Are you an athlete who struggles to perform during competition? Do you get anxious or nervous before a sporting event? Do you perform well at practice but find it difficult to focus and concentrate when performing during competition or another performance-based situation? Do you have poor self-talk and get down on yourself after a poor performance? Do your parents, coaches, or trainers notice a difference in your performance at practice that is much better than the “big” game, match, tournament, or event? Are you not living up to your potential as an athlete? Do you get sick or have panic attacks before you perform? Do you “lose it” during or after competition or find it difficult to regain your confidence once you’ve made a mistake? If so, you may benefit from mental conditioning.
Dr. Chapman has extensive experience working with a variety of athletes at different levels from youth sports (middle and high school, club athletes) to professionals and Olympians. A highly accomplished, sprinter and football player in college, Dr. Chapman understands how to assist athletes from a practical, physical and psychological perspective (to read more about Dr. Chapman’s athletic accomplishments in track and field, click here). Athletes at any level who are dedicated to enhancing their mental toughness (conditioning) in order to reach their athletic potential would be good candidates for Dr. Chapman’s work. Dr. Chapman is also a member of the Association for Applied Sports Psychology (to read more about AASP click here).
Dr. Chapman typically works with athletes for 4-5 weekly sessions by providing each athlete with an individually tailored, mental routine in order to enhance the athlete’s performance during competition. Most athletes follow-up at various times throughout their careers for booster sessions in order to “tweak” various skills or have further mental conditioning in other areas, such as process-goal setting. Along these lines, most athletes struggle with focusing exclusively on the outcome of competition (stats, wins/losses, scores, etc.) whereas mental conditioning emphasizes the process (preparation, mechanics and technique, position responsibilities, etc.) of competition, which leads to outcome. Athletes who work with Dr. Chapman undergo mental conditioning that includes but is not limited to the following:
- An initial completion of a mental skills assessment to determine the specific mental skills that need to be enhanced during competition. This is always the first step in Dr. Chapman’s mental conditioning process.
- Athletes are taught the importance of developing breathing skills (known as the “easy button”) before, during, and following competition
- “The glue” of mental conditioning is teaching athletes the importance of realistic and positive self-talk: athletes will learn the necessity of selecting appropriate self-talk prior to competition, how to recover from poor performances, and the necessity of developing ongoing monitoring of self-talk
- Athletes will learn the importance of developing mental imagery/visualization and its relationship with “muscle memory”
- Athletes will learn how to concentrate during high pressure situations by utilizing self-directed cues during competition