The Center for Performance Psychology offers free online resources to coaches, parents, athletes, and peak performers. In addition to an ongoing series of articles and coaching resources, the Center’s staff works with teams and coaches to develop performance plans on goal setting, effective thinking habits, motivation, coach-athlete communication, imagery, emotional self-regulation, focus and concentration habits, leadership development, effective sport parenting, healthy team dynamics, etc.
Explore the links on this page for the latest resources from the Center for Performance Psychology.
- Best Practices for Cognitive Development: Vision, Challenge and Support
A fear within the sport of football that Dr. Dave Yukelson has is of overbearing coaches that hurt their kids’ development. They focus on things like winning at all costs and being tough, and oftentimes this leads to the kids having less fun. It hurts the development of their physical and mental skills and can potentially turn them off to the sport altogether.
- Coaches and parents: Building Healthy Athletes
Relationships with Parents can be a major challenge for youth coaches. While most experts agree that fun should be the objective of youth sports, a team cannot align with every stakeholder’s goals and objectives.
- Coaching and Relationship Excellence
Coaches play a critical role in the development of youth athletes. Coaches not only teach the technical and tactical skills of a sport, but help athletes grow psychologically, sociologically, physically, and mentally.
- Preventing Burnouts in Youth Athletics
A common theme in the sport and performance psychology literature for youth athletics is to stress keeping athletes interested, involved, and having fun. While it is important to understand the areas in which coaches need to excel, it is not useful unless coaches are given the tools to succeed.
- Proficiency and Performance: How Habits Make or Break Us
Each of us has experienced a time when we’ve reached a state of total, relaxed concentration and effortlessness in a physical or mental endeavor. This is reaching “the Zone,” and once we’ve been there, we want to go back. Reaching “the Zone” on demand, and being able to stay there for extended periods of time, is an important step toward our ultimate goal of achievable and consistent peak performance.
- Competition Preparation Profile
These questions are designed to help you reflect on your competitive experiences over the last few seasons and develop your Competition Preparation Plan.
Confidence is a choice. What is it, where does it come from, and how can you develop more confidence?
- Goal Setting: SMARTS
Goals provide encouragement, responsibility, motivation, and direction to individuals to make the commitment to fulfill their aspirations. responsibility is encouraged when the athletes are included in the goal development process. By setting individual short-term and long-term goals, the athlete retains his or her individual identity and is provided with satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment when short-term goals are attained, increasing confidence and motivation to reach long-term goals.
- Mental Focus
Mental focus, or concentration, refers to the ability of an individual to direct mental effort on the most relevant information in the environment. Our mental focus is important because Because our ability to stay focused on the relevant cues in our environment during competition is often the critical factor for success. It’s critical that an athlete be able to concentrate during difficult situations such as adverse crowd conditions, bad officiating, or irrelevant thoughts.
- Mental Rehearsal
One method to help you build confidence and achieve your dreams is through the use of individualized mental rehearsal. Mental rehearsal is a powerful tool for peak performance. imagery enables you to program your mind and body to work together to achieve your dreams. in order to get the most out of your mental capabilities, it is important to rehearse them. to improve your mental skills, you should set aside a few minutes every day to imagine your most successful shot, hole, round, or tournament.
- Peak Performance
“Peak moments” is an all encompassing term used to describe a events such as peak experience, flow, peak performance, the zone, and the exercise high. Although athletes experience Peak Performance only about 15 percent of the time, there are a few things you can do to make it more likely.
Imagery is one’s ability to create an experience in their mind. Our brains interpret these experiences as identical to the actual experience. this ability allows us to practice physical skills, mental skills, and strategies without actually having to be in the playing or training environment. Imagery can be used to reinforce old skills, learn new skills, and practice strategies to overcome obstacles. Also, it can be used to remember and reinforce past successes, all without leaving the comfort of your own home.
- Developing a Pre-Practice Routine
Everyone has a pre-game routine they go through. Athletes generally come upon these routines pretty naturally, without any help or encouragement. They know what works for them, and they create the time to do what it takes to get to what works. But very few athletes have a plan for practice… that’s about to change.
- Performance Profile
Use this sheet to help design a specific mental, physical, or technical training program.
- Mental Skills Training Lecture Series
Using the same techniques utilized by elite level athletes and military leaders, the experts at the National University System’s Center for Performance Psychology deliver practical strategies to assist with effective thinking habits, concentration, identification of critical cues in performance, stress management, visualization, and leadership development.
- Coach and Trainer Toolkit
The benefits of sport are well recognized: organized athletics builds self-esteem, promotes physical conditioning, enhances skills, teaches the value of teamwork, and sets a foundation for lifelong physical activity. Athletic competition, however, can also cause severe psychological and physical stress. When the pressures of sport competition are added to cultural ideals that emphasize thinness or a certain body type, the risks increase for athletes to develop disordered eating (irregularities in eating patterns and behaviors that may or may not develop into an eating disorder).
- Goal Setting Pyramid
Use this worksheet to outline and record progress on your short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals.
Use this worksheet to reflect on your dreams, values, and how you can work on staying your best.