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Dr. Patrick Cohn: Confidence is the Cure-all and Boosts All Aspects of an Athlete’s Mental Game

In this episode of Pro Mindset® Podcast, Dr. Patrick Cohn joins host Craig Domann to discuss his viewpoints on belief, confidence and the mindset that affects an athlete’s performance. Dr. Patrick Cohn is a sport psychologist and mental training expert with Peak Performance Sports. Dr. Cohn dives into the common mental weaknesses that athletes face and how they can combat them with mental coaching.

Dr. Cohn begins by describing the mental weaknesses that are common among athletes at the collegiate level. Many times, athletes are highly motivated and hardworking, but they tend to overthink and over-analyze. They try to be too perfect when they step onto the field to perform. They end up with “paralysis by analysis” and freeze up during competition. These athletes are great in practice and can execute their skills when they are not playing. To help with this common pitfall, players need to become more decisive on the field. “It's decisive. It's going with their first instinct and not second-guessing what their plan is, to begin with." An athlete needs to go with his first instinct and not spend time overthinking the options

Dr. Cohn also explains how athletes can use confidence as an anecdote for overthinking. “I call it a cure-all for the mental game. When you have confidence, it rubs off on other parts. You can focus better. You can let go of mistakes. You don't get nervous or anxious or worried about what others think of your game. It's extremely important for other mental skills or other components of the mental game.” Basically, your confidence will shape the way you handle yourself during competition.

Dr. Cohn goes on to explain the difference between what he calls “stable confidence” and “fragile confidence.” Stable confidence comes from an athlete’s belief in their abilities to execute their skills. It’s confidence that comes from within the player. On the other hand, fragile confidence goes up and down with each play. It is shaken by outside influences. Many athletes react to the circumstances of the game and what is happening in the moment. It's crucial to differentiate between confidence in your abilities versus what is happening in the game. Even if the momentum shifts, you should not lose confidence in your skills. Athletes need to fuel their confidence before they even step on the field and not wait until the first touchdown. “Self-confidence is simply an athlete's belief in their ability to execute their skills and what they practice every day.” Your confidence should come from the years you have spent honing your skills. Our confidence stems from the belief we have in ourselves and the talents we have developed.

One of Craig’s seven building blocks to reaching a Pro Mindset is belief. As Dr. Cohn stated in his interview, confidence is simply an athlete’s belief in their abilities. Belief in yourself and your abilities is critical in order to perform at your best. Your belief will play a massive part in your mental game and will enable you to knock down your own mental blocks. Once perfected, your self-belief and confidence will bring you a step closer to attaining your own Pro Mindset.

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