Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

“Get Out The Comfort Zone” is a fascinating 12-minute read by sport psychologist and Founder of Condor Performance Gareth J. Mole on the rewards of taking calculated risks.

Getting out of your Comfort Zone is not easy, but it’s worth it.

Why Should I Get Out Of My Comfort Zone?

Getting out of your Comfort Zone probably requires three elements. First, you need to know what your Comfort Zone looks like. Next, you might want to understand why it’s necessary to improve yourself mentally. Finally, knowing just how far outside of your Comfort Zone to go would be handy. I will attempt to address all of these in this article. As always, after you have read it, please share it with your networks and add a comment or question at the bottom. I’m good, but I’m not a mind reader.

What Or Where Is This Comfort Zone?

Like so many psychological constructs, one of the challenges is that it’s very relative and based on the individual. One person’s Comfort Zone might be another person’s Danger Zone. But this much is true. Everybody on earth will have experiences and situations that are more psychologically cozy than others. Typically, these situations fall along a spectrum or a sliding scale.

By this, I mean that the situation can range from highly comfortable all the way through to extremely uncomfortable. And, of course, there is a lot of grey area in between. It is reasonable to ponder why one person might find standing up and talking in public so easy whilst her twin sister might feel sick just by the idea. But as a general rule, I accept that people have developed these preferences and aversions for good reason. Spending too long trying to work out why can take away from time better spent accepting reality and using it as a mental training tool.

So, staying inside one’s Comfort Zone means trying very hard to manipulate our world so that we can spend most of our time avoiding many situations.

Who Is Guilty Of This? I Am For One.

This can often be very innocent, such as deciding not to go training because it’s too cold and wet. Or faking an injury on the day that you know the coach will be making some assessments. So, the Comfort Zone is more of a what than a where. Although it often feels more like a place, it’s normal for most people to ensure that where they live and work is packed full of what they like. Even the experts are guilty. It is not unusual for me to take a pillow with me when I travel. I have also been known to email the host of an Airbnb before leaving home to check the quality of their coffee-making facilities 🤫.

Can You Work Out The Issue With This?

For most people, whose values include challenging themselves, improving themselves and achieving hard things, these come with a certain amount of organic discomfort. Let’s use some common examples we come across as a group of practitioners working at the coal face of sports psychology and mental performance:

  • Results are shoved in your face all the time. Many of which the performer only has some influence over. This tends to be very uncomfortable for most people.
  • The better you get, the more people scrutinise your performance. This exponentially increases the discomfort levels for most people.
  • An injury can instantly undo years of hard work if your performance area is sporting. Talk about severe discomfort all the time!

As these stressors are all possible, avoiding them at all costs is a terrible idea. As fellow sport psychologist Jonah Oliver often says, “It’s not about reducing the stress but about being able to tolerate more”.

Show Me How To Do That

Below is one of many ways of doing this. Warning: It would be far better if you tried to work through these with the help of a qualified psychologist like the one who consults for Condor Performance. Why? Getting it wrong can backfire big time. It’s the same as trying to improve your body. Ideally, your physical training plan is designed and overseen by someone qualified to the eyeballs in that area, like our friends at BaiMed. Same with training the mind. Please be careful of the growing number of pseudo-professionals working in sport psychology spaces.

Take a look at the below drawing. I have adapted it from the circle’s concept at – a great online resource. As you can see, the Comfort Zone (green) is surrounded by two other zones. Outside the Comfort Zone is the aptly named Growth Zone (blue). And beyond that is The Danger Zone (Red). I find it helpful to split the zones into four quadrants to help my clients develop more specific situations to place into the twelve areas. 

Social, Safety, Scrutiny and Stuff

  • Social refers to social situations like dinner parties, going on a date or hanging out with a buddy at the mall (shopping centre). Social anxiety is widespread in 2024, yet it’s very solvable for many.
  • Scrutiny is related to being assessed. Not the same as social even if the scrutiny is coming from others. This is a big deal in our work. A common thread that links all our clients is the high degree of scrutiny they get compared to the general population.
  • Stuff refers to the unavoidable fact that many people use purchasables to make themselves feel much more comfortable in today’s society. In extreme situations, this can result in hoarding, but for most people, it’s relatively innocent – until your lucky pair of socks gets chewed up by the neighbour’s dog the night before the grand final!
  • Safety is related to psychological safety. For this category, we must be incredibly delicate to ensure that the ideas we come up with are in the right place. For some people, rock climbing is what they do every weekend (Comfort Zone, green, too easy). For others – myself included – it feels too dangerous, too risky. Red Zone, Danger Zone, avoid, avoid, avoid. But for many, this kind of activity (supervised by the right professionals) is excellent for growth and getting them out of their comfort zone.

Ideas With Action Are A Waste Of Time

The idea is to use the diagram to brainstorm different situations for each segment. It’s often easier to use the table template below. Don’t print it, just redraw it on a bit of paper.

