PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT TECHNOLOGY
There is a popular belief that playing any sport is 10% physical and 90% mental. If this holds true, then it’s safe to say that in order to reach peak performance an athlete needs to be as mentally tough as they are physically. Performance Enhancement Technology gives the athlete the tools needed to deal powerfully with those mental blocks.
For instance, almost every competitive athlete experiences what I call positive pregame jitters, the feelings of excitement prior to competition. However, many of these athletes experience more than just jitters; they actually have performance anxiety – a sinking feeling in the pit of their stomach. Although pregame jitters are a natural part of sports, pregame performance anxiety however will cause most athletes to tense up and not perform up to their ability. In fact, pregame jitters can cause you to lose sleep the night before competition. You might not be able to eat a regular meal the morning of a game. The pre‐competition jitters may make you feel like you want to throw up.
But for many athletes who use performance enhancement technology or (PET), pregame jitters instill a positive tingling of excitement in anticipation for competition. They actually want to have positive pregame jitters that will help instill an optimal level of mental activation, which can boost focus. However, too little or too much physical activation (or anxiety) is not ideal for finding a flow or peak performance.
One’s ability to learn how to cope effectively with pregame anxiety is critical to consistent performance.
One’s pregame mental preparation is the best way to manage one’s emotions and thoughts about one’s upcoming performance!
Another method of PET is to discover if an athlete is committing one of the many “deadly” mistakes during their pregame preparation…
What Is Reinvention Coaching?
Coaching is a process that helps clients re-invent themselves in order to learn and master proficiency in their mental skills. It utilizes a transformational model to develop performers’ psychological skills. Coaches are experts in transformational, mindset coaching and peak performance enhancement. Through the implementation of a systematic training program, Reinvention coaches train their clients to achieve a high level of psychological skill proficiency
Why do expectations limit one’s performance?
First, you set yourself up for a success/failure proposition. You either achieve your expectations or fail to achieve them.
Second, if you don’t achieve your predetermined expectations, you tend to question your ability that day to be a peak performer.
Essentially, expectations set you up for failure before you even start. In addition, expectations are usually about results.
Performance Enhancement Technology teaches you how to uncover harmful or strict expectations that undermine your confidence, and replace them with enhancement goals or manageable objectives.
What You Need to Know
We know that strict or high expectations can undermine and suck the life out of confidence—and this is a good place to begin your mental training. Expectations cause you to feel pressure. They hurt your confidence level when you don’t achieve them. Expectations cause you to focus too much on outcomes or results. They can trigger frustration when you think you are not performing up to your expectations. Let’s start with some definitions. Self-confidence and “expectation” are two different concepts. Expectations are absolute needs or demands that you place on yourself about the quality of your performance or desired outcomes. They are often unstated standards you have about how you think you SHOULD perform. Expectations cause you to judge the quality of your performance or how well you should do in a competition. Confidence is a belief you have about executing a task.
Expectations often come from four areas:
- Demands about your score, times, results, or outcome
- Demands about the quality of your performance (i.e. how good was your game?)
- Demands about your mental game
- What you think others expect of you and you adopt as your own
Examples of Common Expectations:
I should not make any stupid mistakes.
Other people expect me to win all the time.
I should beat this opponent.
I should be mentally tough all the time.
Let’s talk confidence. Self-confidence is the strength of your belief to perform or execute well. Confidence precedes your performance. For example, a quarterback might visualize a good pass in his mind and have a strong belief he will hit his receiver. Confidence does not come from expecting you will do well, although many athletes think of it this way. The essence of confidence is void of self-judgments. You want to feel confident, but not judge the quality of your performance.
Here again, PET suggests that we start with a basic mental game principle or “formula for success.” This formula is a preliminary mental skill that you’ll want to master first.
A Peak Performer’s Mindset Formula for Success
The objective is to perform without the demands and judgments caused by your high expectations (about performance or outcome). Instead, your objective is to perform with (1) high self-confidence, and (2) manageable objectives
Thus, athletes with high self-confidence and the ability to focus on manageable objectives perform with a present, process focus instead of performing with the pressure and judgments associated with strict expectations.
Therefore, three steps in the formula are:
- Be aware and flush out strict expectations (demands) that affect your self-confidence negatively (and create undue pressure).
- Harness the power of confidence, and learn how to have high confidence that’s void of expectation.
- Replace high expectations with process goals. Process goals help you to focus on execution and performance in the moment. Your goal is to immerse yourself in process goals, while avoiding turning them into expectations
How to Flush out Your Expectations
Let’s start by asking a few questions to help you identify any expectations that limit your performance and mental game:
What expectations, such as “I should beat my opponent today” do you place on your performance? If you do NOT achieve these expectations, do you become upset, frustrated, or lose confidence in your ability?
What absolute demands do you maintain about your performance, such as, “I MUST hit perfect shots today to win” that cause you to feel pressure during a competition?”
