Developing Mental Skills in Athletes

by Ben Fletcher MS, CSCS, FMS
NSCA Coach August 2018
Vol 5, Issue 1

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Strength and conditioning professionals should consider mental skills training when creating a training program to maximize performance. Developing mental skills is a very long and challenging process; however, the benefits are worth it. Utilizing these skills will put the athlete in a position to succeed in sport, as well as life.

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This article originally appeared in NSCA Coach, a quarterly publication for NSCA Members that provides valuable takeaways for every level of strength and conditioning coach. You can find scientifically based articles specific to a wide variety of your athletes’ needs with Nutrition, Programming, and Youth columns. Read more articles from NSCA Coach »

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References 

1. Balyi, I, Way, R, and Higgs, C. Long-term Athlete Development. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 2013.

2. Hashim, H. The effect of progressive muscle relaxation on young soccer players’ mood states. Asian Journal of Sports Medicine 2(2): 99-105, 2011.

3. Katherine, J. Mental skill training for children and youth athletes. The Journal of Excellence (7): 67-75, 2002.

4. Lesyk, JJ. The nine mental skills of successful athletes. The Ohio Center of Sport Psychology. 1998. Retrieved online 2017 from https://www.sportpsych.org/nine-mental-skills-overview.

5. MacNeill, K, Benz, L, Brown, M, Kabush, D, and Berg, F. Mental fitness for long-term athlete development. Canadian Sport for Life 2013. Retrieved 2017 from http://sportforlife.ca/portfolio-view/mental-fitness-for-ltad. 

6. Marcora, S, Staiano, W, and Manning, V. Mental fatigue impairs physical performance in humans. Journal of Applied Physiology 106: 857-864, 2009.

7. Rigsby, P, Berry, N. The Definitive Guide to Youth Athletic Strength, Conditioning, and Performance. Orlando, FL: Celebrity Press; 2012.

8. Smith, RE, and Smoll, FL. Sport Psychology for Youth Coaches: Developing Champions in Sports and Life. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, Inc.; 2012. 

9. Weiss, RM. Motivating kids in physical activity. President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport Research Digest 3(11): 3-10, 2000.

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Coaching Education from West Virginia University. He earned his Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®) certification through the Nati...

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