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Mario Soto: Coaches Must Know the X’s and O’s of their Players Lives to Maximize Motivation and Perf

On this episode of Pro Mindset® Podcast, sports psychologist and professor, Dr. Mario Soto joins Craig Domann to discuss the mindsets of successful players and winning coaches. Dr. Soto plays the role of a "coach for coaches" and guides them to better connect with their players. He talks about the world of sports psychology, the common challenges that coaches face, and the character traits that athletes need to flourish during their career.

Dr. Soto begins by talking about coaches and athletes' egos, which he refers to as the "beast." A person's ego, he says, can be a positive or a negative, depending on how they harness it. Dr. Soto explains that an individual should, "Learn how to make friends with the beast. You must know that when that beast is out of the cage, it's a wild creature and you must put a leash on it. You have to make friends with it because a beast running out wild is dangerous. That's what our ego can be." Although the word "ego" can have a negative connotation, it can be used to impact a situation positively. The desire to perform well and to win on the field stems directly and ultimately from our ego. When directed the right way, a person's ego can persuade coaches and players to recognize their talents and capitalize on them.

Dr. Soto went on to talk about the Pro Mindset® component of finding your "why" and creating motivation within yourself. Many times, parents come to him and ask him to motivate their son. Dr. Soto explains that this is impossible; motivation must come from within. The drive to be great is personal and powerful and doesn't happen unless someone pursues it for themselves. No one can create it for them. "I can inspire. I can get them to look at things a little differently, but they have to want to do this. This has to be their journey.” The player must find their why. Without their why, it is impossible for them to find their motivation and they will be aimlessly going through the motions. They will be unable to effectively improve upon their talents.

A coach can guide and inspire their players, but they cannot create motivation within them. "You need to know your why because that's going to tap into your drive. It becomes your fuel. The chip that's not on your shoulder, but the chip that's in your gut that nobody can knock off. When you know that, you become a different person, you lean in a little bit more." Your 'why' starts a fire within you that cannot come from anywhere else. Once you discover the why behind everything you are doing, your steps become more meaningful and your goal becomes clear.

Dr. Soto also stresses the importance of belief, another Pro Mindset building block. "You have to believe in you because if you don't believe in yourself, how in the world are you going to get somebody else to believe in you?" Confidence is what makes a player stand-out. Many parents want to know what they can do to make their child more mentally tough. His response is to "Shut up, get out of the way; let them fail." Kids learn from failure. They become more resilient when they experience challenges and make mistakes. By stepping back and letting them discover this for themselves, they will have the mental toughness and self-belief to reach success. Once they reach the college level, their experiences will allow them to create confidence in themselves and their abilities. This belief will allow them to build passion, purpose, and ultimately, a Pro Mindset® lifestyle.

This episode will challenge you to believe in yourself and find your own motivation. If you don't believe in yourself, no one else will. If you don't motivate yourself, no one else can. Using Craig's seven building blocks to develop your Pro Mindset®, you will find your why and discover for yourself what drives you.

To listen to Craig’s interview of Dr. Mario Soto, click here or search your favorite podcast platform, including Apple & Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and many more.

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