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MST Project

Kylee McPhedrain/300225026

Prepared for: Laura Farres


SPSC 4231: 001
Douglas College
Due: Feb 21 2017
Model of Mental Excellence

I have witnessed mental performance have a large impact in my sport experience,


when I created my model it was in relation to playing soccer. In soccer I have definitely
experienced those games where I am “on” and those games where I am “off”. My consistency
of play is greatly a mental matter. To create my model I chose factors that I felt had the
largest impact on my performance. All 7 factors are important and without one at least one
other factor would fall apart. By incorporating this model a consistency in a higher level of
performance will be achieve as well as a greater enjoyment in the sport.

1. Commitment/motivation
​ Having a goal to achieve and being committed and having the motivation to get there.

Every athlete should have a goal they are trying to achieve. By having this goal they
now must commit to getting there. This may include training, practice, competitions, diet etc.
Being committed and motivated to reach their goal is crucial for their success. To maintain
motivation it is importance the goal is challenging enough that the athlete will always be
pushing themselves to their full potential, however it must realistic so they don’t give up
before they are even close. Commitment and motivation are what will allow the athlete to
push themselves to achieve something greater even through the challenging times or failures.

2. Attitude
​Maintaining a positive and driven attitude.

Attitude plays a large role in what a player may get out of a practice or competition
and how hard they are going to work. A driven attitude will allow the athlete to assess their
failures and see how they can improve and learn from it. Any outcome can be used to better
the player and is seen in a positive manner. This way the athlete does not get down on their
ability and feel discourage. Even when they are down in a game they will continue to keep a
consistent work ethic throughout the game. Commitment will fail without a good attitude.

3. Confidence
The person's belief in themself.

An athlete confidence in their own ability can greatly affect their performance.
Having confidence allows the athlete to take risk and go through failure but not doubt their
ability to achieve their goal. They are aware of the potential they could reach and their view
is not easily altered by one performance or the comments of those around them. This will
prevent them from playing “safe” or being nervous and choking during competition. Positive
self talk and imagery can be used to help an athlete with maintaining confidence.

4. Focus
Fully focusing on what is important to the players performance.

A player should have all their attentions on factors that are going to directly affect
their performance in that moment. It is important for an athlete to chose what they are
thinking about and push aside thoughts that are not going to benefit them in that moment.
They can direct their focus in that moment to what they need to be doing, the pass they need
to make or the positioning of the opposing team's defence. This helps the player to be in the
here and now and be fully attentive.

5. External factors
Accommodating to the uncontrollable factors.

In sport there are many factors that are out of the athletes control. Being able to
accommodate to these factor and have a minimal impact on performance is essential. External
factors contributes greatly to focus as well. In a game you have officials, fans, opposing
teams and many factors that are out of the athlete control. If these factors greatly affect the
player's performance they will be very inconsistent from competition to competition. It is
important for players to be able to adapt to different circumstances and feel like they are in
control of their performance. Confidence can also increase an athlete's ability to
accommodate to these external factors.

6. Maintaining emotions
The ability to control your emotions and not affect your play.

Entering into a competition there could be many factors affecting the athletes
emotions. These could be issues in a relationship, a big test, problems at work and many
others. These things can not be controlled but the athlete should learn how to control the
emotions that come with them. It is necessary to learn how to put these things aside and come
to the rink in a mind set ready to win the game. These distractions will take the focus away
from what is importance and may also lead the athlete to push aside their commitment to the
team and lack motivation. Additionally, emotions can change within the competition. It may
be from a comment from a coach or player, the cheering of the fans or the call of an official.
If a player is easily upset or angered it may throw off their game and prevent them from
performing at their top level. Positive self talk can help maintain one's emotions and directing
attention onto the game.

