Mental Coaching, Maximize Performance in Business and Sports

A few days ago I had a conversation with an adult male tennis player. He was preparing for an upcoming match. We’ve spoken before about the power of thought and strengthening the mental game to maximize athletic performance. Like many professional and top competitors, maintaining a strong mind set can be as challenging as playing an optimal game technically. “I think once you’re competent with your strokes 90 percent of the game is mental” he said.

As a Communications Coach helping people become conscious of their thought process is the first step. Many power of mind programs focus on visualizing positive outcomes, learning to make new mental pictures and see things in a different light. In this blog I want to call more attention to inner dialog and learning to edit what we say to ourselves. I also want to share another amazing story about the power of thought and law of attraction in regard to facilitating business connections and manifesting work. You can read more “power of mind” stories in the archives of this blog. Click on the categories tag to find them.

In my professional and personal experience internal commentaries have greater impact than mental pictures. Pictures come into view and fade quickly, like slide shows. Verbal messages get stuck in our heads and repeatedly play like outdated Muzac songs. There is a saying in the field of NLP, “Words can empower or impoverish you. Choose your words wisely”.

The following is part of the conversation I had with this adult tennis player…

I have a tennis match this weekend and I am worried about how I am going to play. Every time I get onto the court I tense up. I feel tight in my shoulders and neck. It definitely slows me down. I also start getting down on myself” he said… There are many embedded commands in these short statements. Can you find them? Embedded commands are thoughts that give directives to the subconscious mind which governs our mental state, and subsequently influences our experiences for better or for worse. The words “every time” set the stage for this experience to reoccur time and again. “I am worried. I tense up, feel tight in my shoulders, I slow down, and I get down on myself” describe the past, AND stated as such also mandate what will occur in the future.

How can he state his situation differently and program a more positive outcome? I asked him to do the following exercise. You can do the same mental exercise with any self destructive patterns.  Write down everything you remember about a repetitive problem. Title the page, “The Past”. Begin writing “In the past I noticed this… happened”. Make sure the entire sequence of events is written in the past tense because it is behind you, now over and done! Take another sheet of paper. Title it “The Present”. Begin writing “When I…. I will feel…think…and be doing…” Take time to describe your new pattern in detail. Flesh it out!

Here are embedded commands I recommended for the tennis player. “When I get onto the court I will take a deep breath and relax. I will move quickly and respond accurately. I am going to play my personal best game today whether I win or loose. My game is improving and I am committed to playing well. If I feel tense, I will take a deep breath and relax again”.

What embedded commands do you hear now? “Take a deep breath, relax, move quickly, and respond accurately, play personal best today, game is improving, committed to playing well”. These are very different messages to tell one self. Mental coaching takes concerted time and effort. Once you start reprogramming what you say to yourself your thought process will begin to do this automatically. It’s like learning a second language.

A few weeks ago I thought, “I want to find a medical professional who will start referring clients to me”. Have you noted the phrases  here that have a driving and drawing force behind them? “Find a medical professional who will refer clients”. Here’s what happened shortly after. I went to a friend’s birthday party. It was a significant one numerically and I wanted to honor her for all the good she has brought to her friends and the community we live in. It’s also been many years since I’ve seen some of the people who were invited and I was looking forward to reconnecting with them, as well as mingling with new people.

The party was delightful! I sat next to a man and began chatting. His wife joined us. After sharing how we knew the birthday gal, we started talking about work, of course. I described founding Of 2 Minds services which teaches people to use both intuition and logic in daily life and decision making. “Oh, that’s great to know” the wife exclaimed! “I am a chiropractor and looking for counselors to refer my clients to. I much prefer making referrals to someone I know personally and I like that you also teach people how to trust their feelings. Would you mind giving me some of your professional cards?… And if some of my clients don’t want to travel to your home office in Salinas,  you can use my office in Monterey on the weekends. I won’t charge you.…

The power of thought is extraordinary! If you have stories, questions, and comments you’d like to share you are welcome to post them directly or email me at: Stephanie@of2minds.com If you would like to learn more about me and the services I offer as a Personal Life Coach click on the Services tab in the upper right hand corner of this page: http://www.stephaniealt.com/  or visit my website: http://www.of2minds.com/

“Fine-tuning your intuition safeguards your future and opens doors to the extraordinary.”                       Stephanie Alt, MS

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  1. Julio Toribio on the Apr 03, 2010 remarked #

    I love this article. It describes the positive spirit that I practice in Seibukan Jujutsu to teach my students and help them create the utmost results. I believe that as long as the students, regardless of their history, stay training in the Dojo, they will achieve desirable results because eventually they will start seeing thing the way things are, rather than the way they are. They will see the big picture rather than the small picture, and they will use their mental wide angle lens rather than their mental zoom lens.

    Stephanie, you are a great coach and many people will benefit from your work.

    Julio Toribio –
    Seibukan Jujutsu Kancho

  2. Stephanie Alt on the Apr 03, 2010 remarked #

    Thank you Kancho Julio Toribio. I feel blessed to know you personally and as a colleague. My children continue to reap the rewards of training with you and your teachers and being part of an incredible community. Let our combined words and way continue to support many in finding their personal power and inner truth.

  3. Scott on the Apr 10, 2010 remarked #

    Stephanie, your article hit upon something that has bothered me for years.

    Years ago, I heard a story about a company that was trying to improve morale, quality and corporate life, in general. They brought in a speaker for positive thinking. This worked well and things improved dramatically. After a time, another positive thinking speaker was introduced and things improved more. Later, a speaker was brought in who said “Be honest”. This blew everything.

    The truth was and is that thinking positive can be the proverbial “rose colored glasses.” Through honesty, one can face and address the reality of a situation.

    Thinking positive would not necessarily release the tension in the tennis player’s neck nor would it implement the hours of training and practice in the art of hitting the ball with a tennis racket.

    Finally, years ago, an instructor told me that there is one Fred Astaire and one Mikhail Baryshnikov, in the world, and I am neither one. He then said, “Go dancing, do your best and have fun, anyway!”

  4. Stephanie Alt on the Apr 10, 2010 remarked #

    Scott, your instructor’s message to you is exactly the message of this post! He said “Do your best and have fun…” These words are instructions; do and have are directives to the unconscious mind as well as giving you good pep talk. This post is about how to send constructive messages to the unconscious mind and how to become conscious of what we say to our self.

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