Comfort ZoneGrowth ZoneDanger Zone




Tip: Be aware of all zones, but try to take action only on the Growth Zone ideas.

Raising Young Elite Athletes

Raising young elite athletes is no walk in the park. Sport psychologist Gareth J. Mole, a 20 year veteran of working with elite sporting teens, provides some tips to Mums, Dads and Guardians.

A Quick Guide For Parents / Guardians

Raising Young Elite Athletes – No Walk In The Park


A significant number of the regular readers of our Mental Toughness Digest blog are the parents or guardians of young athletes. Some are the guardians of current or previous youngsters we’ve worked with. Others are just Mums and Dads who have realised that sound psychological processes can help the whole family. Raising young elite athletes (well) is no walk in the park. This blog is an amalgamation of advice I have provided the parents of my younger sporting clients over the years.

With very few exceptions, I have generally found that the parents of our young sporting clients have acted impeccably. By this, I mean they have helped us help their son(s) or daughter(s). Almost all are readily available but tend to respect the psychologist–athlete relationship. Most parents tend to give their child (or children) plenty of space and privacy. 

Considering all the young athletes I have assisted over the last twenty years, I can only think of one ‘bad egg’. Only on one occasion with one client did a parent ‘block’ my attempt to help their child. Basically, the toxic relationship between parent and child scuppered my attempts to help the youngster.

The Relationship Is Key

What is far more common is that the relationship between the young athlete and their parent(s) benefits from some spit and polish. In other words, it’s okay and functions, but it could – like most things – be that little bit better. Remember, [most] parents are not qualified experts in complex psychological concepts such as emotions and motivation.

Here are some examples of some great questions that I have had from some of my younger sporting clients over the years:

  • How do I explain to my father that I would prefer it if he did not attend my competitions because of his win-at-all-costs mindset?
  • I would like to have a boyfriend, but I know that Mum would see this as me getting distracted from my long-term sporting goals. Can you help me with this?
  • My folks put so much pressure on me. I don’t think they mean this, but they do. Should I tell them to take it easy?
  • I want my Mum and Dad to be my parents, not my coaches!

When providing advice to these kinds of difficult but important questions, we rarely try to change the parents’ way of being. Let’s take the “win-at-all-costs” question above as an example. It’s unlikely that I would attempt to explain to that parent directly why that way of thinking might not be ideal.

Instead, I typically prefer assisting their offspring in understanding why many parents are so “outcome-focused” and how they can, as the athlete/performer, manage this better.

This Makes Sense, Tell Me More …

First, we prefer to spend most of the flexible consultation time that comes with our various monthly options with the athlete. Although we’re happy to have the occasional brief conversation with a parent, we rarely have the luxury of extra time to have extensive discussions with anyone else outside of the well-defined consulting process. This is where email/text messages have revolutionised sport psychology services. It allows parents/guardians to share concerns or ideas with their son or daughter’s psychologist without using the 1-on-1 consultation time that is so critical during the mental conditioning process.

So, the advice that we generally give in these scenarios is roughly along these lines:

Genuine mental tests come in many packages. One of the most common is that the people you spend time with will not always make what you’re trying to do easy. Sometimes on purpose (e.g. hypercriticism) but more often by mistake managing both family and non-family relationships is tough. The mental training process will remain incomplete until this is something you can manage regardless of who you spend your time with.

If a family comes up as an “issue” during the mental conditioning process, this gives us a golden opportunity 🥳 to get some genuine mental toughness training done. In other words, instead of trying to make a situation mentally harder on purpose, we can use these “natural issues” to practice our newfound mental skills. Imagine this. A huge family argument the night before a big competition can work in the long-term favour of the teenager who, with the proper psychological support, has to learn not to allow this to impact what they do the following day.

How Much To Push?

Maybe the most challenging part of raising young elite athletes is knowing how much to push. One of the Mothers of one of our clients recently asked the psychologist working with her daughter if he had any advice on this. In other words, given the added demands young athletes face, how much pushing, nagging, and cajoling is necessary? And when does it become too much? This is an excellent question.

The clues to many psychological dilemmas are often “somewhere in the middle”. In other words, trying not to end up at either extreme can be helpful. An analogy of water temperature can help. When running a bath for your baby son/daughter, we ensure the water is neither too hot nor too cold.

Think of pushing too much as being the same as water temperature that is too hot to bathe in (40 degrees, ouch 🥵). And not bothering to push (remind, nag) at all is the same as water temperature that is too cold (10 degrees 🥶). Parents – aim for somewhere in the middle (25 degrees 😉).

From a psychological point of view, most qualified sport psychologists will be more than happy to do some of the pushing for you. Parenting is hard enough as it is without you also having to try and motivate your youngest(s) without any formal sport psychology training.

