MENTAL EXECUTION

 What is Mental Execution

Mental Execution measures one’s ability to mentally execute accurately and timely.  More specifically, Mental Execution is the ability to mentally perform at high and consistent levels during athletic competition or situations requiring focus and situational response.  The champion-level Mental Execution the TAP measures begins with the ability to make appropriate split-second accurate reactions (Focus Speed) and the ability to make good decisions quickly (Decisiveness), plus the propensity to be open and adapt to the situation/environment encountered (Adaptability).  One’s ability for information processing and composure under pressure also contribute to this broad scale.  

 

 Why is it important?

When they say success in sports is 90% mental, they are talking mostly about Mental Execution. Mental execution is paramount to performance during competition. Failure to mentally execute usually results in defeat. The athlete might be outmatched physically but with superior mental execution, they will prevail in many cases. Mental execution not only leads to victory, but reflects cognitive development and bolsters both confidence and the desire to continue learning and improving. The pinnacle of mental execution is performing during competition without thinking, being on autopilot. Often, this is described as being in the zone or being in the flow.

 A higher score means...

A high score indicates an athlete who with proper preparation can (i.) properly execute particular techniques in one's sport as needed in the competive flow, (ii.) recall and properly perform pre-designed plays, and (iii.) quickly react and properly respond to all the unexpected situations that arise in competitive sports.

 Higher scoring athletes think and act...

● Mental mistakes are rare

● Can drown out distractions

● Anticipation is strong.  As is game and situation awareness, e.g., being in the right position at the right time.

● Good timing and rhythm 

● Can make mental adjustments

● Strong awareness such as down and distance (football), time remaining (multiple sports), or noticing the opponent who is "moving in for the kill”

● Razor sharp concentration and focus on the right cues

● Able to quickly react to the game situation that occurs and respond properly

 

 A lower score means...

Those that score modestly on Mental Execution have an opportunity to greatly improve their performance in athletics, but it will take determination. Mental Execution is not something to turn on or off, but rather to build over time through a number of smaller, incremental improvements in the topics listed in the "What is Mental Execution" above.

 Lower scoring athletes think and act...

“Instincts” seem to be off, e.g., makes the wrong/late reaction to a game situation  

● Frequently looks to the sidelines for help

● Shows signs of confusion -- questioning look on their face, shaking head after a mistake or when the opponent gets the upper hand

● Keeps trying the same thing over again, even when it is not working

● Prone to mental mistakes - even basic, simple mistakes like missing an open lay-up in basketball or making false starts in football, etc.

● Poor awareness such as down and distance (football), time remaining (multiple sports), not noticing the opponent who is "moving in for the kill”

 

 

Focus Speed

 What is Focus Speed?

Focus Speed measures one’s ability to quickly and accurately focus.  More specifically, Focus Speed measures one’s mental reaction time and accuracy in choosing the appropriate response when provided interfering and conflicting stimuli. This “Stroop effect” - best known for its use in testing military pilots - measures the ability to quickly read and respond to what is happening in dynamic situations such as piloting an airplane or athletic competition.

 Why is it important?

Everyone recognizes that concentration is very important to overall mental execution. Concentration, the way the TAP measures it, includes two important components: the ability to drown out distractions and the ability to find and zero in on the right informational cue. Focus Speed not only determines both of these variables but also how adept the athlete is at doing this quickly. If you believe that concentration is the key and timing is everything, then you understand the importance of Focus Speed.

 A higher score means...

Those with higher scores on Focus Speed can readily interpret situational cues and quickly and accurately respond to them.

 Higher scoring athletes think and act...

● Can drown out distractions, e.g., taunting fans while shooting a free throw in basketball

● Processes information at a rapid rate - adjusts to the speed of the game

● Can quickly determine the (visual) cues that are most helpful during competition

● Seldom slows down if a mistake happens, continues processing and reacting at a rapid rate.

● Can quickly react, e.g., responds fast when an opposing team tries a trick play

 

 A lower score means...

Those with modest levels of Focus Speed may require more time to respond and can be prone to be more easily distracted.

 

 Lower scoring athletes think and act...