7. Support System
Knowing the support and encouragement of people.

It is very important for an athlete to know they are not doing this alone. Having a
group of people that are there to encourage and support the athlete is crucial in times when
the athlete’s own ability is failing. It will help them to push that extra step. Reminding
themselves of these people can help to re-motivate and refocus the athletes. They could hear
their parents cheering for them in their head or repeat the words the coach had said to
encourage them earlier. A support system will help them in the 6 others areas.
Model of Mental Excellence
Assessments:

Performance Profiling Summary


The Performance Profiling assessment has made me aware that my strengths are
having a positive and determined attitude with the help of using positive self talk, being able
to adapt to various situations and knowing I have a strong support system. I try to stay
positive throughout the competition regardless of the score, calls made by the ref, comments
from the opposing team or external factors that are out of my control. However, I only gave
myself an 8 because my attitude can be affected by my own team making negative comments
toward me. Positive self talk is a skill I use that helps me stay positive and focused on what is
important. Short statements of encouragement or quick reminders can go a long way.
Statements like "You got this" or "You've done it before, so you can do it again" I will say in
my head to keep me positive. Being able to adapt to the external environment, these are also
factors that are out of my control so I do not direct a lot of attention to. I try to make the most
of what we have whether that's what players come or how many show up or the condition of
the field. Being able to adapt well to things like these gives me a more consistent
performance. Lastly, the fundamental of a team that is connected and has a strong level of
trust goes a long way for me. I am more motivated when I know I am not just doing it for
myself but my team also needs me and I have the support of those around me.
When it comes to my weaknesses, confidence and my ability to maintain my emotions
stand out. My confidence when playing soccer is not as high as it used to be. I took a few
years off and now feel slower, less skillful and less confident in my ability to execute. Both
my confidence and my ability to maintain my emotions can be affected by negative
comments from my teammates or coach. I like to stay positive throughout the game so I do
my best to ignore or redirect the focus of my teammates when they are complaining about the
refs or the other team. However, if it becomes over bearing it will affect my emotions and
bring down my level of play.

Interview Summary
Strong points in my mental performance was my ability to stay positive and
determined. Positive self talk was used to maintain a positive state. This is important as I
stated “I am not one of those players who can play well when I am angry or upset.” Outside
uncontrollable factors are also given little attention to minimize the effect they have on my
performance. However, I struggled when it comes to teammates or my coach getting upset
with me. I will feel discouraged and it may also upset me. I will lack confidence and play
with a sense of fear of failing. This is also the factor that leads to the greatest shift in my
emotions. Being focused and using positive self talk could help me to decrease the negative
effect comments from others have. Lastly, I recognized I frequently mentioned the
importance of a pre-game warm up allowing me to direct my focus and obtain optimal
arousal levels.

Mental Toughness Questionnaire Summary


My results from this questionnaire were pretty low 18/30. Motivation is the column I
got my lowest scoring 2/6. I believe this is from my shift from playing competitive sport to
now just playing recreational sport where it has become less of a priority in my life. My focus
entering the season was to stay active and be social at the same time. For this reason clear
goals of what I specifically wanted to achieve throughout the season were never determined.
Concentration and rebound ability were also low 3/6. Coaches yelling at me, being easily
distracted and having trouble focusing were areas I struggled. Being less confident in soccer
also leads to a decreased ability for me to get past my mistakes. This is from coming back
after taking many years off and recognizing a decrease in performance. However, I excelled
when it came to playing under pressure and is something I often thrived in, on all sports team.
The worst feeling for me is sitting off in those last minutes of a close game.

Self Confidence Scale Summary


​I scored 86 out of 117 on the scale. Common themes were a lack of confidence in my
skills and my ability to execute. Additionally, I had little confidence in my ability to stay
focused and to overcome mistakes. I believe this is because I am just getting back in the sport
so and have recognized a decrease in my ability since I last played. However, my confidence
was the highest when it came to playing under pressure.

Assessments Summary Overview

From all these assessments I feel like I can recognize my weakness and strength when
it comes to mental skills. From both the Mental toughness questionnaire and the self
confidence scale I recognize that one of my strengths is playing under pressure. I enjoy
playing in high risk games and I am able to maintain an optimal arousal level. Staying
positive and determined were two characteristics that stood out from the interview and the
personal profiling assessment. I am not likely to get distracted by the environment conditions,
calls made by the ref, or the opposing team. Mental skills I often use to help me are positive
self talk, using statements such as “battle hard, you can do it!” and a pre game warm up.
My weakness seen throughout the studies is my confidence, handling my emotions
and directing my focus. I lack confidence when it comes to skill execution and belief in my
own ability. Handling my emotion is the most challenging when I have to manage negative
comments from my coach or teammates. Being yelled at can easily throw me off my game.
Lastly I struggle with directing my focus onto the competition. A pre-game warm up has been
shown to positively benefit my performance but needs to have more consistency within it.
Attentional cues could also help and are used but not frequently. Utilizing my strengths and
overcoming my weaknesses could help me achieve a greater consistency in my performance
level.
Objective for program:
I have chosen the mindfulness program. This program is primarily in the educational
phase understanding mindfulness and strategies that can be used to improve mindfulness. The
aim of this program is to increase my ability to focus on the present. By being aware and able
to direct my focus, I believe this will not only help me with attentional control but also with
confidence and handling my emotions. I will focus on turning my attention to positive and
effective thought rather than destructive thoughts that could decrease my confidence or upset
me. By the end of the six week program I should be efficient at directing my focus and
knowing how to control my attention. I will therefore be more aware and concentrated.

