Do to confidentiality I can’t talk specifically about who my clients are but I can share some moments of success which are partly attributed to clients working on their mental performance. I am going to share the experiences of three clients to give you an idea of what can happen when you train the mental side of your performance.
This is not confidential and is a yelp review that one of my clients wrote for me. I recently found myself in the terrifying position of discovering I had “open water phobia” only weeks before my first triathlon. I had really become comfortable in the pool but in the open water I was experience panic attacks and inability to breathe (a little inconvenient!). Luckily, I got a referral to Michelle from a friend and she helped me ENORMOUSLY.
We did a few sessions in her office really exploring the details around what brought up this anxiety and it was calming and helpful. But when that stubborn phobia just didn’t go away completely, Michelle went Above and Beyond in a way that truly made all the difference: she offered to go IN the water WITH me to help me, breath by breath and stroke by stroke. That was the breakthrough for me – having someone calmly WITH me, in the deep water. It was incredibly reassuring as she gave me practical physical as well as psychological tools to deal with the situation. Two days later, I did my first blissful one-mile swim in the bay that felt effortless and awesome.
If I could give her ten stars, I would. It feels like nothing short of a miracle. My triathlon is this coming Sunday and I am facing it with excitement instead of dread.
If you have ANY issues with mental preparation around any sport, Michelle will you give you her 100%. She’s amazing!
Professional tennis player
Several months ago I started with a tennis player who had just turned pro. This player had been ranked #1 in college but turning pro was a rough transition. This player was struggling with a lot of fear, anxiety, self doubt and confidence. It was showing up on the court. This player was used to being part of a team and partially attributed successes to the team environment and extrinsic motivation. Upon turning pro this player realized that all of that was gone and was struggling to find the motivation and confidence within to carry on. This player was also afraid to ‘leave it all on the court’ due to fear of failure.
We’ve spent time working on all of this by coming up with a game plan for what was partially a challenge with individuation (growing up and being alone) but mainly all that was going on with the mental challenges around playing the game: fear, anxiety, self doubt, confidence and leaving it all of the court. We worked on imagery, pre-performance, a routine between every point, simulation training, thinking confidently, etc.
In January this player was ranked in the high 600′s and today is ranked in the mid 200′s. There are still things this player needs to enhance to continue to move up in the rankings but right now there is a solid plan in place.
Professional trumpet player
A couple of months ago a professional trumpet player came to me unable to reach this trumpet players ‘trumpet Olympics’. After several attempts this trumpet player came to see me. There has been a lot that’s needed to unfold in order for this trumpet player to reach trumpet Olympics. I would say similar to the tennis player the trumpet player was struggling with fear, anxiety, self doubt and confidence. And in this situation as in the above situation (although it showed up a bit differently) the trumpet players type A personality brought with it extrinsic motivation and expectations that were colliding into burnout disaster every time auditions for trumpet Olympics came around.
We’ve spent a lot of time bringing awareness to when, what and how all of this was showing up and then talked about pre-performance, imagery, positive cue words, confidence, tapering, reducing type A behaviors and feeling rather than analyzing.
For the first time, this trumpet player felt great in the first round of Olympic auditions and made it through to the final round.
Mental training has helped many of my clients and it can help you get to the next level. Several of my clients have seen other therapists and have read books on sports psychology but they had not gotten an individualized plan to help them through the mental-behavior change process to get them to where they want to be. I am that person and I am here to help you!
Photo credit: openwaterswimming.com; focusonlinecommunities.com; christoslists.tumblr.com