Most people have no idea what to expect out of a mental training session. Some athletes told me that they worried that I would have them laying on a couch and ask them over and over, "How does that make you feel?" While I cannot guarantee I won't say, "How does that make you feel?" I can guarantee you will not be laying on a couch recounting a dream from childhood that may or may not mean something. Like most things in sport, mental training works when you put in the effort. You get what you put in. While every session is a little different for each athlete, here are six ways to help you get the most out of your mental training session.
Keep an open mind
Having an open mind can be somewhat difficult. It is hard to let go of preconceived notions and just take things as they are rather than what you expect them to be. The benefit of an open mind is that you are able to free your mind from limiting thoughts that could possibly impede the mental training process.
View the sessions as collaborative
Wouldn’t it be great if when you arrived at the mental training session, I had all the answers and waved a magic wand and we were done? Unfortunately, that is not how it works. You are just as essential as I am to the mental training session. Some days your job is to talk and my job is to listen. Other days my job is to teach and your job is to learn. It takes both of us working together to achieve our goals for the mental training sessions.
Honesty is the best policy. My job, most of the time, is to listen. Being honest in our sessions allows us to make progress faster. As a reminder our sessions are also confidential. That means what is said here, stays here. This should hopefully give you the comfort to state what is truly on your mind.
I know I am not suppose to have favorite clients, but I am human. My favorite clients are those that ask questions. It shows me not only are they keeping an open mind, but they are also thinking critically and ready to learn. I would rather you ask instead of sitting there wondering.
Schedule sessions at a good time
This is one thing that a lot of clients tend to overlook, when should you schedule a session. Typically, I prefer clients to have sessions either once a week or every other week. Having consistent sessions allows you to start building the mental training sessions into a habit. It also allows me to stay up to date on you and your progress. If we are only seeing each other sporadically, most of the session I have to play catch up and it is hard to build rapport.
Do the work outside of sessions
If we only meet once a week, that is only 1 hour out of 168 for the week. That means in order to reach your goals, you will need to implement some work outside of our sessions. This way you are able to come back to the sessions with some real feedback. Maybe a technique really worked for you, or maybe it just did not feel right. Doing the work outside of our sessions, allows our sessions to be productive and beneficial to your needs. Some clients even go as far as writing notes throughout the week to bring them into our sessions to discuss later.