Mental Moment-how to assess what’s important

 In Coaches, Healthy Lifestyles, Professional & Olympic Athletes

what's importantPsychological Skills Training (PST)

PST is a systematic approach to developing a mental game plan. It is designed to help performers acquire and practice the psychological skills that have been shown to improve performance and enhance enjoyment of performing. Research has shown that PST can give performers an edge over others.

Step 1 – Where to Begin

Think about how much of your performance is mental. Next, compare how much is mental with how much practice time you spend training mental skills. Generally, most performers know that performing is mentally demanding, yet they spend virtually no time practicing the necessary mental components.

Step 2 – Mental Skills Worksheet

Now that you have thought about how much of your performance is mental and how little time spend practicing mental skills, lets figure out how to take action. Use the Mental Skills Worksheet to determine what psychological skills you think are necessary for to be a successful performer. When you have determined your most important top 5 mental skills, write those in order of importance on the Performance Profile template.

  1. Circle all that are important for you to excel.
  2. From those circles, choose the top 5 and write in spaces below.
  3. Write your top 5 in your performance profile.

Positive Attitude










Pumped up


Dealing with Anxiety








Dealing with Pain

Ability to lose

Ability to win

Ability to Deal with Criticism

Handling Mistakes


Having Fun

Sense of Accomplishment

Having Goals

Mental Toughness














Being Present






Positive Thinking

Dealing with Emotions



Manage Pressure

Stress Management




  1. ____________________


  1. ____________________


  1. ____________________


  1. ____________________


  1. ____________________

Step 3 – Performance Profiling

Across the top of the Performance Profile is a rating scale of 1-10. Number 1 means ‘not at all’ (I am not at all positive) and 10 means‘very much’ (I am very positive). To be most effective, bring colored pencils or markers, and have some fun.

  • First, decide where you are currently in each of the five mental skills listed. Choose a color for ‘current skill level’ and put an X in the corresponding box. For example, if you feel you are pretty positive, you may put an X in box 8.
  • Second, decide where you want to be in each of the five skills to further succeed. Choose a color for ‘success’ and put an X in the corresponding boxes. Continuing with the example above, although you are currently an 8 on being positive you may feel you need to be a 10 to excel in.
  • Third, use a third color to draw a line between the X where your ‘current skill level’ is and the X where you think you need to be for success. This determines the difference between where you are to where you want to be.

This process will give you an idea of what you consider your mental skill priorities.

Skill 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Using the Information

Going through this exercise gives you some mental goals to strive toward. Since you can’t possibly work on everything at the same time, and more than likely you have not worked on any of them prior to this, start with the first one on the list. Continuing to you being positive as our example, how do you get from an 8 to a 10 in positivity? Perhaps at an 8, you feel challenged with negative self talk during certain pressure situations. What does that look and feel like? How does it play out? How does it affect performance? Delve deeper with into why you feel you are an 8 on positivity. This will help you figure out how to move past where you are and get you to the 10 you need to be.

Next week I am going to talk about how you can further utilize this information and develop your mental skills.

Happy start of the week!

Dr. Michelle

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Copyright © 2013 Dr. Michelle Cleere — All Rights Reserved

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Dr. Michelle Cleere
In her own private practice as an elite performance expert, Dr. Michelle Cleere helps top athletes, musicians, and executives in competitive fields unlock the power of the mind and create the mental toughness to be the best. Dr. Michelle’s extensive academic background, which includes a PhD in Clinical Psychology and a Masters in Sports Psychology, allows her to help clients deal with performance anxiety, gain more confidence, and build resilience. In addition to personal coaching, Dr. Michelle takes on many roles – a best-selling author, athlete, and teacher. Dr. Michelle’s bestseller line, Beating the Demons, helps clients develop practical skills to gain more control over competitive environments and mitigate the interruption in play to overcome intense odds and defeat adversity. As a 15-year USAT Coach, she developed simple and effective tools to mentally train her athletes, and they are used by coaches around the world. She is a professor at John F. Kennedy University where she teacher her students to use the mind as an ally to improve performance.
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