Degrees of Freedom

From my point of view, this is the ideal guide for the parents of young athletes. The younger they are, the more I suggest you reduce the possibility of extremes and try to control the degrees of freedom. For example, for elite athletes under ten, maybe you try hard not to have that colossal family punch-up the night before. For those between ten and fifteen, if an argument happens organically, let it happen. Older than fifteen, maybe start an argument on purpose once in a while to give them an extra opportunity to implement their ever-increasing mental toughness.

Let’s use the preparation of equipment as another example of this. Very young; get all their stuff ready by yourself and let them sleep. Slightly older; remind them to do it and help a little. Older still; hope they do everything themselves and accept that if they don’t, there will be a consequence, and they will learn from it. You get the idea, no?

8 ‘Quick Wins’ for The Parents Of Young Elite Athletes:

Law of Reverse Effect

This 12 minute article is a ‘must read’ for anyone vaguely interested in sport psychology and/or human performance enhancement.

SAMARA RUSSIA – MARCH 10: Nathan Jawai of BC UNICS gets ready to throw from the free throw line in a game against BC Krasnye Krylia on March 10 2012, in Samara, Russia.

Theories Galore

One of the best and worst aspects of modern-day sport psychology is our sheer number of theories. Wow, there is a lot to choose from. The upside of having so many frameworks to draw from is it’s rare we encounter a challenge without at least some empirical guidance. Struggling with your confidence? No worries, we’ve got you covered. Finding yourself in the middle of a motivation rut during the middle of the season? Easy Peasy, we’ve got about a dozen processes specifically designed to help with that. 

But of course, there is a downside as well. Information overload! Due in part to the fact that we employ several sport psychologists and performance psychologists and, therefore, are ethically obliged to agree with one another to a certain degree, we have always been interested in organising these theories in some way.

A Theory For All The Theories

By organising, I mean sorting them into different types. For example, which of them contain useful and useable processes? When you examine many of these models properly, you’ll be surprised how many don’t contain applied advice.

Let’s take the Theory of Internal And External Motivation as an example. It is a great concept but falls short regarding practical tips. So, for example, running a workshop on types of motivation for a group of athletes rarely impacts their actual motivation.

Then, there are some theories that virtually nobody has come across. And yet, without too much creativity, they are packed with usable recommendations. The Law of Reverse Effect is just one of these.

Have You Heard About The Law of Reverse Effect?

The Law of Reverse Effect is sometimes called The Law of Reversed Effect (with a ‘d’ at the end of reverse) or The Law of Reverse Effort or The Backwards Law.

Classic psychology, we can’t even agree on the thing’s name!

Speaking of which, have you voted yet for what you believe should be the correct spelling of sport(s) psychology from now on? If not, you can vote here to have your say.

Anyway, The Law of Reverse Effect suggests that “the greater the conscious effort, the less the subconscious response” or “whenever the will (conscious mind) and imagination (subconscious) conflict, the imagination (subconscious) always wins.”

Non-psychobabble takeaway?

At some point, when your motor skills are automated enough (muscle memory has been established), then trying hard to hit the ball, stick the dismount, or make the right incision (surgeon) will have the reverse effect and potentially make you worse. It would be like trying hard to walk better.

Neuroscience Time

How is this possible? Surely, putting in the maximum effort is universally beneficial. Wrong.

To explain, we need to tap into a little bit of neuroscience. When you complete a body movement, your basal ganglia and cerebellum attempt to learn how it was done. The more you repeat the same movement, the stronger the memory of the muscles becomes. After a while, the movement becomes automatic. In other words, it can be done and prefers to be done without conscious effort. One of the best examples is walking for able-bodied people.

Thinking about how to complete this body movement acts as a circuit breaker for this automatic process. Muscle memory is blocked, and your body returns to a novice/learning mode. The prefrontal cortex overrides the basal ganglia and cerebellum. As you can imagine, in the work that we do, this is very useful information. It informs us that it is not that trying too hard is the problem but rather what type of effort is best avoided. 

Have You Worked It Out Yet?

That’s right, it is the mental effort related to the technical aspects of what you do. The biomechanics of the putt, punt, pass or pivot. In essence, the last thing we want to think about when you are lining up to take the corner kick is how to kick the soccer ball.

So, if we spare ourselves from the technical or biomechanical elements of effort when we are under pressure to perform, what does that leave us with? It leaves us with mental effort about something other than technique.

For example, saying to yourself “trust your processes or stick to your processes” doesn’t interfere with the neurones involved in automatic muscle memory. So these cognitions can coexist quite happily with allowing your body to do what it’s learnt how to do.

The same applies to reminding oneself about tactical aspects. Let’s use the previous example about taking a penalty in soccer/football. The decision about where to aim the shot is both necessary and non-interfering of muscle memory.

These mental and tactical endeavours are already occurring in the conscious front part of the brain. Therefore, by their very nature, they are completely out of the way of the basal ganglia and cerebellum. No short-circuiting is taking place.

Thoughts Are Not Essential

Of course, it would be remiss of me not to mention in an article of this type that there is no need to have any pre-meditated thoughts before or during one of these memorised body movements. The basal ganglia and cerebellum will do their job whilst you are thinking about almost anything other than how to do that skill.

