I am often asked something to the effect of “exactly what do you do anyway?” And “What can a mental game coach teach me?”
Here is a response from one of my high school athletes. She completed my Runner’s Mental Game Program.
1. What were your expectations about working with me before the first session? Before my first session, I was expecting improvements of my mental game, but I knew from an article I read in Runner’s World that it would not all be at once and that it would take time. The article also gave me an idea of what the teaching material would be like as well as Dean’s expertise.
2. Were your expectations met? My expectations were surpassed. I made more than just improvements on my mental game, I made leaps. Dean explains the material in a way that you are able to understand and gives you exactly how to put it into practice. I was amazed at how effective the mental game strategies were becoming to me in my sport. I improved my performance more than I thought possible beforehand.
3. What information or lessons did you find most helpful about your session with Dean? The lessons I found most helpful in my sessions with Dean were the confidence building, creation of the pre-competition routine, and controlling the controllables lessons. The confidence building lesson showed me the importance of believing in yourself and that you truly can accomplish any goal if you have to confidence that you can. Confidence was an area I struggled with and the lessons with Dean really helped me in this area. The creation of the pre-competition routine was something I would never have thought of doing but has made such an enormous impact on my mental game before races. It allowed me to create a step-by-step process that keeps my mind focused on the task at hand in order to perform my best. Worrying about races is something I still do to this day. But being able to refocus my mind on controlling the controllables brings me to ease and helps calm my nerves. All of these things have shaped me into a mentally strong runner thanks to Dean.
4. What did you specifically learn that will help you become a better performer or athlete? Going along with my earlier answer, things I learned specifically that have helped me become a better performer includes the 3 R’s- Recognize, Regroup, and Refocus. This process helps you to start to recognize your own negative thoughts then gives you a way of refocusing those thoughts on the items learned in lessons. I also learned visualization techniques that have been scientifically proven to help performance due to the self-fulfilling prophecy. This means that if you continually tell yourself something will happen, your mind and body will help you make that happen. I also learned several strategies that prepare you to achieve a breakthrough performance by going out of your comfort zone. The importance of goal setting and all the different variations of goals, including long-term, short-term, and process goals, is something that has made me a smarter athlete, and a better one in the end. The most important things I learned were phrases to say to myself to keep my self-talk positive and my mind on the right track. These are among the many things I have learned that have made me a better performer.
5. What was your biggest challenge in improving your mental game? My biggest challenge in improving my mental game was gaining confidence. This was one of the main things I struggled with in my sport for a long time, so naturally it was one of the hardest aspects of my mentality to adjust. Dean taught me exactly what I needed to readjust my thoughts and without even noticing I was thinking differently and believed in myself more than ever.
6. Would you recommend Dean as a mental game coach? I highly recommend Dean as a mental game coach. Dean targets the exact areas of your mental game that need to be improved and provides an individualized approach to the problem. He presents the solution in a way that you are able to understand. If one way doesn’t work, he comes up with another way to help you with the mental aspect you are struggling with. He treats you just like a real coach would and is always there for you whether you need advice, support, a confidence-boost, or someone to celebrate your successes with. His bubbly personality makes the lessons fun and more relatable too. The benefits I have received from having Dean as a mental game coach were more than I could ask for and I highly recommend him to anyone.
So there you go. That’s what I do and what you can learn. If you are interested, drop me a line. Summer is the perfect time for Fall cross-country runners to learn and practice these skills!