DESIGNED FOR DEVELOPMENTUnlike other sport psychology and mental skills assessments on the market (which were designed for scouting or identifying future team members), our self-evaluation 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 a detailed, quantitative self-evaluation of critical mental dimensions for athletic performance. Our proprietary Athletic MindSET were developed and validated with the latest standards in psychometrics and psychological theories of performance.
ATHLETE SELF-EVALUATIONThe Athletic MindSET 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.
TEAM ASSESSMENTThe 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.
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.
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-AWARENESSMost 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 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.