Please note that this is only for expert performers whose skills are already automated. This does not apply to novices learning the skills for the first time.

To cut through all of this psychobabble, I often give advice to my sporting clients as follows. Put all your effort eggs into the preparation basket, and then come competition time, turn up and let it happen. And yes, this also applies at the highest levels of competition, such as world championships and the Olympics. It’s, in fact, even more important in these kinds of high-pressure situations.

Interested But Need A Hand?

Has this article piqued your interest in improving either your mental health or mental aspects of your sport/performance? Then Get In Touch via one of these methods: ⏩ Email us directly at [email protected] and let us know more about you and how we can help. ⏩ Fill in one of our four Mental Toughness Questionnaires and tick the box at the end when it asks if you’d like to receive info about our services.

Good to Great

‘Good to Great’ is an article by one of our sport psychologists and has nothing to do with the book of the same name. Any overlaps in the content are a complete coincidence as the author has not yet read the book ‘Good to Great’ by Jim Collins. Nor is this article associated with the Tennis Academy of the same name in Sweden. Enjoy.

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS – The Dutch women’s field hockey team poses for a team photo after winning the world championships hockey at the Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014.

Good to Great At What?

Yes, this is an excellent place to start. Of course, without too much imagination, we could try to improve our abilities at virtually anything. We could try to become better friends, employees, badminton players, lovers, teammates, husbands/wives … the list goes on. Although it is not entirely far-fetched to be able to extend performance psychology principles to all of these areas and more, doing so can be perilous as we risk “chasing too many rabbits and catching none”. 

So, in the context of this article and the work we do at Condor Performance, we will focus mainly on motor skills. In other words, moving from good to great at a sport or other performance areas that require human movement excellence and consistency (military, medical, performance arts).

The Bell Shaped Curve (aka BSC)

For those of you who have never heard of the BSC, let me quickly introduce it to you – for it truly is a thing of beauty. For virtually everything where performance can be measured, there exists some form of bell-shaped curve of abilities.

As you can see from the picture below, the overwhelming majority of people who participate in a particular domain are neither awful nor awesome. Roughly 50% will fall in the middle of the spectrum of abilities, somewhere around GOOD plus or minus a little. In other words, it’s not hard to become quite good at something, especially if you live in the right location and have the right genetics. Full credit goes to SimplyPsychology for the excellent picture below, which can be viewed in its original location here.

Fun Runs 

Some of the best examples of the normal distribution are Fun Runs. These are 5-km or 10-km organised running races (mainly on the road but some on trails) that anyone can enter, often taking place on weekends. If you look at the finishing times of these events and plot them on a graph, you will see, time and time again, a bell-shaped curve.

Very, very few participants will complete these races in really fast times and really slow times. Regardless of the amount of training done, most participants will finish around a similar time to most competitors. So predictable is this that for massive fun runs like Sydney’s City To Surf, they will put on extra staff at the finishing line for the ‘middle mob’.

I am a classic example of this. I never train seriously for these runs, but with a combination of favourable genetics for running and bloody-minded determination on race day, I always do quite well and slightly better than average. Beating plenty of runners who train more than me is a given. But I never come close to finishing inside the Top 10%. Why?

Because going from Good to Great is exceptionally hard. And for good reason.

One of the main reasons it’s so hard is because natural ability/talent/superior genetics no longer plays a significant role in the same way it does from beginner to good. Of course, these factors still play a role, but beyond reasonable, the quality and quantity of the hard work starts to become a much greater predictor of ongoing improvement. 

The Law of Diminishing Returns 

Although the law of diminishing returns comes from economics, it perfectly describes the other primary reason why moving from ‘good at something’ to ‘great at something’ is so challenging.

Let’s take golf as an example.

For each shot that you reduce your handicap, the next shot is slightly harder as you get closer and closer to your potential. The concept of potential could be seen as your best in the context of your genetics and opportunities. So moving from a golf handicap of 15 to 10 is easier than dropping from 5 to 4, for example.

Unfortunately, the law of diminishing returns explains why so many exceptional young athletes quit. Many of these youngsters see massive, weekly improvements from ages 8 to 13 and then get frustrated when these improvements slow down and seemingly stop. So they quit, unaware that everyone’s improvements slow down once they pass the GOOD phase. 

5 Simple Steps To Help Go From Good To Great

1. Be patient!

Arguably the most important ingredient in the pursuit of excellence. The quality and quantity of your training will need to improve as you improve. This means more sacrifices as you get better. It also means that noticeable improvements will be smaller and less frequent. Do you have the patience to stick with it during this expected and demanding phase? Can you resist the temptation of eating the first marshmallow and wait for the two that will come?

2. Invest in the less common areas of performance.

Around the middle of the BSC most performers start to get pretty good at the obvious stuff. Most reasonable golfers will already have a decent swing, and most semi-pro basketballers will already be able to play a full match without running out of breath.

