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Gazing’s strong view is that it is time to embrace mindset as a skill and integrate mental skills development into coaching – Red2Blue is the ideal approach to help.

Now more than ever there is an increased focus on the mentality needed to perform well and win when it matters, or on the mental vulnerabilities often exposed in highly pressurised sporting environments. Experience is now showing that this is not just a challenge for those at the elite level.

We are all vulnerable to pressure, its impact on our mindset and the associated affect on our performance – and not only seen in sport. Recent global events have emphasised the critical role our mindset plays not just in our ability to cope with dramatic changes in our lives but also to keep moving forward in whatever we do! 

Practical experience points to the importance of focusing on areas such as planning, routines, physical preparation and specific skills in terms of preparing to perform and do well when the pressure is on.

Treating Mindset as a Skill

Challenges to mindset are very difficult to see, much harder to measure and therefore often regarded as a ‘condition to treat’, or a proverbial ‘trip to the dentist’. And when these challenges are related to mental health problems – then they should indeed be provided with necessary professional support.

But in addition, Gazing’s perspective is on the massive opportunity and growing recognition that treating ‘mindset as a skill’ to be learned, practiced and developed to support performance when the pressure is at its greatest. 

Even given the above it still seems that when things are going well, mindset and mental skills slip into the background, but then are really exposed and highlighted when things go wrong. In the sporting world when a team wins as expected then coverage focuses on the individual and collective skills etc, with little reference to mindset and mental preparation. But it can be the opposite if they perform poorly and lose – with the media coverage focused on the weakness in mental strength, or even belief and desire to win.

Pressure as a catalyst for High Performance

At Gazing we feel it is not only possible, but also critical to commit to a consistent programme of mental preparation and mental skill development for the increased strain of predictable moments of pressure. A mindset that is prepared and ‘ready to perform’ has the advantage of being able to embrace the challenge and pressure of the environment they are in, and in many cases use ‘pressure’ as a catalyst for high performance rather than a barrier! 

A thoughtful reflection on performance, and how to develop the ability to do well when it matters will point to the obvious point that ‘mindset’ does not work in isolation. A useful common approach to performance in sport, and other disciplines is to break it down to the core elements of a ‘performance equation’;

Performance = Physical prep + Technical Skills + Tactical ability + Mindset 

But even if the equation seems obvious – regular discussion with coaches and observation of coaching practice, indicates that ‘mindset’ remains as the ‘hidden element’. There is very little deliberate focus on integrating mindset into the coaching sessions and performance development or preparation, and the tendency to still see it as a solely specialist area needing treatment. 

Many coaches describe their biggest source of angst as when players do not make ‘real time’ decisions to adapt their approach or make poor decisions at crucial moments. It does not take deep diagnosis to see the role that mental skills and clear thinking plays in helping humans make good decisions when under pressure. Gazing’s strong view is that it is time to embrace mindset as a skill and integrate mental skills development into coaching – Red2Blue is the ideal approach to help.

For more information about Gazing Red2Blue visit www.gazing.com