Sport psychology is dubbed the “science of success” because it studies the four mental toughness skills–motivation, confidence, concentration, and emotional and physiological control–that athletes use consistently, in conjunction with training and nutrition, to give them the ultimate performance edge. Whether you are a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, coach or mind-body wellness professional, the information, tools and techniques discussed here will help your clients to enhance their performance and give them the best shot at realizing their true potential. Be sure to use them yourself–and enjoy the benefits–before you teach them!

Mental toughness techniques will help your clients to perform consistently. How? Because these techniques all take advantage of the one thing clients have 100% control over: their effort. In a sport and physical activity environment, where there are many uncontrollable factors, it’s essential for clients to focus on aspects of performance they can control. Help them understand and put into practice these principles:

  • They can control how they think about their fears.
  • They can control when they pay attention to their vision.
  • They can take the time to highlight things they did well and things they could do better next time.
  • They can practice positive self-talk.
  • They can choose the optimal times in their training to tune in or tune out of the work (i.e., when to choose association and when to opt for dissociation).
  • They can be prepared for training by selecting songs that set the stage for success and happiness.

The time is now, and the tools are ready to use. Feel free to experiment with one mental toughness technique at a time or introduce a few at once. As clients incorporate these skills into their daily physical training, you will see them reach new standards of performance and feel incredible about themselves!

To read more about teaching clients to develop mental toughness, please see “Mental Toughness Techniques for Peak Performance” in the online IDEA Library or in the June 2015 print issue of IDEA Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at (800) 999-4332, ext. 7.

Haley Perlus, PhD

With a Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise Psychology, Dr. Haley is an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado, seminar leader at top sport and fitness conferences, is the consultant to national team and Division I athletes, published author of The Ultimate Achievement Journal and The Inside Drive as well as appointed an Industry Leader by IHRSA. A former elite athlete, Whistler Cup Champion, coach, group fitness instructor and trainer, Dr. Haley is an expert at empowering individuals to achieve peak results.

Leave a Comment

When you buy something using the retail links in our content, we may earn a small commission. IDEA Health and Fitness Association does not accept money for editorial reviews. Read more about our Terms & Conditions and our Privacy Policy.