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Beyond the Hype: Unveiling Effective Mental Training for Athletes

Updated: Apr 11

Athletes brain. Mental training. Mind coach.
Visualization, a magic switch or powerful tool?

Mental training for athletes is a hot topic, with countless articles touting its benefits. But for coaches, the question remains: how do you actually teach it effectively?

Ken Baum, a renowned sports psychology expert with over 40 years of experience working with top athletes, offers three key insights to help you elevate your coaching:

1. Mastering Visualization: Forget the notion of visualization as a magic switch. Effective visualization is a gradual process that combines two techniques:

  • Associated Visualization: Athletes "see" themselves performing the skill perfectly, experiencing the sights, sounds, and emotions of success.

  • Dissociated Visualization: Athletes view themselves from an external perspective, observing their ideal performance with a focus on technique.

The combination of these methods, what Ken Baum calls the "learning and owning combination," strengthens mental rehearsal and promotes peak performance.

2. The Power of Performance Talk: Ditch the generic "positive thinking" mantras! Performance Talk, a concept developed by Ken Baum, focuses on action-oriented statements that guide athletes' minds towards specific positive behaviors.

For example, A batter is nervous and eager, swinging at bad pitches early. instead of "Stay positive you can hit this guy," replace it with "I hit this guy because I wait."

Performance Talk helps athletes avoid negativity while providing constructive direction for success.

3. Breathing for Performance: We all know breathing is vital, but proper breathing techniques are often overlooked.

Mastering belly breathing is crucial for athletes. Here's a practical approach:

  • Activate the Belly: Start with short, forceful inhales, expanding the belly rather than the chest. Exhale by drawing the stomach "in" towards the spine (not literally sucking it in, but creating that sensation). This activates the diaphragm and prepares it for deep breathing.

  • Calm or Power: Depending on the situation, adjust your breathing. For power, take faster, deeper breaths through the belly. For calmness, slow down your breaths and focus on a longer, controlled exhale.

By incorporating these techniques, you can equip your athletes with powerful mental tools for success.

The Mental Edge Book. Become Mental Training Certified Coach. Ken Baum Mental Edge
Get Certified with a Sports Psychology Legend

Want to take your coaching to the next level and make a lasting impact? 

The Ken Baum Mental Edge Certification Program is designed for coaches, trainers, and health professionals like you who want to elevate their skills and results.

This comprehensive program teaches you all the techniques mentioned above, and many more, to empower your athletes, patients, clients, or teams to achieve peak performance.

Becoming a certified Ken Baum Mental Edge Coach is a rewarding path that can lead to a fulfilling career as a full-time coach or a lucrative source of supplemental income.

Ready to unlock the champion within your athletes? Click here to learn more about the next Ken Baum Mental Edge Certification Program taking place May 16-19, 20214 in Dana Point California.

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