What other demands do you place on your performance, and feel you should achieve based on past experiences, such as, “I can’t miss my shot on goal” or “I should be frustrated when I make errors on defense?” What unwritten expectations cause you to feel upset or frustrated if you do not reach them?
What names do you call yourself (also called negative self-labels) or adopt that other people call you, such as “I’m a slow starter” or “I’m a streaky player.”
What past situations cause you to make unfounded generalizations about your current game, such as, “I can never…. perform well on hot days?”
What expectations do you feel from other people, such as coaches, teammates, or parents?
Below is a list of common expectations you might have.
Exercise 1: What Are Your Expectations?
In the table below, write down your scoring, performance, as well as yourmental game and expectations. Also, list any expectations you might feelfrom others, such as coaches. You might have one or more in each area ofyour game.
You can ask a coach or parent to help you with this exercise.
Area Expectations Scoring, Outcomes, or Results
- I should score three goals per game.
- I should score 15 points per game.
- I should finish top three in every race.
- I should go 4-for-4 at-bat.
- My team should not lose a game this season
The Quality of My Performance
- I should not make any stupid mistakes.
- I should perform perfectly.
- I should not make any errors.
- My performance should always feel good.
- All of my shots should feel solid.
My Peak Performance
- I should not get upset or frustrated.
- I should execute a perfect pre-shot routine.
- I shouldn’t make any mental errors.
- I should not be nervous before the game.
- I should always feel confident.
What Others Expect of Me
- Other people expect me to win all the time.
- Others think I should beat certain teams or opponents.
- Others think I should be the top scorer in the game.
- Others think I should not make mistakes.
What Others Expect of Me
Scoring, Outcomes, or Results
The Quality of My Performance
My Mindset What Others Expect of Me
Your goal should be to perform without any expectations, good or bad. The objective of this session is to replace your expectations with more manageable tasks or process goals. Process goals help you to focus on small tasks that you execute every day.
They also keep you focused in the present moment, instead of thinking about future outcomes.
Replace Expectations with Performance Goals
Using the expectations you listed in the workbook above, your task is to replace each expectation with a mindset goal.
Performance goals can be based on your mindset. You can use these two areas:
Performance goals: focus on the quality of your performance.
Mindset goals: focus on having a good mental game.
What are good performance goals?
- They help you to focus your mind on executing certain skills or areas of your game (offense, defense, transition, etc.) successfully.
- They help you to focus on the here and now, and not on results.
- They help you to focus on what you want to do instead of avoiding failures or mistakes (i.e. don’t lose the ball).
- They are simple to think about and usually not technical or related to mechanics
during competition. Your process goals should be manageable and based on your current performance, not the absolute ideal. Don’t set process goals that are hard to obtain. Process goals are things you can do 10 out of 10 times. They are not typical goals; instead they help you to focus on what’s important in your performance.
Your task is to replace expectations with process goals. Here’s an example:
Expectation: “I expect to hit the ball perfectly and not make anymistakes.”
Performance Goal: “I will pick smart targets and trust my strokes.”
Examples Performance Goals
Below are a few examples of performance goals to help you get started with coming up with some of your own.
Track & Field
Commit to a race plan
Relax and run freely
Attack opponent’s forehand
Visualize each serve
Focus on performance cues
Be in the moment, and let go of mistakes
Fully commit when deciding to shoot
Keep feet moving on defense
Exercise 2: Replace Expectations with Performance Goals
Now it’s your turn, write your expectations below and an example of a performance goal that would take the place of your expectations.
My Performance My Mindset
Your new Formula for Success: “I’ll perform without the mental handcuffs of expectations and replace them with (1) high confidence and (2) manageable objectives (performance goals).”
Your first step is to uncover and then replace expectations with performance goals, in order to keep self-confidence at a high level. Keep in mind that your performance goals may change each day depending on the prior day. The idea is that what you focus on, you’ll improve. Take the first step now by identifying the expectations that undermine your confidence and limit your performance. This step alone will make a big difference in your mindset.
Above all else, keep it simple. Set two performance goals to focus your attention on, such as committing to your strategy, instead of pressuring yourself to be perfect or win every time you compete.
Pregame Mindset Preparation
You want to remind yourself of the mental skills you are working on this week to help you improve your mental game during competition.
- Before each competition, note any expectations you are holding onto. Do your best to “park” your expectations (leave them in the parking lot), and replace them with performance goals.
- Before each competition, set two performance goals for your performance, such as following through on shots. Focus on your performance goals more than the score or outcome of the competition, or who’s winning.
- Before each competition, set two mental performance goals to help you improve simple areas of your mindset, such as letting go of the last play and re-focusing on the next.
Post-Competition Mindset Assessment
After your next competition, please answer a few questions about your mental game. It’s best if you answer them on the same day as your competition.
- What are two things you did well today, in regards to your mindset and performance?
- What are two things you would like to improve for next time?
- What expectations, if any, did you notice about going into today’s competition?
- What performance goals did you use for today’s competition?
- How well did you let go of your expectations and instead, focus on your mini goals or performance goals?