Thursday 15 October 2020

How to be your best friends in sports

 By Dr. Patrick Cohn at Peak Performance Sports, LLC.

Do you beat yourself up after competitions and only focus on your mistakes? Self criticism hurts an athlete but the effect of criticism is doubled when it comes from within the athlete’s mind.

Being self-critical is the quickest way to shatter confidence. Many times, athletes describe themselves as being their own biggest critic.

This mindset is viewed by some in a positive light meaning that this type of athlete pushes to be perfect and nothing less is sufficient. However self-criticism never pushes an athlete towards excellence.

Self-criticism post competition sends the message that you are not good enough and, no matter what you accomplish, that is not good enough either. 

A lot of athletes destroy their confidence between competitions by being too judgemental. When they don’t perform up to their expectations, they tend to beat themselves up.

Rather than focussing on your mistakes, don’t take it home with you. Leave the competition on the stage/field/rink and transition. If you’re thinking about it all night, you’re taking that performance too personally. Give yourself 30-60 minutes tops to assess your performance and then move on.

Secondly, have a post game/show routine where you start to behave a bit differently after the competition. How? First step is to focus on what you did well. For instance, ask yourself what are two things you feel you did well? It’s important to focus on the positive first. 

Step 2 is NOT focussing on your mistakes but rather learn and grow from your performance. It’s vitally important to keep your confidence from competition to competition and not destroy it afterwards. Try to do an honest, objective assessment of your performance. Use that information as a launch pad to know what you need to focus on in your next practice/prep. It’s about growing and getting better and then taking that to practice and applying that. Assess your performance in a way so that you can apply those lessons learned in future practices and competitions. That becomes an objective to improve that specific skill.

 If you need guidance on how to become your own best friend in sports, please contact me at (416) 805-6155 or email me at so I can help you transition, determine the lessons learned and strategise for optimal performance.

Friday 2 October 2020

Prepare for the Unexpected

By Lesley Timbol (Adapted from Dr. Patrick Cohn at Peak Performance Sports, LLC.)

You’re told to capitalize on your strengths and work on your weaknesses. What if you don’t know about a weakness until it happens? What if that happens during a competition? How do you prepare for that? How do you react when the unexpected happens?

Does adversity put a damper on achieving your athletic goals or does it motivate you to find another way to keep momentum moving forward?

Not expecting speed bumps, roadblocks and obstacles is unrealistic. You shouldn't go through the season expecting the worst, but you need to be mentally flexible to handle the adversity when it unexpectedly pops up.

A popular saying is "expect the unexpected" but it is more important to be prepared for the unexpected.

As long as you’re an athlete, you will face adversity. Gymnasts will fall in major competitions, softball and baseball players will suffer injuries, soccer goalies will give up last minute goals, hockey players will be caught out of position, bodybuilders will sabotage their diet or get injured.

Being prepared to act when the unexpected happens takes resilience, confidence, and mental toughness. How can you prepare for the unexpected?

Regardless of your sport, how do you react when things don’t go as planned? Can you recover quickly? Do you regroup or do you dwell on what is going “wrong”?

Like many things, recovering or regrouping is a skill that needs to be practised. Rather than “hoping for the best” and that everything goes optimally from every angle, accept this is a rarity. In other words, expect shit will happen. You don’t know what shit that will be but expect it. 

And then you adapt. Like a chameleon changing to fit into his environment, be open to adapt to whatever changes have presented themselves. Accept there will be times you will struggle but be aware that the struggle isn’t the issue, it’s how quickly you recover from the struggle that’s important.

Do you have confidence in your preparation for your competition or game? Do a quick mental recap of what you did to prepare for this moment. Now how are you going to strike back? What are you going to do right now to regain control of the situation?

With practice, you can develop some “go to” actions to deal with unexpected adversities. Start by mentally formulating some hypothetical situations. Ask yourself how mentally tough athletes would respond in such challenging situations. What does that look like and how can you practise that skill? Quite often, these skills are applicable to a variety of situations which will enable you to move forward towards your athletic objective regardless of the obstacle.

If you need guidance on how to develop mental toughness and mental preparedness, please contact me at (416) 805-6155 or email me at so I can help provide you with the boost needed to meet and overcome the unexpected.