● Staying focused is very effortful, almost overwhelming

● Easily distracted by extraneous external stimuli, e.g., taunting fans while shooting a free throw in basketball

● Easily distracted by internal stimuli, e.g., thinking about an argument with a friend, thoughts of doubt

● A mistake on a previous play haunts them

● In a 1-2-3 step sequence, if a mistake is made at step 2 they return to the beginning instead of moving on the step 3  (not always bad when acquiring a skill in practice but not good in a contest)

● May not react quickly enough, e.g., responds slow when an opposing team tries a trick play

 

How to improve Focus Speed

 Videos

These topical videos have been selected by Ryzer.  The video links will open a new browser window.  The linked videos are neither hosted nor created by Ryzer unless otherwise noted.

How to Stay Focused During Sport Competition Part 1 3 mins | by Dr. Ken Ravizza

How to Stay Focused During Sport Competition Part 2 5 mins | by Dr. Ken Ravizza

How to Stay Focused During Sport Competition Part 3 4 mins | by Dr. Ken Ravizza

Does Imagery Really Work? 2 mins | by Complete Performance Coaching

Secrets of Elite Athletes 16 mins | TED Talk by Kenn Dickinson

 

 Articles

These articles have been selected by Ryzer.  The article links will open a new browser window.  The linked articles are neither hosted nor created by Ryzer unless otherwise noted.

Sport Imagery: Athletes' Most Powerful Mental Tool 4 pages | by Jim Taylor Ph.D., Psychology Today

A Sports Psychologist Shares the Visualization Technique that's Helped Super Bowl Champions and Olympic Gold-Medalists 4 pages | by Richard Feloni

Attention, A Powerful Tool for Athletic Performance 3 pages | by Mónica Monserrat, Psychologist at Sánchez-Casal Academy

Unravelling 'Locus Of Focus' - Where To Direct Athletes' Attention When Training And Competing 12 pages | by Informed Practitioner in Sport blog

 

 Podcasts

These topical podcasts have been selected by Ryzer.  The podcast links will open a new browser window.  The linked podcasts are neither hosted nor created by Ryzer unless otherwise noted.

How to Focus on the Right Thing at the Right Time with Hannah Huesman, Mental Skills Coach for the Philadelphis Phillies 47 minutes | by Dr. Cindra Kamphoff podcast

Mastering the Mental Game with Dr. Ken Ravizza, Educator, Professor, and Mental Game Expert 61 minutes | by Dr. Cindra Kamphoff podcast

What is Your Focus? 5 minutes | Mindset Matters podcast by Riley Jensen

 

 Drills

Ryzer Mindset Drills are designed to be completed either individually or in a instructor-led group setting.  The worksheets supplement the presentations and ideally are printed in advance of reviewing the presentation. The worksheets and presentations are PDF documents.  For best experience, save the PDF to your device before viewing or open in a PDF-friendly application such as Books on iPhone or Adobe on Android.

    

Mental Imagery

Learn  how Mental Imagery Works and How You Can Gain a Key Advantage in Your Sport

This drill's outcomes: (i) learn what imagery is and how it can help you in your sport (ii) learn the proper process for practicing imagery

Mental Imagery presentation - 33 slides

Mental Imagery worksheet - 4 pages

 


 

Decisiveness

 What is Decisiveness

The TAP scale of Decisiveness measures one’s natural ability and desire to make quick decisions.  This is important for dynamic situations such as athletic competitions and particular positions/roles that require quick, important decisions.

 Why is it important?

Decisiveness is important to mental execution. It is important that athletes react when competing. Decisiveness impacts the athlete's timing, which is important to mental execution. This metric is important to the coach and the athlete because it will predict tendencies such as rushing a decision or being overly tenuous and cautious. Another important aspect to decisiveness is that it identifies the tendency for the athlete to second-guess decisions after making them, which can cause doubt and hesitation.  

The athlete’s sport and position need to be considered as this trait is not universally important (e.g. a high score is beneficial for some sports/positions but not all).  

 

 A higher score means...

Those with higher levels of Decisiveness are more likely to naturally make quick decisions without hesitation.  One caveat, this does not mean that the person high in Decisiveness will make good decisions or the right decision, just that the decision-making happens quickly.  

This can be good for sports/positions where playing instinctively without hesitation is important, e.g., offensive positions involved in scoring.

 

 Higher scoring athletes think and act...