Goals:
1. Know 2 mindfulness activity that I can perform to increase focus by the end of the
program.
2. Have a specific attentional cue that is used at least once per day to direct focus by the
end of the program.
3. Decrease the amount of unrelated thoughts in a soccer game - measure by recording in
journal throughout program.

Week 1:
Mindful Breathing:
Every other day take a few minutes (5min) to calm and clear your mind. Direct all focus on
inhaling and exhaling, taking deep breaths. Journal challenges you faced and feelings before
and after.

Week 2&3:
Mindful Activity:
Every other day pick a short activity you are doing on your own and monitor thoughts. Direct
all attention on that activity. Record any distracted thoughts that arose in a journal. Record on
a scale of 1-5 how distracted you were and your feelings at that time.
Breathing Focal Point Activity:
Once a week.
Week one I did pretty good at staying on top of my plan and it helped that it had a low
commitment level to ease into it. I felt like it was helpful and it has made me aware of what
distracts me and what overwhelms me. I enjoyed the technique (5 min Mindful Breathing)
and that it was quick and simple. I am looking forward to the next week and building onto
this program.
Week two seemed to be a crazy week so it was a bit challenging to complete the tasks. This
week I was feeling pretty stressed and anxious. I decided to do the Breathing Focal Point
Activity during a time when I was having trouble focusing and felt anxious. I noticed that my
breathing did slow after the session and I did feel a bit more relaxed. However, I struggled
with the mindful activity, I only attempted to do it twice. Once while I was journaling and
once while I was reading. I was highly distracted and felt like there was constantly a million
things going on in my mind so I found it challenging to be focused and direct all my attention
to one thing. While reading I still had to go back a reread as I realized I wasn’t actually
registering what I had read. I did use one of my techniques from the week before just taking 5
min in a quiet place to clear my mind and focus on my breathing and it did help a bit but I
think this technique could become more effective with practice.
Week 3 & 4:
Try it out:
Every other day recognize thoughts in a situation; at practice, talking to a friend, etc. What
unrelated thoughts entered your mind. Pick an attentional cue (verbal, visual or physical) to
redirect focus. Record the cue you chose to use and its effectiveness on a scale from 1-5
Awareness of thoughts:
Twice a week

Week 5&6
Reflect on journal and recognize feelings where it was hard to maintain attention. Pick the
attentional cue that worked the best and use that for the rest of the program.
Try it out- set attentional cue:
Every other day recognize thoughts in a situation; at practice, talking to a friend, etc. What
unrelated thoughts entered your mind. Use the chosen attentional cue if necessary. Record the
cues effectiveness on a scale from 1-5 and your feelings in that situation.
Pick between breathing focal point activity and awareness of thoughts perform twice a week
I have found that I still get distracted easily and my thoughts do wonder but I am better at
getting them back on focus. “Be here now” is a verbal cue to me saying I need to give the
person I am talking to or whatever I am doing my full attention and be in the moment. It is
something I used to use and now have just reinforced it and have gotten used to using it
again. I have found that it helps and is a quick reminder that brings back my focus. I only
completed the awareness of thought exercise once this week. I find it helpful in setting
priorities and focusing on what is important in that moment.
Additional comments: Activities can be implemented at anytime throughout the day.

Mindful Breathing:
Go to a quiet place for 5 min and close your eyes. Focus on taking deep breaths and clearing
your mind of any distractions.

Challenges faced: Feelings before Feelings after:


Mindful Activity:
Chose activity you are doing by yourself. Monitor thoughts and direct them all on to your
specific task. Record any distracted thoughts that arose in a journal. Record on a scale of 1-5
how distracted you were and your feelings at that time.

