Why Don’t Coaches Do More Mental Game Training? [ honest question ]
I saw a tweet the other day that got me thinking again about the insane gap between the importance of the mental game and the energy we put into training and developing it.
Everyone knows it’s the key to performing at our highest level. It’s at least 50% of what it takes to succeed. But virtually no one puts anywhere near that amount of time and energy into working on it.
It really is pretty crazy when you think about it.
Anyway, that’s what I talk about in this post—why don’t we give the mental game the attention it deserves?
P.S. As you’ll hear, I am super interested in hearing your thoughts on this question. So please do take a moment to let me know either in the comments or by sending an email. Thanks!
- The answer most coaches give to “What percent of the game is mental?”
- My theory for why we don’t coach it
- My heartfelt (desperate?) plea to hear your thoughts :-)
- Listen/read to get the full message
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[ transcript ]
I was scrolling through Twitter the other day (it’s a bad habit), and I saw this tweet from Michael Gervais, the mental performance coach.
He said, When I ask coaches, "What percent of the game is mental?" I usually get a response between 50-80%.
But then when I ask "Are you allocating a proportionate amount of time for that training and development?” the answer is always no. And you knew it would be, didn’t you?
I’m David Levin. Author of Raise Your Inner Game, founder of Raise Your Inner Game Sports Academy. And I honestly don’t know what to make of this.
We know the mental game is every bit as important as the physical, if not more so. Everyone agrees with that. But we devote little if any time to actually training it with our athletes.
And by the way, I don’t mean this in any sort of judgmental or accusing way. I really don’t. I am honestly just asking the question.
If I told you, upper body strength makes up 80% of your team’s chance for success, I’m guessing you would spend a lot of time working on upper body strength. Right? It would be a major focus of your training. Of course it would. To not do that would be like coaching malpractice.
So again, why don’t we do more mental game training? And I mean what specifically keeps us from doing it when we all agree how important it is. There must be a good reason for it.
So here’s my guess. And I could be wrong. It could be something else. It could be this AND something else. And I would love to hear from you what keeps YOU from working on it. But here’s my guess.
We just don’t know how. And we don’t have time. Or at least we don’t think we have time. We know how to train for strength and speed and quickness. We know how to teach the strategies of our sport.
And maybe the most important thing is that we know how to MEASURE those things. We can see when someone is stronger or faster or quicker or is making smarter plays. And we know how to talk about it, so it’s relatively easy to train it.
But none of that is true with the mental game. I mean, we have a sense for when it’s not going well, we can see that, but we can’t see why. We can’t measure it. We don’t really know how to talk about it in any sort of specific way, so we simply don’t know how to coach it the way we do the physical game.
On top of that, we do tend to think that a strong mental game is maybe not that trainable to begin with. You know, you either have it or you don’t, so what can you do?
AND, the stories we do hear about athletes boosting their mental game tend to involve them working with a sports psychologist or some other high-level expert that we just don’t have access to at our level and with our athletes.
So it all just paints this picture that there’s just not much we can do about it.
It’s not like we’re sitting around with a ton of extra time on our hands. And it’s not like we totally know what we would say if only we had more time.
It’s just this big mystery that we know is important but we don’t know what to do about it.
That’s my theory.
And I would love to know what you think of that. Why don’t you train it, assuming you don’t? What keeps you from doing it? Is it what I said or something else?
This question is a real mystery to me, as I expect it is for Michael Gervais, too. And it’s also an important question, so I would love to hear your thoughts on it.
By the way, I suppose it goes without saying that Raise Your Inner Game Sports Academy fixes those problems. It’s easy, it takes very little time, and it gives you exactly what you need to start training the mental the same as you do the physical game.
But I would still really appreciate hearing your thoughts on why so few coaches devote the appropriate amount of time and energy to training the mental game.
Let me know in the comments. Send me an email. [email protected] I would love to hear from you.
And that is it for this post. “Why don’t coaches do more mental game training? [ honest question ]” Not so much of a post as a request for your take. But I do hope it helps you think about this for your team, because the mental game really is the key to unlocking your team’s potential. And if you can find a way to break through and start training it, it will just make a huge difference for you. So, please do let me know in the comments or an email.
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