How to Improve the Mental Part of the Game?
As athletes perfect their abilities to play their chosen game they get to the point where the mental part of the game becomes the key part of the game that will determine whether they will just good or great. Certainly physical abilities are an important part of an athlete's succeeding, but the athlete's ability to think quickly, effectively and decisively under the pressure of the game becomes more and more important as he moves into college and professional sports. Some athletes develop these thinking abilities and some don't and for the most part coaches and trainers don't why some do and some don't. Performing under extreme pressure is what is so crucial in competitive sports. The mental part of the game has been a black box and no one has effectively deciphered it until now.
We have learned from cognitive science what the critical basic thinking skills are that allow athletes to perform at their best when they are under intense pressure. When these basic thinking skills are most efficient athletic performance improves and is maintained at a high level even during times intense pressure. We have found this to be true no matter what the athletic endeavor is. We have even been able to improve the performance of U.S. Marines when they are under the intense pressure of training and combat. You can't get much more intense than that.
Frequently you will see highly skilled athletes have their games fall apart under the intense pressure of the game. This does not have to happen. With the proper mental training, they will be able to stay focused and perform at their highest level even in the most intense contests or games. Given the major investments that individuals, families, coaches, teams, agents and owners make it would seem wise to invest a little more into the crucial mental skills required to be the best.
At the American Institute we have found that we can not only improve professional athletes abilities and performance under pressure, but business people have improved their golf, tennis, other sports performances as well as they get trained cognitively in the effort to improve their business success.