Activity: ___________________________
Distracted thoughts:
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
Feelings:
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________

Attention Scale: Very distracted 1 2 3 4 5 Very Focused

Breathing Focal Point Activity:

1. Activity: Set a timer for 8 minutes. Get into a comfortable position in your chair.
Gently allow your eyes to close. Take a long deep inhalation that sweeps up your
current focus, thoughts, and concerns and hold it for a moment. Then gently and
slowly “sigh” as you release your breath. One more time. Deep breath. Release any
remaining tension. Start your timer.
2. Notice if you are controlling your breathing (thinking too much about breathing). If
so, release control and just let yourself breath. Relax
3. Notice the place in your body where you are most aware of the sensation of breathing.
It may be your chest, diaphragm, or nostrils. There is no “right” place
4. Gently direct your attention to that place. We call it the “anchor point”.
5. With your attention on the anchor point, observe the natural rise and fall of the breath.
Try to view this not as “your breath” but as “the breath”.
6. Allow…allow…allow. There’s no need to become involved or figure anything out,
just allow this space to follow your breath and attend to your anchor point.
7. Thinking? No problem. Simply notice this. Gently return to your anchor point, your
breath
8. Try to follow just one full in-and-out cycle of breath. If you can, then follow another.
If you can’t, fine. Just start over.
9. Frustration? Irritation? Just notice these sensations. And return to your anchor point.
10. Continue this way. Simply observe the natural cycle of breath at your anchor point.
11. Can you follow just one breath?
12. Do this until your timer sounds.
Try it out (set attentional cues):
Chose a specific attentional cue to consistently use. Recognize thoughts in a situation; at
practice, talking to a friend, etc. What unrelated thoughts entered your mind. Use the chosen
attentional cue if necessary. Record the cues effectiveness on a scale from 1-5 and your
feelings in that situation.

Activity:_________________
Chosen Cues________________
Cue effectiveness: not very 1 2 3 4 5 6 very
Unrelated thoughts:
___________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________

Awareness of Thoughts
Activity: Set a timer for 8 minutes. Get into a comfortable position in your chair. Gently
allow your eyes to close. Take a long deep inhalation that sweeps up your current focus,
thoughts, and concerns and hold it for a moment. Then gently and slowly “sigh” as you
release your breath. One more time. Deep breath. Release any remaining tension. Start your
timer.

● Relax and allow your mind to settle


● A thought arises. It is most likely about the past or the future
● Label the thought either “past” or “future”
● Allow the thought to go it’s own way and do it’s dance
● As the thought moves off, notice the space around it. Silent. Still. Here. Now
● Surrender into this silence
● Another thought arises. Don’t resist it. Again, label it “past” or “future”
● Is your mind wandering off into thoughts, body sensations, or emotions? No problem.
Just notice them and allow them to float away, like clouds in boundless sky
● Allow thoughts, allow silence, allow everything
● Do this until your timer sounds.
Evaluation

What techniques appeared to work best?

Was enough time allotted to practice the skills?

What challenges did you face in trying to do this program?

Should anything be added to or deleted from the program?

What were the major strengths and weakness of the program?

Did you see the program benefit your performance in a positive way?

What are you taking away from this program?

How was the flow of the program/ schedule?

Do you feel prepared to carry out these skills in everyday life?

What could have made this program more effective?

Complete confidence scale and mental toughness assessment to compare results to the
beginning of the program.
Appendices:

Recovery Monitoring Questionnaire: Complete week 1,3,5

Complete this questionnaire each week and flag any areas that might need additional
attention.

Second

What were your goals last week?

Did you accomplish your goals last week?

What were you major sources of stress last week?

What were your major sources of enjoyment last week?

How was your time management last week?


Out of control 0-----1-----2-----3-----4-----5-----6 Planned to the second

How much effort was required to complete your training?


Excessive effort 0-----1-----2-----3-----4-----5-----6 Hardly any effort

How recovered did you feel prior to the practice or competition last week?
Not recovered 0-----1-----2-----3-----4-----5-----6 Energized and recharged

How successful were you at rest and recovery activities?


Not successful 0-----1-----2-----3-----4-----5-----6 Successful

How satisfied and relaxed were you before sleep last week?
Restless 0-----1-----2-----3-----4-----5-----6 No trouble getting to
sleep

How confident were you regarding the achievement of your goals?


Not confident 0-----1-----2-----3-----4-----5-----6 Extremely confident

How busy was your school/work/family life last week?


Pulling my hair out 0-----1-----2-----3-----4-----5-----6 Lots of free time
What did you do well last week?

