Planning for Excellence

Just as athletes conduct a physical warm up just prior to a practice or performance, so too should they consider developing a psychological or mental warm up in order to put them in the best frame of mind for a peak performance. This can be easily accomplished in just a few hours, and over time, can be continuously refined and individualized in order to enable them to “win the mind game.”


  1. What frees you to perform your best? Think about a previous performance that you are proud of. What three words would you use to describe how you were feeling just prior to that performance?
  2. What interferes with you reaching your potential? Worry, focus, rest, thought patterns, self-doubt, concerns outside of the athletic arena. What three words would you use to describe your emotions just prior to that performance?
  3. Is there anything you would like to improve about the way you approach a competition? Attitude, level of intensity, self talk, fear of failure, fear of success, level of nervousness, etc….


  1. How would you prefer to think, feel, act, or be just before a competition?  Most world-class athletes report being in a state of relaxed intensity, feeling highly focused, and supremely confident in their ability.


  1.  What aspects of your mind-set were empowering?
  2. What aspects of your mind-set were not empowering?
  3. What thoughts can you develop in order to counter any limiting thoughts or beliefs?
  4. Make a list of empowering statements that you can use just prior to a competition that will support you.
  5. For your next performance what can you do better to prepare yourself to be at your best, perform your best, or stretch your limits?

The cycle of planning, execution, and evaluation is a continuous one. With attention and commitment, you will have developed a powerful mind-set for putting yourself in the best possible position for performance excellence. Have a goal to make steady progress regarding your consistency and confidence level prior to and during each competition. Then evaluate what went well, and what needs more attention. Before you know it, you’ll have won the mind game and placed yourself in a unique position to dare your opponent to match your confidence and intensity!

Goal Setting Skills…. Developing Your Cocoon of Quiet Confidence

Goal setting can either be a help or a hindrance, depending on how you go about setting them. Outcome goals are those that make definitive statements about winning the race, or defeating your opponent. While these thoughts can and do serve as great motivators in practice, they will serve as a detriment just prior to your competition. Why would I say this? When we place the outcome of any experience in the hands of others ( you cannot control your opponent ) we create potential anxiety and self-doubt, which in turn takes our focus off of the actual performance. Instead of thinking about what you can control, you’re too busy worrying about what you cannot. When this happens, you have automatically limited your performance before it even begins!

Performance goals, as you may have already surmised, are a more advantageous strategy for the elite level competitor. Performance goals are those that help you focus on everything that is within your control. Your attitude, thoughts, technique, desire, and preparation are all within your power. By focusing on these criteria you are better able to free your mind for a peak performance because you don’t have to think about anyone else. You have, in effect, created your own ”cocoon of quiet confidence.”

So, by all means use the other team, or your opponent, to help you reach your potential and motivate you and your team, but when crunch time comes, go within, because it’s all about you!