Performance Management

Sports Mentalytics provides athletic mental performance management tools for coaches and athletes. We combine sport and organizational psychology assessments with analytics to deliver unparalleled insights into the mind of an athlete or team.
What is Performance Management?
Performance management is the systematic process in which individuals and groups improve their effectiveness by planning, assessing, and reviewing performance and the achievement of goals with objective metrics.
 
 
 
 

Assess

DESIGNED FOR DEVELOPMENT

Unlike other sport psychology and mental skills assessments on the market (which were designed for scouting or identifying future team members), our assessment system was designed for developing athletes.  The advantages of our approach are that we focus on both traits and states of the athletes.  Traits are relatively stable attributes of the athlete that the athlete must “learn to live with” during their athletic career (such as their personality).  States are more dynamic attributes of the athlete (such as focus and motivation) that can be molded and shaped with practice and mental skills. 

Our process begins with an objective, quantitative assessment of critical mental dimensions for athletic performance.  Our proprietary assessments were developed and validated with the latest standards in psychometrics and psychological theories of performance.

 

ATHLETE ASSESSMENT

The Athlete Mentalytics Assessment measures the key areas identified in the latest scientific sport psychology research-base that have been shown to drive individual performance, including individual preparation-related variables (e.g., motivation), competition-related variables (e.g., focus), and teamwork-related variables (e.g., team orientation). The athlete assessment model is based on psychological dimensions that have been shown in numerous research studies to influence athletic performance.  Additional dimensions from the broader performance effectiveness research are assessed to capture aspects of an athletes' preparation approach, which ultimately influences their performance.

Three Factors of Athlete Mental Performance
 

TEAM ASSESSMENT

The Team Mentalytics Assessment measures the key dimensions that drive team performance, including team process dimensions (e.g., conflict management), team culture variables (e.g., values), and other team attributes (e.g., collective confidence in the team).  The assessment model is based on a combination of research from organizational work teams and sports teams to provide a comprehensive evaluation of team effectiveness.  The assessment is different from any other competitor in that it measures characteristics that only exist at the group level.  For example, culture and cohesion are dimensions that reflect a shared property of the team and are inaccurate when assessed by a single person's opinion, such as the coach.  But when an entire team is surveyed, their data can be analyzed and aggregated to a higher level of understanding of the collective property of the team.

 
Three Factors of Team Mental Performance
 

Learn

In order to optimize an athlete’s entire skill set, the athlete has to learn a new set of skills – mental skills. Just like athletes receive instruction from coaches, attend sports camps, and practice to learn the physical aspect of their sport, athletes need to do the same to learn the mental aspect of their sport. Our reports are designed to teach the athlete to manage their own mental game and learn the basics of sport psychology techniques.

Our reports go far beyond just scores and numbers to provide instruction and actionable feedback specific to each athlete. Based on the results of our assessments, we prepare reports for each member of an athlete’s supportive network. For teams, we provide insights into the unique aspects of team interaction with coach-directed feedback and guidance. Our reports help athletes, parents and coaches focus directly on the areas of mental performance that require the most attention.
 
  • Athlete Report
    Direct feedback, guidance and coaching for the athlete on their mental strengths and weaknesses
  • Parent Report
    Feedback and strategies for parents to help develop the athlete from a parent perspective
  • Coach Report
    Feedback and strategies for coaches to identify the best teaching approach, motivation techniques, and critical situations where an athlete needs the most assistance with their mental game
  • Team Report
    High-level reporting on collective strengths and weaknesses of the team, like cohesion, coordination, and conflict management with strategies for improvement
 

Develop

Our recommendations for managing your mental game are based on decades of research in sport and organizational psychology.  We incorporate the latest science and research to provide the most advanced solutions to your mental performance development.

Our athlete development model uses two primary methods to improve performance: 1) increasing self-awareness to change athlete thinking, and 2) using mental skills to change behavior.