● Tendency to make quick decisions

● Does not second-guess decisions, especially in immediate (during competition) situations

● Not afraid to choose an option that might have some risk, e.g., will go for a steal that might result in the other team scoring if unsuccessful

● Prefers a choice that yields the highest reward rather than the choice that has the lowest risk

● Tends to trust their instincts, e.g., they just play the game without thinking too much

● The athlete’s sport and position need to be considered.  A high scoring athlete in Decisiveness may try to rush or force things.

 

 A lower score means...

Those with modest levels of Decisiveness may reflect a preference for deliberate and cautious decisions, sometimes to the point of being hesitant.  Those with this preference should deliberately practice competitive situations where quick decisions are needed so they can act more instinctive on those situations.

A lower score in Decisiveness can be good for sports/positions where playing cautiously and not taking risks can be helpful, e.g., defensive positions responsible for keeping the opponents from scoring (especially in protecting a lead).

 
 

 Lower scoring athletes think and act...

● Wants to double check things to be sure before deciding/reacting

● Uncomfortable being pressured to hurry and make up their mind

● Tends to opt for the lowest risk choice

● Will second guess a decision even if it is the correct choice

● During competition, will cautiously overthink things rather than just playing instinctively

● Actions and thoughts like hesitancy, reluctance, and uncertainty

● May hold back with intensity

● The athlete’s sport and position need to be considered.  A low scoring athlete in Decisiveness may have fewer mistakes because of caution and deliberate decision making; not just paralysis by analysis.

 

How to improve Decisiveness

 Videos

These topical videos have been selected by Ryzer.  The video links will open a new browser window.  The linked videos are neither hosted nor created by Ryzer unless otherwise noted.

Quickness is Decisiveness 1 min | by Kobe Bryant

How to Achieve Peak Sport Performance Through Mental Skills Training Part 1 3 mins | by Dr. Ken Ravizza

How to Achieve Peak Sport Performance Through Mental Skills Training Part 2 6 mins | by Dr. Ken Ravizza

How to Make Good Decisions 9 mins | by Brendon Burchard

How to Overcome Fear 11 mins | by Brendon Burchard

The OODA Loop: A Competitive Decision-Making Tool 5 mins | by DecisionSkills

 

 Articles

These articles have been selected by Ryzer.  The article links will open a new browser window.  The linked articles are neither hosted nor created by Ryzer unless otherwise noted.

Tips to Build Your Team's Decision-Making Skills 3 pages | by TrueSport for USA Volleyball

How to Make Bold Decisions 6 pages | by Benjamin Hardy Ph.D., Inc.com contributor

Athletes in the Zone Could have Less Hesitation; Quicker Reaction Time 2 pages | by Daniel Yoder, Virginia Dilworth & Michael Lukkarinen

Mental Edge: Fear is an Athlete's Worst Enemy  2 pages | by USA Today High School Sports

Decision Making by Coaches and Athletes in Sport 8 pages | by Adem Kaya

 

 Podcasts

These topical podcasts have been selected by Ryzer.  The podcast links will open a new browser window.  The linked podcasts are neither hosted nor created by Ryzer unless otherwise noted.

Being Decisive vs. Carefulness topic starts at 0:25:54 20 minutes | by Jocko (former US Navy SEAL) podcast

Decisions Decisions Decisions with TED speakers including Malcolm Gladwell 53 minutes | by NPR TED speaker radio

What the Best Do DifferentlyDr. Katy Tran Turner Mental Performance Coach for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres 44 minutes | by Dr. Cindra Kamphoff podcast

 

 Drills

Ryzer Mindset Drills are designed to be completed either individually or in a instructor-led group setting.  The worksheets supplement the presentations and ideally are printed in advance of reviewing the presentation. The worksheets and presentations are PDF documents.  For best experience, save the PDF to your device before viewing or open in a PDF-friendly application such as Books on iPhone or Adobe on Android.

    

Becoming Decisive

Learn a strategy for making decisions more efficiently and effectively

This drill's outcomes: (i) understand the importance of not avoiding and making good decisions (ii) learn a 4-factor process for making better decisions efficiently

Becoming Decisive presentation - 24 slides

Decision Making: 4-Criteria Technique worksheet - 4 pages

7-Day Decision Making Journal worksheet - 2 pages

 


 

Adaptability

 What is Adaptability

The TAP's Adaptability scale measures one’s level of openness to try new things.  More specifically, Adaptability measures how much a person is comfortable adapting to new ideas, discovering/exploring different concepts and developing new skills.  The ability to transfer knowlege and skill to a similar but different situation is also part of Adaptability.

