What Does a Mental Coach Do?

Eli Straw
What Does a Mental Coach Do?

There are many factors that play into athletic success. But if we were to break it down into two simple categories they would be physical skills and mental skills.

To perform at the highest level, you need high-level physical skills. There’s no way around this. You have to master the fundamentals and be able to perform them well on a consistent basis.

But in addition to physical skills you need a strong mental game. You must have confidence, focus, composure, and all other mental skills that will elevate your level of play.

Just as there are coaches and trainers who help you develop physical skills, you need someone who will help you strengthen your mental game. That’s where a mental coach comes into play.

Mental Coach Defined

A mental coach is a professional who works with athletes to improve their mental game. Typically a mental coach will have a master’s in sport psychology.

This is needed to ensure they have a good understanding of mental tools and strategies that will help athletes improve their performance.

Mental coaches may go by different names, with some of the main ones including mental performance coach, mental game coach, sport psychology consultant, and sport psychology coach.

All of these refer to the same form of coaching, which involves identifying your current strengths and weaknesses and working on building stronger mental skills.

"A mental coach is a professional who works with athletes to improve their mental game."

Why Do Athletes Work With a Mental Coach?

There are many different specific reasons why an athlete will work with a mental coach. But when push comes to shove, there seem to be two driving mindsets.

Either the athlete wants additional skills they know will improve their game, or they are noticing that they are playing well in practices but not in games and there is something mental that is causing this.

The first reason stems from an understanding that elite athletes have high levels of mental toughness. And one of the best ways to build mental toughness is to work with a coach who will show you how.

This is the same principle that leads athletes to go work with a strength and conditioning coach. They want a stronger body, so they go work with someone who will show them how to build one.

The other driving force for working with a mental coach is not playing well in games but playing well in practice. When this happens, not only is it frustrating, but it’s also confusing. In practice, you play great, but in games, you play like a completely different person.

The main cause for this is mental. We know this because you clearly have the skills to succeed since you’re showing them in practice. There’s something mental blocking those skills during games.

Main Mental Game Challenges Mental Coaching Works to Overcome

When you find yourself performing well in practice but not in games, there are going to be certain mental game challenges that are holding you back.

There may be one, or there may be many that are all working together to keep you from performing your best.

The main mental game challenges athletes face include:

  • Fear of Failure
  • Sports Performance Anxiety
  • Poor Focus
  • Perfectionism
  • Self-Doubt
  • Social Approval
  • High Expectations
  • Negative Self-Talk
  • Negative Self-Image

Mental coaching will help you overcome these challenges. How is that done? By building positive mental skills.

"When you find yourself performing well in practice but not in games, there are going to be certain mental game challenges that are holding you back."

Main Mental Skills Mental Coaching Works to Develop

Mental game challenges are overcome by understanding them and then working to develop positive mental skills.

Think about the fear of failure, for example. This is when you are afraid of making a mistake during a game. One of the best ways to reduce this fear is by building confidence. The more you trust yourself and your skills, the less afraid you will be of making a mistake.

Here are the main mental skills mental coaching develops:

  • Self-Confidence
  • Focus
  • Positive Self-Talk
  • Resilience
  • Composure
  • A Strong Self-Image
  • Mindfulness
  • Goal Setting
  • Mental Toughness
"Mental game challenges are overcome by understanding them and then working to develop positive mental skills."

How Does Mental Coaching Work?

Your work with a mental coach will be custom tailored to you and your specific situation. For the coaching to have the most impact, it needs to be heavily focused on the areas that are holding you back.

But in general, there is a set structure that is followed (while the skills worked on may vary depending on your need).

The mental coaching I offer is set up to allow for the most effective way to overcome your mental game challenges and build mental skills.

Here is how the mental coaching program works:

Mental Game Assessment

The first thing that happens is you take a mental game assessment. This will occur before our first session. The assessment provides me with the information I need to create your mental game plan.

Mental Game Plan

With the information gathered from the assessment, I will create a custom mental plan for you. This will include the main mental game challenges I’ve recognized, along with the key areas we will focus on improving moving forward.

Weekly Coaching Sessions

The coaching will take place during weekly, 50-minute sessions. These are virtual so that you have access to mental coaching no matter where you are in the world.

Action Steps

After each coaching session, you will be given action steps for that week. These are your opportunity to put the tools you learn into practice and really make a change happen.

"Your work with a mental coach will be custom tailored to you and your specific situation. For the coaching to have the most impact, it needs to be heavily focused on the areas that are holding you back."

How to Get Started With Mental Coaching

Mental coaching is the best way for you to build the mental skills you need to succeed in sports. If you are interested in learning more about the mental coaching program I offer and seeing how you can get started, please fill out the form below.

If you have any questions about mental coaching, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of success in all that you do.

Contact Success Starts Within Today

Please contact us to learn more about mental coaching and to see how it can improve your mental game and increase your performance. Complete the form below, call (252)-317-1602 or schedule an introductory coaching call here.

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Mental Training Courses

Learn more about our two main mental training courses for athletes: Mental Training Advantage and The Mentally Tough Kid.

The Mentally Tough Kid course will teach your young athlete tools & techniques to increase self-confidence, improve focus, manage mistakes, increase motivation, and build mental toughness.

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In Mental Training Advantage, you will learn tools & techniques to increase self-confidence, improve focus, manage expectations & pressure, increase motivation, and build mental toughness. It's time to take control of your mindset and unlock your full athletic potential!

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Master Your Mental Game With One-On-One Coaching

Get one-on-one mental performance coaching to help break through mental barriers and become the athlete you're meant to be!