So, going from good to great via the two most obvious areas of sports science – physical and technical – is flawed. A far more sensible approach is to ramp up improvements in the psychological areas of performance. This, of course, includes sport-specific mental toughness but also the decision-making part of performance.

Typically called tactical, this area is often only done well at the pointy end. Including it in your everyday training will mean you get ahead of the curve. Of course, working out how to improve this less visible area is tricky, so if you need some expert guidance, get in touch with our Intake Team via our contact form and ask about our 1-on-1 sport and performance psychology services.

3. Values Should Come Before Goals

The video below by the one and only Dr Russ Harris does a better job of explaining why values need to come before goals as you go after greatness.

A must-watch 3.5-minute video!
4. Monitor Your Own Numbers

Data can be grouped into three types. Performance/competition stats are typically the most common and least reliable. For most athletes, these stats will depend on many other factors. If you are a cricket batter, the number of runs you score will be heavily influenced by the weather, the bowlers, the fielders, the umpires and the pitch – to name the most obvious.

The other two stats categories are training stats – effort and outcome. As many of my clients will be aware, I believe in the benefit of athletes monitoring their stats and ensuring the majority come from these 2nd and 3rd groups. Why? Due to the superior amount of influence we tend to have on these.

5. Keep An Eye On What The Great Ones Are Doing

This used to be hard to do, but it’s becoming easier. For a start, without breaking the strict confidentiality we, as psychologists, have with our clients, we can provide clues about some of the reasons why the best are, in fact, the best (because we work with a whole lot of them 😃).

The other relatively new resource helping with this step is the boom of sports documentaries. From Wrexham to Drive to Survive, we are getting better access to what happens behind the scenes in elite sports. For example, watching every Break Point episode with a notepad and pen should be compulsory if you are a good tennis player and want to be GREAT.

If you have enjoyed this free article, please take a few minutes to let us know why via the comments section below. Didn’t agree with something? Cool, explain why below. Questions? List them below now. If you wait til later, you’ll forget.

How To Measure Mental Toughness

Mental aspects of training, mental aspects of competing, general functioning / mental health and wellbeing can all be measured.

How To Measure Mental Toughness. It’s easier than it sounds. All you need is a smart device, an internet connection and some honesty.

“I have been struck again and again by how important measurement is to improving the human condition”

Bill Gates, Co Founder of Microsoft

Mental Toughness Is Measurable … Just

I am rather jealous of professionals who assist athletes with the physical side of performance. Tests like the VO2 max for cardiovascular endurance, and stretch and reach tests to measure flexibility simply don’t have objective mental equivalents.

Assessing Mental Toughness is so tricky that when Condor Performance first started offering sport and performance psychology services back in 2005, we didn’t even attempt it! Instead, we just asked meaningful questions during the Kick Start Session (our first-ever session with a new client).

But if not bothering with something because it was hard was something we did frequently, we’d be in the wrong business. So, over the years, we have tried on an ongoing basis to improve how we assess the very areas we help our clients with. Namely their mental health and mental toughness. I will not go into detail about why we measure mental aspects of performance (mental toughness) and mental health separately, as you can read a full explanation of this here.

Measuring Mental Toughness Will Always Be An Estimation

Fact: There is no direct way to measure anything psychological. We can try to assess several areas via questions and/or observations, but at best, the results of these will act as a “guide”. Measuring Mental Toughness will always be an estimation, an approximation.

The exception to this would be a formal intelligence test (such as the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale). Although it would be easy to fake a poor score on the WAIS (by giving incorrect answers on purpose), it would not be possible to get a high score without actually possessing those abilities. This makes tests such as the WAIS more objective than most other psychometrics, which rely 100% on opinions and/or observation.

With The Luxury Of Time …

With the luxury of time, the reliability of the information collected can be improved. Observing athletes or performers in real-life situations can provide very valuable extra data when attempting to measure mental toughness and mental health. In the work we do as qualified sport and performance psychologists, this tends to be slightly easier when working with professional athletes who are televised all the time when they’re competing. For example, for tennis players ranked in the top 50 in the world, every minute of every match will be professionally filmed and therefore easy to get hold of and watch back. It goes without saying that this high-quality footage is a more useful record of the tennis player’s body language than asking him or her about it.

For the performers who are not automatically filmed as part of what they do then some creativity is required. Fortunately, with the invention of smart devices, it is now much easier than it was to ask a family member to record our clients whilst they are competing and/or performing.

Another way to improve the accuracy of the information being collected is to ask multiple sources. Human beings are not always the most reliable reporters of information about themselves. Asking family members, coaches and teammates can really help boost the likelihood that the data we are collecting is solid.

Relative Subjectivity

Mainly due to sheer convenience, the majority of psychometrics are what we call ‘self-report measures’. Basically, these are questionnaires consisting of open or closed questions that the test subject answers themselves. But although these answers are opinions it doesn’t render these tools useless by any means. It just means we have to be mindful of their relative subjectivity when interpreting the results.

