top of page

Self-Control = Performance Control

Mindset Made Simple Tip #53 - To watch or listen click HERE.

I love sports. Always have. Always will.

I asked for football shoes for my third birthday. (And my mom was shocked when I told her I wanted to be a coach when I was 13….)

Like you, I don’t love everything about sports. Sport isn’t life.

But sport does reflect life in so many ways.

To me, that has always been the best part of coaching. The things we teach in competition – and especially in mental performance training - translate to everyday life.

Sports give us a bazillion opportunities to utilize mental training tools due to the pressures and challenges athletes face with each possession or tick of the clock.

But the real win is when we begin to realize that what we learn in competition - particularly the mental tools we learn - can help us be better at everything we do!

As I had the opportunity to watch one of the teams I work with in action this weekend, I was thinking about the session we had a few days prior and the lessons we discussed. We first discussed that TO CONTROL OUR PERFORMANCE WE MUST FIRST CONTROL OURSELVES!

As I watched, I witnessed an unraveling of composure right in front of my eyes.

We have all been there before. One mistake turns into a long inning, a double bogie, a quick goal or 10 points in 15 seconds.

As I continued to watch, I witnessed a confidence wain, very little to no communication and a general lack of knowing what to do.

All of the sudden, basic fundamentals became as hard to do as summiting Mt. Everest.

We see this in our everyday lives as well.

One mistake leads to frustration, rumination and more lackluster performance.

What do we do to avoid one mistake after another?

It is actually pretty simple!


Before we can stop the chaos around us, we MUST STOP OURSELVES.

To gain control of what is going on around us, we MUST GAIN CONTROL OF OURSELVES.

Unfortunately, when mistake #1 happens, we start to focus on things we can’t control or things that really don’t matter!

We feel like we need to do more…and move faster.


To avoid this, we must have a plan. It can be the simplest plan ever


Literally – stand there – even if it is just for 2 seconds. Coaches know when their team needs a time out. We need to know when we need a time out!


We have talked about the benefits of breathing many times. Even ONE deep breath changes the function of our mind and body!


Normally, the next best step is to do what we called in our practices at Akron – OTL – OBSERVE THE LANDSCAPE.

Why is it important to OTL?

OTL forces us out of our own heads.

When mistakes happen, we automatically go deep into our own thoughts…and most of those thoughts are EXTREMELY NON-PRODUCTIVE…and self-defeating.

The STOP and OTL allow us to regroup and reset. The teams I work with have specific reset, refocus and regroup habits and processes. But a simple STOP is where it all begins!

If you don’t think those you lead are self-aware enough to make this STOP on their own, set up parameters on when a STOP must happen so the circus does not come to town!

At CSU, when these situations presented themselves, our catcher would stand in front of the plate, raise her hands above her head with her wrists crossed. She would stand there until everyone removed their heads from you-know-where and OTL. They then assumed the same hands above their heads position. Once everyone was present, the catcher counted to three and everyone moved brought their hands down simultaneously and slapped their gloves in front of their belt buckles.

It was a simple act that forced EVERYONE to STOP and be PRESENT!

No matter where you are or what you do, you can have a plan like this one to press pause, gain control and make the next step a positive one!

One of the best lessons we can learn is that we may not always be able to control what goes on around us, but WE CAN ALWAYS CONTROL HOW WE REACT.

The first step to a positive reaction is to be present. And to do that, sometimes we just need to STOP!

And that is the lesson we will be revisiting…and making a plan to implement this week with the team that fell into the mistake rabbit hole!

I am certain it will help them both on and off the field!

Have a great week!


P.S. As you plan for 2021-22, don’t leave mental performance to chance. Let me help you implement a plan as detailed as your daily practice plan. Let’s set up a time to talk about how we can build your team’s mental toughness. Give me a call or text at 234-206-0946 or send me an email at


bottom of page