” gives the athlete a picture in their mind about how to generate the efficient movement patterns needed to run faster and work less.

Empty directions only leave the athlete empty.

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Four keys to Attaining Peak Performance in Sports

I relate with athletes at many levels of game, from juniors to collegians to professionals and Olympians, and a major aim that I assist them to attain is consistent peak performance. I see such a lot of athletes who’ve huge swings in their performances from amazing one week to mediocre to even awful the next week.
Consistency is so critical. Due to that fact, it’s one factor that separates the very best in each sport from the rest. The best athletes are able to perform at degrees day in and day out, week in and week out for months and even years on end.
This habit of continuous peak performance is so critical to me because it’s a key a part of my definition of top sports: acting at a continuous peak performance even in the most difficult situations. This is the goal towards which i believe all athletes, irrespective of your profession or sports, should aspire.
Yes, not all athletes go on to be superstars of their game, but that doesn’t suggest that they can’t be as continuously good as they are successful. The issue of concern that every athlete and coaches ask is: how does an athlete attain peak performance?
I’ve recognized four keys to Attaining Peak performance in Sports.

Regular Effort: You need to be regular in all elements of your sporting efforts. While you perform, whether in the gymnasium or at the course, court, area, hill, or wherever you perform your sport, you need to exert adequate and steady effort. You ought to be in your best physical condition which include strength, agility, and stamina. You have to be technically and tactically steady in your game and not giving in to predominant flaws which could lead to inconsistency. If your sport requires a gadget (like in tennis, golfing, cruising, cycling), your gadget needs to be constantly well organized. And, yes, your mental training has to be constant.

Healthy Living: Many athletes assume that so long as they do what is vital for their athletic lifestyles, it will be enough to achieve their goals. However I have found that it often isn’t enough. The truth is, what you do away from your sport, that is your normal life, also has an impact on your potential to attain consistent peak performance. To attain peak performance, you should live a healthy life. Aspects of your broader life which could assist or hurt your performances include diet: Because what you eat and drink serve as fuel for your body. If you aren’t eating and consuming in a constantly healthy way, your body will not be capable of performing continuosly well on the field of play. The quality of your sleep also plays an essential role. Regular sleep will make sure you are rested enough for consistent peak performance. Being consistent in your school work and activities also has an influence. In case you are pressured because you’re behind on your homework or you aren’t prepared for a big exam arising, you have got little hindrance to peak performance. Ultimately, if your relationships, whether family or friends, are turbulent, you’ll not be in a place emotionally in which you may consistently perform well.

Fixed Mind: A fixed mind is also essential for peak performance in your sports. A fixed mind starts with steady attitudes toward your game in that you see it as a challenge, and not a risk, reflect on understanding the process, not results, and also you’re willing to take the necessary risks to perform at a constantly high level. You should make sure your attitude towards your sports is free from over-excitement, perfectionism, fear of failure, very high expectations, and negativity.
With that approach, you should have constant self-assurance that isn’t notably affected by bad days of training, disappointing game results, who you’re competing against, or the importance of the competition. Steady intensity, cognizance, and mindset come from learning and competing with the same high level of each every time you perform.
Emotions play a huge role in the consistency of your athletic performances. If your feelings aren’t consistent, you have frequent mood swings, especially on game day, it’s tough to perform at your best. It’s OK to get excited about a game and it’s normal to experience sadness if the outcome of the game doesn’t turn out as expected. However too much worry, frustration, anger, or disappointment will place you in a bad state mentally, emotionally, and physiologically make it very hard to find consistency in your performances.
Intellectual imagery is perhaps the best tool for creating consistency in your athletic performances. Steady use of imagery, in that you see and experience yourself constantly performing at your best, ingrains the pix and feelings related to that goal, so the entirety you imagined comes out at the day of a competition and the result is more likely to be always peak performance.

Steady Practice: Steady practice is the very last contributor to getting the continuous constant peak performance you need. Regular training should begin days before game day. At the day of game, you may create consistency to your practice by means of having a simply described and properly-practiced routine that maximizes each contributor to constantly remarkable athletic performances. Consistency at some stage in this process will be the very last piece of the “always high athletic overall performance” puzzle you need to place into perspective so as to result in acting your very best continuously and attaining your game-day desires.


PEAK PERFORMANCE: Balancing Fun and Seriousness in Sports

If you have been in the sports world for long, you must have met athletes who are overall goofs. The ones who don’t take the game too seriously, make jokes or remarks to attempt to make their teammates chuckle, and who don’t spend an excessive amount of time thinking about the game because they’re just in it to have fun. Perhaps they’re new in the game or perhaps they simply have a lighthearted personality but these athletes don’t care an awful lot about coming top or dropping so long as they have a very good time. Let’s call this group of athletes the “in it for fun” athletes.