“What exactly are we trying to measure here?”. This is a great question when choosing, designing or reviewing any psychological assessment. Our psychologists consider the main purpose of our questionnaires (below) to be time savers. Without the answers to one of our Mental Toughness Questionnaires in front of us from the very beginning, we would have to use the majority of the first session asking about really, really basic stuff.

When these fundamentals have already been asked and answered via one of our online assessments it allows us to jump straight into some of the more meaningful topics within the first 30 minutes with a new client. This allows us to move on to ‘solutions’ much earlier in the process. We’re mainly interested in these four general areas:

  • Mental aspects of training
  • Mental aspects of competing (if competing)
  • General functioning / mental health and wellbeing
  • Other important stuff like age, sport and long-term goals

Five Major Subcomponents of Mental Toughness

The open and closed questions then generate scores about various aspects of mental toughness and mental health. It looks something like this when we get the email from Qualtrics.

Summary Scores

Overall Training Mental Toughness = 72 %

Overall Mental Health = 63 %

Breakdown of Your Current Mental Toughness:

Emotions9 **
Depression2 Normal
Anxiety12 E. Severe
Stress9 Mild

These tables provide the sport psychologist or performance psychologist with incredible insight into how to assist this performer.

Let me use the above made-up example to explain. This athlete or performer wants to prioritise how they manage their emotions during training as well as their everyday anxiety.

Mental Health is screened for with the inclusion of The Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21) at the end of all our Mental Toughness Questionnaires.

Due to the fact that 99% of our work is 1-on-1 then we can work on both mental toughness and mental health at the same time without pretending they are the same thing!

Four Free Mental Toughness Questionnaires

The four questionnaires are listed below. They can be completed by anyone for free looking to gain insight into the areas already mentioned. The questionnaires are all similar but use language relevant to that role (for example, officiating instead of performing). The coaches’ questionnaire is the most different as this also includes a section asking about the coaches’ perceived mental coaching abilities. Let’s not pretend or assume that being mentally tough and mentally well automatically makes you a good mental coach.

Why not jump into the one that is most relevant to you and fill it out now? It goes without saying that it is best done in a focused setting and that the more honest you are the more accurate and beneficial the result will be. Depending on the time of year one of our team will email you your results within two or three days. And if you are the kind of person who wants to actually improve on the scores there is an option to ask for information about our individualised performance psychology services.

Mindfulness For Sport

Mindfulness For Sport is a free article by one of our Senior Sport Psychologists on the subtle differences between Mindfulness for Sport and Regular Mindfulness.

Mindfulness and Sport – Like Fish and Chips

Mindfulness For Sport

For most competitors, the ideal outcome is excellence over a long period of time …longevity and consistency.

It’s worth starting this short article on Mindfulness For Sport by clarifying a few things. The word performance tends to refer to the bit that is required under pressure of competition. Of course, there is a performance element to practice, but I find it easier to separate preparation from performance.


Because the ideal mindset for each is very different, on the one hand, preparation wants to be all about constant improvement. Going into a gym session, for example, it would be useful to know what physical areas will be targeted for improvement during the next 60 minutes.

This is in stark contrast to the optimal mindset for competition day. Wanting to improve on our previous performance is very rarely something that we have a lot of influence on. So, the ideal mindset for ‘the big dance’ is actually just turning up. Turning up combines trusting the previous preparation with being as present and mentally flexible as possible.  

It is absolutely possible to try too hard when you compete. 

You can read this entire article on The Law Of Reserve Effect for more on this.

How Does Performance Mindfulness Fit Into This?

Performance Mindfulness is not the same as regular mindfulness. Regular mindfulness is typically done for mental health benefits alone. And, of course, we now know that there is a strong association between mental health and performance, so indirectly, there should be a performance boost by doing anything to improve your MH.

But for mindfulness to have the kind of impact on performance that we want it to, it requires a few additional ingredients.

You need to treat ‘becoming better at being mindful/present’ as you would any other improvement area. It requires practice sessions, regular practice sessions. Going to the gym now and then is a waste of time. So, trying to be mindful/present once in a blue moon will also not achieve much.

Furthermore, you really want a combination of Synthetic and Organic mindfulness practice. Synthetic, for example, is the use of one of the many Mindfulness Apps. An alternative to these is using the Really Simple Mindfulness recording I created earlier this year.

Listen Or Download Below

Using one or both of these three times a week for a year ticks a significant box. But we want a clear link between doing that work and what you are required to do on the weekend.

The best way is to make some of your practice mentally harder on purpose. Maybe it’s a case of just moving your skills session to the hottest part of the day to increase the likelihood that your thoughts and feelings will try to distract you. The secret ingredient of synthetic mindfulness training is that it should increase your ability to simply notice uncomfortable thoughts and feelings while sticking to the task at hand.