SELF-AWARENESS

Most athletes are aware of their physical strengths and weaknesses because they are observable.  For example, one athlete’s time in the 40-yard dash is 6.2 seconds and another athlete’s time is 5.1 seconds.  The difference is observable and clear: one athlete is 1.1 seconds slower than the other.  When it comes to mental strengths and weaknesses, they are much harder to observe and quantify.  Even if an athlete can tell a competitor is more “mentally strong” than him/her, the athlete may not know why or to what extent.  When an athlete understands their limitations in their mental game, they can focus directly on developing their weaknesses.  They can also recognize situations where those weaknesses may be most problematic and work to approach those situations with the right mentality.   

 

MENTAL SKILLS GUIDE

When athletes know their weaknesses, they can implement mental skills to overcome those weaknesses or turn them into strengths.  We use six types of mental skills to help athletes manage their weaknesses and improve their mental strength: 1) Self-talk, 2) Arousal Control, 3) Visualization, 4) Routines, 5) Goal Setting, and 6) Re-Framing.  Each of these skills can be used for a number of different mental performance dimensions.  We provide training on each mental skill and recommend them to athletes to overcome certain weaknesses or leverage strengths.  Our reports are customized to each athlete so that the appropriate mental skill is used in the correct situation.

 

TEAM DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES

For teams, we provide development activities that target specific team processes that underlie team performance.  We inform coaches about specific team processes and attributes, such as team coordination and cohesion, and what the coach can do to improve those areas.  Generally speaking, process improvement involves things like setting process goals for the team during a short simulation  in practice, or cross-training players in other positions on the team to improve coordination.  Whatever the given strengths or weaknesses of the team, we help coaches and teams maximize their process, cohesion, and culture.  Coaches can create the “team chemistry” they want for their team.

 

STUDY YOUR RESULTS

Developing an athlete’s or team’s mental approach is like any other performance enhancement intervention in sports – it will take time.  Athletes should not expect overnight changes or success simply because they completed the assessment and read their report.  While gaining insight into one’s mental approach is extremely valuable, athletes must practice the techniques we suggest and make an effort to follow the advice we provide.  Many of the dimensions measured are related to long-term success, so while an athlete is working on a particular area of their mental approach, they may not see short-term effects.  However, with dedication and the right mentality the athlete will experience success over the long-term.


Perform

PERFORM IN PRACTICE

Athletes and teams should always implement the techniques we suggest in practice.  We do not recommend trying to make changes during competitions, or before the athlete has had a chance to practice the technique.  We recommend athletes add the mental skills they are practicing to their training schedule and work on them during every preparation session.  When an athlete feels comfortable using a mental skill, such as visualization, they can implement the skill in performance competitions. 

 

IMPLEMENT AND MONITOR

Our strategy and development system are designed to equip athletes and teams with new ways of thinking and controlling their mental performance.  For some athletes, the results may be evident in the objective performance metrics fairly quickly (wins, losses, points, etc.).  For others, it may take time to see effects in those metrics.  However, all athletes should monitor their performance during preparation AND competition over several months.  An athlete or team may see small, but steady, improvements in their performance in preparation sessions.  Eventually this will translate to competition.  Athletes and teams should always evaluate their progress toward the improvments that need to be made.  

 
A Case Example
Consider two golfers (Jenny and Sarah) who have the exact same physical skill, talent, and mental make-up as athletes.  They also both have the same goal of shooting a score of 70 (on a typical golf course this is a very good score).

Jenny

Time after time during the season, Jenny is on track to shoot a score of 70, but falls apart at the end of the round and ends up with scores of 73, 74, etc (higher scores are worse). She meets repeatedly with her swing coach, putting coach, and conditioning trainer to work on execution for the entire round.

Each coach has her doing drills to keep up her endurance in the round, as her performance appears to decrease late in the round after she has been golfing for several hours. After several months of working on her game, she still can’t seem to reach that goal of shooting a score of 70.

