Underperforming is a common experience in athletes. The pressure to perform when it really matters may provoke emotions that sabotage our best learned skills. We may be technically and physically well prepared, but are we mentally well coached? Sound sport psychology strategies are geared to assist athletes to navigate the emotional components related to a person’s performance. Training in the use of sound mental skill strategies may help us achieve our peak performance during competition.Dr. Alex Diaz, founder of Sports Mental EdgeTM (SME), has been working with clients for about 20 years by helping them discover their true potential. Sports Mental EdgeTM offers an introductory session where you can discuss your goals and challenges in a nonjudgmental friendly forum. Sessions are available at SME’s office in Westchester County, NY, on Skype, and Goggle Plus. Packages range from three to six sessions.
Programs are custom tailored to accommodate your specific needs. Whether you meet Dr. Diaz at his office or at your preferred location, Dr. Diaz will be there to help you realize your goal. In person, private sessions are typically one to three times a week. Additional sessions are offered via Skype, Google Plus or your preferred social media.
Dr. Diaz also works with team of all sizes, during these sessions emphasis is placed on improved understanding of team dynamics. Sessions are held at sports facilities, schools, fields, or wherever practice is taking place. Coaches will also benefit from these sessions as they learn how to apply the science of sport psychology. When working with young athletes the Sports Mental Edge Team Concept encourages the participation of parents. Parents are an integral part of a young athlete’s development.
C.O.S.A. – A Four-Step Approach©
This is the time to identify your strengths, weakness and how your mental approach influences your current level of successes and failures. Do you come mentally prepared before competing? Are you able to remain focused regardless of how you are performing? Do you get distracted by your own thoughts? How do you manage pressure situations? This is where we start. We work together to assess your current and past performances to identify your mental preparations and create a baseline to guide us in our work. My goal is to help you to look at your strengths and weakness and to formulate a plan of action where you will engage in a positive mindset and increase your level of confidence.
We design short and long term goals putting emphasis on the process leading to reaching your goals. We will work on identifying factors that you can vs. can’t control while you perform. We often become mentally distracted by factors that are beyond our control, which often lead to losing focus. As we design your objectives, it is important that we clarify long from short term goals to measure progress.
What we say to ourselves and how we feel (such as butterflies in the stomach, sweaty palms, or racing heart beats) are verbal and non-verbal communications that are triggered by pressure situations. The goal is not to get rid of them, but actually to become aware of them in order to make educated decisions that help you regain focus. Together, we discuss different strategies geared to prepare you to become more aware of these responses and use mental strategies that will help you deal with these verbal and sensory distractions. By using empowering self-statements, thinking positively, and focusing in the present moment a natural progression of mental toughness starts to develop. Whether we meet at my office, on a court, field, or course, the priority is to continue strengthening your mental skills.
Progressive adjustments are the focus of achieving your goals. As you meet your goals, your level of confidence and trust in your own abilities will naturally increase. We use this last phase to anchor your achievements. It is important to remember that mental toughness is rooted in consistency and commitment to achieving your goals.