It’s also possible to come up with mentally harder training sessions that have nothing to do with your actual sport. As most of my clients will know all too well, we often work together to design small exposure exercises that occur as part of everyday life. For example, one of my clients will start a conversation with a random person every time he goes to the supermarket. This can’t be with one of the staff, as this is too comfortable!


Most of the time, when we provide sport psychology tips via our blogs, it need not come with a warning. However, as per the above example, the concept of intentional exposure to uncomfortable situations is one of those rare scenarios where it would be far better for you to design this concept in collaboration with a regulated sport or performance psychologist.

If this is something you’d like to explore, then get in touch with our Admin Team via the Contact Form here, and one of the crew will get back to you within a few days to explain everything and anything about what we do at Condor Performance and how we can help you to take that next step (and the one after that and so on). 

For further reading on this topic, please click here to open a 2019 article on the same topic.

The Confidence Myth

The Confidence Myth is the notion that we generally tend to OVERVALUE how important confidence is in sport and performance. Read more here.

The Confidence Myth = You Need To Be Confident To Perform Well

What Is The Confidence Myth?

Let us start with a fact. You do not need to be confident in order to perform well. I know it feels like you do, but you don’t.

A feeling of confidence is not an essential ingredient to performance consistency and excellence. In other words, human beings are more than capable of performing very well with little or no confidence.

So, The Confidence Myth refers to anything that suggests otherwise. And I’m well aware that this will come as a major shock to many and may produce a bit of controversy around this article. If you disagree, then I recommend that you do the following. First of all, read this article twice in detail. Once you have done this, provide a counterargument via the comments section below, and I will do my best to respond as soon as possible. 

This Myth Is Very Entrenched

Many people involved in competitive domains will preach about the importance of being confident. I hope that this article goes someway to correcting this very common furphy.

If you Google quotes containing the word confidence, you will find thousands of statements from the past perpetuating this myth. There are some real stinkers out there. I will list just two of them:

“If you don’t have confidence, you’ll always find a way not to win.”

Carl Lewis

Sorry, Carl, I mean no disrespect, but this is completely incorrect.

“If you do not believe you can do it then you have no chance at all.”

Arsène Wenger

Sorry Arsène, but this is not true. Recent sports psychology research confirms this.

What Is Confidence Really?

Before going through why chasing confidence directly is risky, I thought learning more about the word itself would be worthwhile. The origin of the word confidence comes from Old French. Here is a screenshot from Etymonline:

The word trust appears a few times above, so this appears to be meaningful.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines confidence as “the quality of being certain of your abilities or having trust in people, plans, or the future”.

Hmm, more trust … with a pinch of certainty in there, too.

A Thought, A Feeling Or A Combination?

Putting confidence under the microscope from a psychological perspective is essential here. Some may experience ups and downs of confidence in a very cognitive way. In other words, being full of confidence will essentially be automatic thoughts like “I know I can do this”.

On the other hand, a lack of confidence will be mainly experienced via self-doubting thoughts. The most common might be “I suck, I know I’m going to fail etc”.

Others might experience variations in confidence in a much more emotional manner. This may be as simple as feeling confidence via bodily sensations, commonly associated with being relaxed. And on the other hand, feelings of underconfidence may show up as nervousness and the like.

How Do You Experience It?

In psychological flexibility frameworks such as ACT, thoughts, feelings, and actions are not as linked to one another as initially believed. In other words, you can feel hungry and not eat (an action). Or you can eat (action) whilst not feeling hungry. You can think about the consequences of missing the spare (ten-pin) but still execute your pre-bowling routine and start the ball on the ideal line (action).

Confidence is NOT an action.

PsychFlex is a big deal for us at Condor Performance. We attempt to help the performers develop skills that will allow them to execute their required actions and processes, regardless of how they are feeling and thinking at that time.

One way that it was explained to me many years ago, which I like, is that it removes a lot of unnecessary conditions that we inappropriately put on ourselves to perform well. 

I need A, B, C, D, E, X and Y to perform well! Wrong!!

In reality, it’s more like this:

To perform well, I need just A, B and C. With A getting there on time, B having the best possible pre-game prep, and C having your equipment. Of course, there is a strong argument that a certain amount of quality preparation would be useful, but come competition time, that’s all in the past.

Although I’ve referenced this throughout the years, I think it’s very important to use this article to clarify why “to perform well I need A, B, C, D, E, X and Y” is such a barrier to the Holy Grail of consistently excellent performances.

If D, E, X and Y are specific thoughts and feelings, and we know that our influence on these is tenuous at best, we will always struggle when those thoughts and feelings are not showing up in the way we’d like to. Not through lack of intent but as a natural byproduct of how the human mind works.

Examples Please!

Of course, you can try to think a particular way via some preparation or previous rehearsal. Maybe you are a cricket or baseball batter who likes to think, “Watch the ball” when the bowler or pitcher is about to release it. There is nothing wrong with using these cue words unless your actions of actually fixating on the ball depend on these three little words.