At the end of the season, somebody suggests that she meet with a sport psychologist to see if she has psychological problems that are getting in the way of her performance.



Sarah

As part of Sarah’s pre-season preparation, she completes the Athlete Mentalytics assessment and reviews her report in-depth with her swing coach and parents.

She discovers that she scored very low on the Presence dimension – she has a tendency to focus on the outcome too much during competition. She realizes that she is going to need to work on staying focused on each shot by itself, and not worry as much about her overall score.

For the first few rounds of the year, she is on track to shoot a score of 70, but falls apart at the end of the round and ends up with scores of 73, 74, etc.  Sound familiar? Because Sarah knows that she has a tendency to focus too much on the result, she is more aware of this during her round. She knows that her excitement and desire to shoot 70 is distracting her as she gets close to the end of a round and in position to shoot 70.

However, knowing her mental approach in these situations, she continues to make an effort to stay focused on each shot until the round is over. She uses several mental skills she learned in her Athlete Report and developed in practice to help her stay focused.

By the end of the season, Sarah has shot the score 70 on several occasions, achieving her goal.
 
 

Sport Psychology

Sport psychology is the application of several disciplines of psychology, including social, cognitive, clinical, and physiological psychology.  Sport psychologists apply theories from these various disciplines to facilitate peak performance, enhance participation in sport, and help athletes overcome problems that impede performance.  Many of the techniques sport psychologists use are qualitative in nature, meaning they examine issues using interviews or observations to provide evaluations and solutions that the psychologist believes will resolve the issue.  Traditional sport psychology consultants using a clinical model take a more directive approach where the consultant is the expert/diagnostician (a doctor-patient model).

Helpful Links
Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) 
American Psychological Association (APA) - Sports and Performance

Organizational Psychology

Organizational psychology (aka industrial/organizational psychology) is the scientific study of individual, team, and organizational performance using psychological theories and the scientific method.  Organizational psychologists examine how attitudes, beliefs, norms, and other psychological phenomena affect behavior of individuals and groups.  Many of the problems that organizational psychologists solve include how to select, motivate, and develop members of organizations.  Organizational psychologists study both individuals and groups to maximize their performance.  Many of the techniques organizational psychologists use are quantitative in nature, meaning they examine issues using data and statistics to provide objective evaluations and solutions.  Organizational psychology consultants typically use a process consultation approach, where the consultant helps the human system help litself, rather than prescribing solutions.

Helpful Links
Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology (SIOP)
American Psychological Association (APA) - Industrial-Organizational


Testimonials

  • "Sports Mentalytics reports help coaches get to know their team and how to manage each player better. The reports are so detailed and thorough that after even a quick review, you can learn how to motivate players and help them reach their fullest potential. You can dive into coaching mental weaknesses of a new player right away. Normally it takes a long time to identify these weaknesses, let alone coach them. The information in the reports is instrumental in athlete development plans to improve weak areas and keep building on strong areas."

    Jesse Churchward
    Towson University Lacrosse 2001-2006, Captain of the 2006 Team (3-time Conference Champion and 3 NCAA Tournament appearances)
    U-15 Head Coach, True Lacrosse. 2010 - 2013
    U-15 Cead Coach and Defensive Coordinator, All Shore Lacrosse Club (Mid-West & IBLA champions - Spring 2015)
     
  • "The most interesting part of my experience was the amount of data I received just from taking a quick survey. I learned that although I have good leadership potential as well as the grit to endure lengthy practice sessions, my focus during competitions was way down. The development exercises recommended for focusing have helped me to stay in the moment and not get distracted. The Athlete Report is helpful to athletes because it can be difficult to sit back and self-analyze your performance without the proper tools and reports that Sports Mentalytics provides."

    Andrew Thielk
    PGA Apprentice/Assistant Golf Professional
    Lake Forest Golf Club, Ann Arbor, MI