I perform well when…

How often do you say something like the following:

  • I do better when I’m the underdog.
  • I do better when I come from behind.
  • I do better when no one expects me to do well.
  • I do better when I lead.
  • I do better when it’s a tough course.
  • I do better in cold/hot/wet/dry (you name the conditions).


  • I don’t do well on wet surfaces.
  • I don’t do well on courses with lots of turns.
  • I don’t do well performing on the road.
  • I don’t do well on loop courses.

On one hand it is good to know your strengths. On the other hand, it opens the door to mental game weaknesses. And here is why.

Anytime your self talk, self labels and self descriptions indicate that you can only do your best under certain conditions then by default it also defines when you believe that you do not do well. This becomes an expectation (consciously or subconsciously) about your ability to perform.

The goal is to be able to do your best regardless of the conditions or situation. Let’s be clear, doing your “best” doesn’t mean setting personal records. It means you give 100% from start to finish regardless of the situation. You do not let the circumstances seep into your psyche and adversely effect your performance – promoting that possibility of a let down or anything less than a 100% effort sans doubts.

What we tell ourselves (even if never spoken to others) is powerful. Often these things become self-fulfilling prophecies. Countering these beliefs starts in training. You must integrate mental and physical training. Address your weaknesses by doing what you don’t do well in practice. If you don’t like loop courses and you know your big race is on a loop course then practice running on a loop course. While doing this, rehearse your mental game plan (what do you tell yourself on loop #1, #2…; what specifically do you do to stay fully in the moment and not thinking of multiple loops; how do you mentally break up the course into chunks to handle it best).

Need help attacking your limiting beliefs? Why continue to limit your performance potential? Drop me a line. It only takes 2-3 sessions – we’ll master it! 


About Dean Hebert

I’m a mental game coach, author and speaker. I work with individual athletes, parents, coaches, and teams on sports performance enhancement. Beyond my academic post-graduate work in sports psychology - the psychology behind athlete performance – I am a certified Mental Games Coaching Professional (MGCP) and certified hypnotherapist. I’ve authored several books and hundreds of articles. “Coach, I didn’t run because…” (2008) is a seriously light-hearted look at making excuses not to workout and how to overcome them. “Focus for Fitness” (2009) and “Screw the Goals Give me the Donut” (2010) are two of my eBooks on mental game approaches for the everyday athlete. I wrote these because I believe that everyone can benefit from the powerful mental techniques that the world’s best athletes use. I have been cited in Runners World, Best Health magazine (CN), SWEAT Magazine, and the Washington Examiner amongst many other publications. I have been a featured mental games coach in Runner’s World and for the internationally acclaimed trail running resource - trailrunningclub.com. I also regularly appear on sports and fitness talk shows such as LTKFitness, Runnersroundtable and for more than three years I have co-hosted a weekly video series with Coach Joe English for Running-Advice.com. I specialize in mental toughness training. My clients include tennis, synchronized swimming, golf, race-kart, soccer, motocross, volleyball, MMA, cycling (road, off-road, time-trialist), running, duathlon and triathlon, basketball, football and baseball athletes. I have coached world-class athletes and athletes internationally. I have a passion for working with youth athletes and helping them apply mental game skills and techniques to all areas of life. Most importantly, my aim is to have people enjoy sports and life to their fullest through peak performances.
This entry was posted in Challenge, focus, Goal Setting, Marathon, Mental Game, Mental Toughness, Pacing & Running, Running, Sports Psychology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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