Sport Psychology - Mental Skills Training

Our main office is in San Antonio, Texas and we also travel all over the country working with athletes, teams, and orginization to provide sport psychology training. We offer trainings and seminars face-to-face (in person and zoom) to train athletes, coaches, parents, or organizations in sport psychology and high performance. We tailor trainings for the  individual needs of an athlete, team, and organization that support the goals and culture of the system. Some of the topics we provide training in are covered in the descriptions below. Contact us to let us know how we can work together!

Mental Health & Sports

This training provides an understanding of common mental health issues and how they pertain to athletes. It is beneficial to athletes, parents, coaches, and organizations. Dr. J explores the similarities, benefits of, and differences between mental skills training and therapy. He explains the differences between mental skills coaches, psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors, and how to know which one to use for support. He also shows participants how to find local resources to support strong athlete mental health.


Mindfulness is the thousands of year-old art of maintaining mental control.  Dr. J’s working definition of it is an awareness of the present experience without assessing it, creating a commentary on it, or building a narrative about it. How does an ancient tradition apply to sport performance, you might ask? The answer is in EVERY way. Mindful awareness of the present experience keeps a performer from mental “time travel” in which they dwell on things that just happened, or fear what is about to happen. This awareness is a key mental skill for athletes to understand. Through this training, Dr. J teaches athletes to stay present and focused on the task at hand and create consistent, repeatable high-level performance.

Mental Toughness
Mental toughness is the ability to persevere when things become difficult. It is a fundamental element of sport psychology. It is about the next step, the next rep, and quieting the self-talk which is trying to convince the athlete it’s okay to quit. Mental toughness is trained through experience and sharpened through the interaction between the athlete and their sporting experience. This includes winning, losing, training, competing, and many other things that are faced and overcome. It is about keeping one’s mind focused on the controllable and not surrendering to emotion.

Mental toughness isn’t a fixed point, beyond which one fails forever and always. We view it as an inherent trait, and athletes are mentally tough or not. We label them mentally weak because they have a low failure point and write them off or earn have low expectations of them in the system. Even the most mentally developed players are often accused of lack of mental toughness when they lose, fail, or make a mistake.

Mental Toughness is Trainable Skill

Through this training, an athlete’s fail point moves farther out, and even made a non-factor. This is important for gifted players who are perceived to have a weak mental game. These players can quickly become an asset to the team through a few simple tweaks and techniques. It also takes the naturally mentally tough people to a new level of consistent peak performance.

Lack of mental toughness is really a lack of understanding of simple, repeatable techniques that create consistent performance. This informative training uses the art and science of sport and performance psychology to develop the 4 pillars of mental toughness.

Activation is the mind and body’s excitement level. Through this training, using sport psychology fundamentals, athletes will learn Dr. J’s “Peak of Peak Performance Model,” to learn and manage activation levels and create consistent performance at the upper edges of their ability. Athlete’s will learn to recognize when they are too low or too high (physically and mentally) and get themselves to the optimal spot for performance. They will learn and recognize the right thoughts and physical sensations for peak performance and be able to draw them up at will. Performance will become more consistent and predictable.

Goal Setting
Goal setting is a powerful and necessary technique for enhancing and facilitating performance, but it is under-used in sport psychology terms, and the mechanics aren’t fully understood. Goals help an athlete stick to it, remain persistent and confident, focused, and create momentum in the right direction. Goal setting is important to every facet of performance. Through training goal setting, athletes, teams, and coaches will learn to: 
1. Direct attention to important elements of skills being performed to maximize results
2. Direct and mobilize efforts
3. Increase ability to persist
4. Use goal setting to foster the development of new learning strategies.

In this training, Dr. J presents his “Lily Pad Theory,” which is an easy-to-use system that harnesses the power of goal setting to create elite performance, teams, and organizations.

In athletic performance (and life), the mind and body react toward one’s dominant thoughts. Automatic negative self-talk guides one’s experience into the gravitational pull of their negative beliefs and destroys peak performance. Self-talk is a mostly unconscious process in which a collection of statements, phrases, and cue words instructs actions and makes a commentary on experience. Through this training, athletes realize how they inform themselves and take control of their inner dialog.

Using sport psychology, performance oriented self-talk is a trainable skill. The right self-talk blocks or deemphasizes distractions and fortifies the attention required for high performance. Self-talk is used to manage focus, funnel thoughts, actions, and behaviors to the task at hand, and manage mental and physical activation levels.

Peak performance depends on the athlete’s ability to perform the task at hand when the situation requires it. While the ability to focus is a skill, the ability to focus and refocus on the right things over and over is an art. Through this training, athletes will learn Dr. J’s “Hourglass of Focus” technique, which uses sport psychology principles, to stay present in the moment, perform the task at hand, and use focus to perform consistently in any situation.

The most important narrative of excellence is “hard work, in the right direction pays off,” the most important mechanism of performance is motivation. Motivation happens on a continuum from external to internal.

The mental skills taught in this training benefit anyone in an athlete’s system, including the athlete themself, coaches, and parents. Motivation is the fuel that makes peak performance go. Internally motivated people approach an activity because they see value in it. Internal motivation creates good feelings about oneself and primes a solution focused mindset, versus a problem focus. Athletes will learn to find value in their training and performance across a broad range of circumstances.

In sports and life, there are also requirements, rules, and expectations that come from external sources. This training also teaches top performers how to operate under external control, and coaches and parents to apply external control effectively. The ability to find value in the grind is a key to becoming elite. Mental skills training equips an athlete to be motivated in all aspects of development. Understanding how to promote internal motivation and manage external motivation provides a great benefit for the athlete and those in an athlete’s system who help guide development.

Imagery is the ability to use visualization for mental rehearsal and is used to learn new skills, plan performance strategies, improve technique, recover from injury, and develop mental toughness for optimal success in sport and fitness. It is a staple of sport psychology training and a valuable mental skill to train.

This training will help athletes learn internal and external imagery techniques. They will learn to use relevant senses, including what they see, hear, smell, taste, and feel emotionally and physically, to enrich their visualization. They will use Imagery as a mental blueprint which can be projected onto future practice and performance, or to revisit past performance, making it useful across a wide range of situations.

To arrange a Sport Psychology training listed above, or discuss tailoring a train to meet your needs, reach out. We would love to hear from you!