A Mental Training System Checklist
50 Mental Game Tools Peak Performers Use
Bill Cole, MS, MA
What mental tools do you have in your peak performer's tool kit
that will propel you to excellence? Peak performers have a wide
array of mental technologies to help them overcome obstacles,
prepare for performances, and review and adjust their mental
game. What follows is a list of some psychological tools you can
use to create your own custom mental training system. Scan the
list, try some skills that intrigue you, and then develop your
own comprehensive peak performer's tool kit.
1. Visualization skills: using your mental movies to imagine
yourself at peak.
2. Positive self-talk skills: keeping yourself motivated and on a
3. Breathing techniques: staying relaxed and in the present,
staying calm under fire.
4. Goal setting: staying focused, energized and on track.
5. Mental game journal: noting your dreams, observations about
6. Audio tapes: using off-the-shelf music/voice or customize your
own for inspiration.
7. Affirmations: talking nice to yourself, inspiring and
8. Video tape your performance: seeing yourself perform is
9. Relaxation techniques: staying under control under stressful
10. Pre-performance rituals: having a comforting system for
11. Posture awareness: controlling your perceived image and your
12. Post-performance review: analyzing how you did and how to do
13. Anger management skills: handling frustration with
goal-setting and centering.
14. Centering skills: staying grounded, focused, relaxed and
tuned in, all at once.
15. Mistake management skills: dealing with inevitable errors by
16. Momentum skills: using a performance's ambiance to gain
17. Psych-out/heckler management skills: dealing with rude
18. Coach communication skills: having clear, open dialogue with
your coaching team.
19. Contingency plans: having back-up strategies, in addition to
a main plan.
20. Percentage thinking: thinking the way experienced performers
see their discipline.
21. Pre-performance warm-up: having a system for being ready
mentally and physically.
22. Practice performances: practicing gives confidence and makes
23. Time management skills: using your precious time to become
24. Distributed practice: breaking up your practices instead of
having one big session.
25. Concentration skills: learning how to focus, inward/outward
26. Awareness in-the-moment: being aware of yourself in the here
27. Thought-stopping: saying STOP! to unwanted thoughts when they
28. Pacing skills: controlling your energy and bodily movement.
29. Having a game plan: making a main and backup strategy for
30. Performance-charting: having someone analyze your performance
31. Interventions: any skill, technique or approach you use to
32. Shaping: making progressively closer attempts to your ideal
33. Process vs. product focus: letting outcome take care of
itself by focusing on process.
34. Reinforcement: giving yourself praise, rewards and strokes
when you succeed.
35. Meditation: relaxing and focusing your mind so you have
36. Modeling: observing ideal behaviors in others and making them
37. Music: using the power of music to soothe, psyche-up and
38. Self-hypnosis: using trance to program yourself for anything
39. The third eye: having an objective, observing part of the
self to self-coach.
40. Role-playing: practicing as an actor how you want to perform
41. Sense of humor: gaining perspective on a pressure situation
by finding mirth in it.
42. Creativity tools: using your mind to see new possibilities,
43. Mentoring: having a mature, successful guide who has been
where you want to go.
44. Daydreaming: using mind wandering as constructive, creative,
45. Assertiveness skills: seeking your rights without being
aggressive or passive.
46. Reframing: seeing a situation in a different way, from
47. Action-orientation: overcoming inertia to initiate and
sustain a project.
48. Risk-taking skills: taking appropriate chances after careful
49. Perspective skills: keeping all things in strategic and
tactical view at all times.
50. Balancing skills: maintaining center in one's life, under all
Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on peak performance,
mental toughness and coaching, is founder and CEO of Procoach
Systems, a consulting firm that helps organizations and
professionals achieve more success in business, life and sports.
For a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and
comments visit him at www.MentalGameCoach.com
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