You’ve probably also met athletes who are way too serious about the game. Who seemingly don’t have any capability for jokes or laughter because they’re too busy over-analyzing each flow, putting in extra exercise runs, and going above and beyond what’s required of them. These athletes place too much emphasis on the final results of games and are deeply impacted by losses or setbacks. They’ve lost all sense of enjoyment and have entered “the risk region” because they run the threat of hurting themselves by ignoring injuries, becoming burned out, and quitting from stress overload. Let’s call this group of athletes the “overly serious” athletes. Read more



If we were to peer inside an athlete’s mind while he was in the middle of a great game, we would consistently find a number of predictable mental elements present. The presence of these mental components creates the special internal environment within the athlete that enables the peak performance to happen, fuels the athlete’s motivation, and keeps him involved in the sport over the long haul.

Having a general awareness of these performance elements is absolutely essential for your success as an athlete, coach, or parent.

If you can deliberately integrate these elements into your daily training and competitions, then you’ll be well on your way to achieving a mentally and physically tough strategy that can only lead to excellence and success.

Here are 7 principles to peak performance: Read more

mental toughness - paul j laroche


We have become so familiar with the phrase “peak performance”. We know that peak performance is not only attained by working hard physically but also by being mentally fit and tough. Mental toughness is the prerequisite to achieving peak performance. You have to be ready to face adversities head on and without being anxious.

Being mentally tough has nothing to do with your genetic makeup or biology. It is not hereditary and certainly has nothing to do with being nonchalant in the name of being tough. Being mentally tough is being able to perceive, face and overcome a challenge. Mental toughness is a skill that can and should be developed. It pertains to the strength of your mental game. Read more



Everyone talks a lot about being confident. Parents tell their kids, coaches tell their athletes ‘be confident…you can do it”. Confidence is more than a mantra. Confidence is a skill that can be developed. As a matter of fact, it is the most important skill anyone can have. It is what differentiates a high performing athlete from the average athlete. To be a high performing athlete – to be at the top of your came, you need confidence to

1. Handle pressure:
2. Stay motivated and focused on your goals
3. Stay consistent and relevant for a long time
4. Get rid of fear, anxiety, and nervousness
5. Endure necessary extensive training
6. Learn from mistakes and overcome defeat Read more


Examining Peak Performance: So, What Should My Self-Talk Be?

Many mental conditioning coaches and sports psychologists have begun to emphasize positive self-talk. It is considered an important tool in the attainment of peak performance and a key component in the mindset necessary for peak performance. However, most experts are pretty simplistic in their use of positive self-talk: just say positive things to yourself and don’t say negative things. Unfortunately, most coaches have few specifics about exactly what to say to yourself and when.

In a Peak Performance blog post on June 12, 2015, I discussed the peak performance mindset. In that post, I mentioned 5 modes:

1. Experimental Mode (previously called practice mode)
2. Deliberate Rehearsal Mode
2. Preparation Mode
3. Performance Mode
4. Evaluation Mode

I also alluded to the importance of self-talk in each of the modes. I now want to introduce the idea that each mode requires a different set of specific self-talk statements. The statements themselves are related what needs to be accomplished in each mode. Read more

how to attain peak performance

How to Stay Self-Motivated All the Time (PART 2)

Continued from PART 1: How to Stay Self-Motivated All the Time
Remember Your Accomplishments: Be quick to remember that time you did something awesome. Remember you successes; write them down if need be. Mere reference to these accomplishments can give you that push you need.
Emulate Your Mentors: You know those people you look up to yeah? Those ones that have gone ahead of you, ask questions, listen to them, and read about them. Study how they have accomplished the things you are trying to accomplish, let them serve as a guide. Let them inspire you.

See Failure As A Path To Success: Most people fail to do what needs to be done because of fear of failure. In truth, you have failed only when you do not do what needs to be done. See failure as just another process of learning – a path to success. It is not to stop you but to motivate you to do better. Get up from your bottom and do what needs to be done. If you fail at it, try again. Read more

achieve your goal

How to Stay Self-Motivated All the Time (PART 1)

You know those times when you feel as though you need someone to push to do a particular task yeah? That is you being so unmotivated that you think you need someone else’s help. What if you could motivate yourself and not need someone to push you? What if you can actually stay motivated all the time? Well…you actually can.

Here are various simple ways you can stay self-motivated all the time.

1. Reward Yourself:
Make an agreement with yourself to reward yourself after every/ a particular feat is achieved. Reward yourself with something you really want to get; whether small or large. Don’t just make an agreement with yourself; see to it that you walk in line with that agreement. For instance, tell yourself “if I land me this contract, I’ll get me a car” or “when I’m done cleaning, I’d get a cup of ice cream”. Don’t get that reward until you execute the set task. The desire for a car will propel you to landing the contract. Read more