Mental Skills for Athletes: A Workbook for Competitive Success is a step-by-step guide for developing a toolbox of mental skills. In this user-friendly workbook, Dr. Betsy Shoenfelt compiles materials from over 35 years of experience as a performance psychologist working to achieve competitive excellence, creating the go-to resource for athletes and coaches in any sport and at any level.
The book includes succinct, easily understood explanations of key mental skills based on the science of performance excellence. It discusses both cognitive and physical skills to ensure competitive success, covering a range of topics including focus, confidence, resilience, mindfulness, motivation, role clarity, problem solving, team values, and strategic goal setting. Shoenfelt includes over 25 different exercises to ensure the reader can readily apply these skills across a variety of sports and across all levels of competition, from high school to Olympic athletes. Worksheets encourage a hands-on approach and provide structure to guide the appropriate implementation of mental skills for each athlete. Examples of completed worksheets help demonstrate to the reader how to best utilize these resources.
This book is essential for early career sport psychology practitioners across the globe, as well as aspiring graduate students. The book is an invaluable resource for coaches and athletes at all levels.
Table of Contents
Part I: Introduction
Chapter 1: An Introduction to Mental Skills
Part II: Mental Skills
A: The Mind (Cognitive Skills)
Chapter 2: Positive Self-Talk, Confidence, and Focus
Chapter 3: Motivation
Chapter 4: Imagery
Chapter 5: Problem Solving and Continuous Learning to Build Resilience
B: The Body (Physiological Skills and the Mind-Body Connection)
Chapter 6: Relaxation, Controlling Performance Anxiety, and Mindfulness
Chapter 7: Automaticity and Practice
Chapter 8: Routines
Part III: Team Skills and Special Situations
Chapter 9: Role Clarity for Team Sports
Chapter 10: The Importance of Team Values
Chapter 11: Strategic Goal Setting for Teams
Chapter 12: Preparing for the Big Event
Part IV: Epilogue
Elizabeth L. Shoenfelt, Ph.D., University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Western Kentucky University, USA, is a performance psychologist with 35+ years of experience working in business, industry, government, education, and sports with individuals, teams, and organizations to achieve performance excellence.
"Mental Skills for Athletes is an excellent volume that is a must have for any applied sport psychologist working with athletes and coaches. We can always use additional worksheets/exercises for our toolboxes, and Shoenfelt does a great job providing background for different critical areas within our sport performance contexts and provides wonderful exercises to address these key areas. Specific examples from a variety of sports are provided that make the exercises even more useful. This book will also be very helpful for classes addressing mental skills training". - Michael L. Sachs, Temple University, USA.
"Mental Skills for Athletes is written by Elizabeth Shoenfelt, a sport psychologist with more than 35 years of practical experience working with Olympic and variety athletes and weekend warriors. This exciting Workbook is an in-depth, thoughtfully organized introduction to important mental techniques such as self-talk, relaxation and arousal, and performance routines for enhancing sport performance. A major contribution to the literature is the accompanying exercises designed for perfecting the use of the sport psychology techniques and then practicing them for success use in diverse competitive sport environments." - Bonnie G. Berger, Ed.D., Bowling Green State University, USA.
"While today’s athletes and coaches are keenly aware of the importance of mental skills in achieving successful performances, few know what these skills are or how to acquire and improve them. Often these important skills are relegated to the simplistic slogans of "just believe in yourself" or "think positive". This book provides a valuable alternative. Based on research findings, Dr. Shoenfelt clearly enumerates, defines, and explains the specific mental skills that are associated with high level performance. This book provides highly valuable tools and instructions for self-evaluation of mental skills and detailed specific exercises for improving each skill." - Jack J. Lesyk, Ph.D., CMPC, Director, Ohio Center for Sport Psychology, USA.
"Shoenfelt’s Mental Skills for Athletes delivers on the promise of being a user-friendly workbook that is chock-full of practical and innovative mental training tools for athletes. The content is science-based, but goes beyond the typical "why" presented in other books to the sorely needed "how to" in terms of providing specific worksheets and exercises that can be used to directly train mental skills in a systematic way. This cleverly organized book is a must-have for coaches, consultants, and/or athletes looking for concrete, individualized strategies to build mental skills." - Robin S. Vealey, Ph.D, CMPC, Miami University, USA.
"Despite Yogi Berra’s claim, 90% of any game isn’t mental but the 10% that is can make all the difference. This book will teach you how to work on enhancing the mental skills you need for optimal performance. While Shoenfelt shares the research and theory, in understandable terms, her many examples and exercises are the heart of the matter, for individuals, teams, and coaches at any level of competence." - Dr. Kate F. Hays, Ph.D., C.Psych., CMPC, The Performing Edge, Canada.
"In Mental Skills for Athletes Shoenfelt shares her insights, strategies and exercises developed in more than 35 years of working as a performance psychologist with athletes at many levels of competitions. Grounded in state-of-the-art science the biggest asset of this book are the many useful worksheets and exercises. These can be readily adapted and applied by athletes and coaches in any sport and at any performance level - or by mental performance consultants wanting to expand their "toolbox". Having not only blank worksheets, but also sample sheets from a variety of sports is especially helpful. This hand-on approach helps highlight Shoenfelt’s main message: Working to achieve competitive excellence is all about the journey. Mental Skills for Athletes is an excellent resource to help guide and shape this process." - Sebastian Brueckner, Ph.D., CMPC, Director of Applied Services, German Society for Sport Psychology, Germany.
"Dr .Shoenfelt served as the sport psychologist for my Women's Basketball team that went to 3 Final Fours and a National Championship appearance. In her book, Mental Skills for Athletes she explains the key mental skills that underlie Championship Teams and provides exercises to help athletes and coaches at all levels achieve their potential. In reading the book from cover to cover, many techniques were familiar but I learned some new and innovative approaches as well. I highly recommend this book for coaches and athletes who want a winning edge against the Competition." - Paul Sanderford, Managing Member, E & S Developers, USA.
"Mental Skills for Athletes: A Workbook for Competitive Success is an exceptionally insightful and innovative new resource for athletes and those who coach, train and support them. … While Shoenfelt no doubt wrote Mental Skills with a fairly specific audience in mind, most of the concepts and techniques she describes in such articulate and uncomplicated detail also have much broader application. … In a very real sense, "Mental Skills" has a somewhat universal appeal; i.e., certainly one that extends beyond the sports realm." –Aaron W. Hughey, Western Kentucky University, USA.