 Why is it important?

It is important that athletes can apply the knowledge and experience they gained at practice in preparation for competition and transfer this knowledge and skills to situations during competition that are not exactly like what was experienced in practice. This is what adaptability is about in athletics. It is important that athletes are able to make half time adjustments and modify approaches during the heat of competition. Adaptability is important to Mental Execution.

 A higher score means...

Those with higher levels of Adaptability love to explore new topics and are often very comfortable not knowing something and jumping in to try it. They will be able to apply the knowledge and experience they gained at practice in preparation for competition and transfer this knowledge and skills to situations during competition that are not exactly like what was experienced in practice.

 

 Higher scoring athletes think and act...

● Open to trying new approaches or techniques, e.g., a new way of passing the ball

● Can apply concepts to practical problems

● Able to make halftime adjustments and change strategy, playing style, techniques as needed

● Can connect the dots;  Able to transfer know-how and skills to different, unique situations, e.g., can apply a “give and go”  technique learned in basketball to other sports

● Usually has an easier time playing a new role or position

● Can juggle several mental “balls” at the same time, e.g., calling the plays, executing them, keeping track of remaining timeouts, etc.

 

 A lower score means...

Those with modest levels of Adaptability prefer to focus in on what they know well already including refining existing skills and conducting lots of practice repetitions. They are also likely to prefer situations where they are already comfortable and know the situation and possible outcomes.  They are less able to take what they learned in practice and apply it to other similar but different situations encountered in competition.  If learning something new, it is best if the coach can relate it to something they already know, are familiar with.

 
 

 Lower scoring athletes think and act...

● Does much better when the competition situation mirrors a situation they have previously practiced. 

● Tends to use the same approach and technique over and over again, e.g., will try the same “move” to go around a defender every time.

● Prefers to learn by rote and repetition

● Wants to do things their own way

● Processes best when things are tangible, concrete details, not fancy theory:  “Tell me what time it is, not how the watch is made.”

● Need to tie learning a new skill/technique to something they already know, are familiar with.

● Execution is best when they have only one thing to process, think about.

 

How to improve Adaptability

 Videos

These topical videos have been selected by Ryzer.  The video links will open a new browser window.  The linked videos are neither hosted nor created by Ryzer unless otherwise noted.

Try Something New for 30 Days 3 mins | by Matt Cutts

Scared to Try New Things 4 mins | by Immanuel Jones

The Strength of Adaptability: Achieving the Impossible 17 mins | TED Talk by Laura Penhaul

Adaptability Creates Opportunities 11 mins | TED Talk by Jasper Reid

3 Ways to Measures Your Adaptability - and How to Improve It 7 mins | TED Talk by Natalie Fratto (business context that applies to sports)

 

 Articles

These articles have been selected by Ryzer.  The article links will open a new browser window.  The linked articles are neither hosted nor created by Ryzer unless otherwise noted.

What is Flow? 7 pages | by The Positive Psychlopedia

How to Cultivate Flow 5 pages | by The Positive Psychlopedia

The Role of Psychological Flexibility in Building Performance and Wellbeing 2 pages | by Working with ACT

 

 Podcasts

These topical podcasts have been selected by Ryzer.  The podcast links will open a new browser window.  The linked podcasts are neither hosted nor created by Ryzer unless otherwise noted.

Adaptability is the Law That Governs Survival In War and In Life 125 minutes | by Jocko (former US Navy SEAL) podcast

3 Ways to Measure Your Adaptability and How to Improve It 7 minutes | by TED speaker Natalie Fratto

 

 Drills

Ryzer Mindset Drills are designed to be completed either individually or in a instructor-led group setting.  The worksheets supplement the presentations and ideally are printed in advance of reviewing the presentation. The worksheets and presentations are PDF documents.  For best experience, save the PDF to your device before viewing or open in a PDF-friendly application such as Books on iPhone or Adobe on Android.

    

Coming Soon