In what areas would you like to improve?

What was your highlight(s) last week?

What would you like more often from your coach/training sessions?
ATHLETE JOURNAL FOR PRACTICE: Complete week 2,4,6
Short term goal:

Major events of my day:

How did I sleep last night?


q Excellent q Good q Average q Poor

How relaxed does my body feel? (1 Very relaxed; 2 Medium; 3 Very tense)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Daily goal:

Plan for achieving this goal:

EVALUATION
· Did I achieve my goal? (Be specific)

· How did I feel during practice?

· What was I saying to myself during practice?

Did I lose focus at any point during practice? If yes, describe briefly what happened.

How would I rate my performance today?( 1 Weak, 5 Medium, 10 Very Strong)

Technically: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Physically: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentally: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Did I incorporate any mental training into practice? If yes, what, and did it work? If not,
where could I incorporate it?

What could I improve/change/do to enhance my performance


Interview Questions

1. Describe a time when you performed your best.


a. What were you thinking and feeling?
b. How were you behaving?
c. What factors do you think contributed to this performance?
2. Describe a time when you performed your worst.
a. What were you thinking and feeling?
b. How were you behaving?
c. What factors do you think contributed to this performance?
3. What is the difference between these 2 performances for you? hy do you think they were
so different?

4. What do you think you need to do to perform at your best?

5. What are your biggest challenges and distractions to your performing at your best?

6. When you are struggling or lose focus during a performance, what do you do to try and
get yourself back on track? Is it effective?

7. What role do others play in your performance?


a. What do you need from others to perform at your best?
b. What things do others do that trigger you or take away from your performance?

8. What would you consider your mental strengths to be?

9. What would you consider your mental weaknesses to be?

10. If could improve one area related to your mental toughness, what would it be and why?
Interview Data:
When I am playing my best I recognized I talked about common themes such as
feeling confident, having the optimal arousal level and having very directed focus.
Confidence for me is believing in my own ability and not being easily upset by mistakes or
comments from those around me. Optimal arousal for me is around the middle of the inverted
“U” chart “I cannot be too calm or to nervous that I feel tense”. To achieve this optimal level
it is important for me to complete a pre-game routine, increasing heart rate, connecting with
my teammates and directing attention onto the game. Directed focus is when I feel very
present and my attention is only on things that will positively affect my performance. This
can be achieved through the use of a pre-game warm up, and attentional cues.
Strategies I used to help me obtain optimal performance are a strong support system
to encourage me and increase my motivation when I began to feel discouraged. This comes
through teammates, coaches, family and friends. Another strategy I use frequently is positive
self talk, “I am not one of those players who can play well when I am angry or upset”. To
avoid being angry or upset positive self talk helps me to look at the good side of things and
keep me determine and at a steady mental state until the end.
When I am performing my best “I feel quick, smooth, agile and confident in my
ability to execute”. I am more willing to take risks and seek out challenge. I have a high
energy level and feel very determine no matter what the score is or how much time is left in
the game. Therefore I would consider my strengths to be positivity and determination,
limiting the effects uncontrollable factors have on my performance.
When I played my worst it is often because I am not focused, feel apathetic toward
the competition and have low energy. This is most often due to things going on outside of the
sport. It could be from being stressed with school and work or a family or friend situation.
When I am distracted I have “less motivation and drive”. I won't be as aware on the field to
make smart plays or find open space. Missing or not utilizing pre-game warm up can also
lead to a distracted focus.
When I am having an off performance “I feel slow, choppy and distracted”. My
emotions are also more easily affected by comments from my teammates or coach. I will get
discourage more quickly from making mistakes and it will be harder for me to recover from
these failures. Due to my lack of focus it is also harder for me to use mental skills such as
positive self talk or attentional cues to maintain my mental state. Ultimately I am not
enjoying being on the field as much and my performance is greatly decreased.
From this interview I have recognized mental skills I utilize the most are pre-game
warm up, positive self talk and attentional cues. On regular performance days these are
natural and easy for me to implement and only with lots of outside distractions do they get
forgotten. These skill I chose to use because they are quick and easy to apply at a rec level.
Furthermore, I chose these skills because they help me in areas where I struggle such as
confidence, maintaining emotions and focus. Although, I do recognize these do contribute to
a stronger performance I think these can be used even more effectively with frequency and
consistency.