Unlike actions, such as the trigger movement, which after a certain number of repetitions becomes virtually guaranteeable – this mantra, as simple as it is, may actually abandon you when you need it more. Maybe the crowd is so loud that you cannot hear yourself think. Maybe the pressure is so high that your thoughts become self-protective in nature.

Interestingly, some high-performers have worked this out. In the short YouTube video clip, you get to hear from some outstanding cricket batters on what they are doing in order to watch the ball, but none of them actually reference saying “watch the ball”. 


It’s important for me to summarise by clarifying that a feeling of confidence is by no means a bad thing. In fact, in our latest definition of what performance mental toughness actually is (coming soon), we actually include confidence as something we regard as beneficial. But it’s crucial that we accept that any feelings of confidence are simply a natural by-product of us being competent. 

Since 2005, we have helped countless individuals and teams to improve their confidence, but we don’t do this talking about confidence directly. We have done this by assisting them in optimising their performance. And surprise surprise, greater confidence normally follows.

And this is exactly the approach we’d use with you if you decided to become one of our clients too! To make a formal enquiry about our 1-0n-1 performance psychology services, please Get In Touch via this form here.

Pre Competition Routines

How do you spend the hours before you compete? More importantly, does this time help or hinder your performance?

How do you spend the hours before you compete? More importantly, does this time help or hinder your performance?

Pre Competition Routines

Although most of our 1-on-1 clients come from sports, we also work with a select number of non-sporting performers. Some are doctors (medical personnel), others are students, and there is also a heathy group of military and special forces performers in there too!

If there is one thing that all of these Condor Performance clients (past and present) have in common, it’s this. Their abilities will be tested via some upcoming event or events. For the athletes and coaches that we work with, these tests tend to come in the form of sporting competitions. For the rest, it could be an exam, a speech, a board meeting, a concert, a sales pitch, a procedure or an operation.

Pre-competition Routines should really be called Pre-Performance Routines, but either way, they are a significant tool in modern-day performance psychology.

PCRs – The Basics

Regardless of what type of event it might be, the same basic rules apply. You’re trying to time your “A-Game” for that event … for when it matters. And if your A-Game is not possible, then being smart about your preparation to guarantee your B-Game is essential to performance consistency.

In many ways, the work that performance/sport psychologists do is just that. We help athletes, coaches, sporting officials, and non-sporting performers be as good as possible when it counts. Note the ‘as possible’ part. Trying to be excellent 100% of the time is impossible and counterproductive. For more on this, read this feature article on Perfectionism.

But how exactly do we go about helping performers to be as good as possible when it counts?

Pre Competition Routines are Mental Skills

For a start, we take the individual differences that exist between people very seriously. What this means is that although all of the mental skills we suggest are scientifically based, the way we introduce them is highly tailored to the individual.

The one-on-one conversations that dominate our working time ensure that the psychological skills are all based on the needs and wants of that person. Not the client before or after, but the one sitting in front of us right now. In some situations, these can be the exact opposite of what we suggested to his/her teammate an hour beforehand.

But sports science ensures that despite the highly tailored nature of our work, there are still common threads that keep the complex tapestry together.

What’s The Main Aim Of A Good PCR?

One such common thread is the importance given to the lead-up to a competition. To put it bluntly, the day or three before the competition is a time that is often skipped when looking at optimal performance strategies. It often slips between the cracks of practice and competing.

In my work, I consider it to be part of the competition. In other words, competition for my clients starts with their Pre Competition Routine, not the actually completing part. For sports that either last a long time (cricket) and/or have long tournaments, this process can last for days rather than hours.

But despite this variation in duration, the overall intention of these routines is always the same. They are designed, through actions, not thoughts, to help the performers become as present and focused on their processes as possible. Trust the work that has taken place and let their muscle memory do its thing.

Easier Said Than Done!!

Here are four golden rules to help you.

First, the word routine(s) is probably not the best choice of words here. The word routine can suggest it’s got to be the same every time. This can be distracting and, therefore, defeats the purpose.Pre-event preferences’ is arguably the best semantic label for this mental skill.

In other words, there wants to be a certain degree of flexibility built in from the very part. This is crucially important and is the first of the golden rules for good reason. Think about it. Putting on your lucky socks and accidentally forgetting them at home. You really want to listen to your favourite playlist, but your phone runs out of battery just before you click play on Spotify. For every single part of your routine, there needs to be a backup that is guaranteed. And an acceptance that your actual performance does not depend on your PCR. Analogy: it can be helpful to know some Japanese when travelling to Japan, but it’s not essential. Useful, not crucial.

Second Golden Rule

The second golden rule is to remember what works for you works for you. Individual differences in sport psychology are a very big consideration. Even if you are an athlete who is part of a team sport, ideally, the majority of your lead-up to kick-off time is spent doing things you want to do and not what the coaches think is best for you.

The third rule is that practice makes permanent. In other words, if you want to ease through your Pre Competition Routine on the actual day of the competition, it’s a very good idea to practice it multiple times beforehand. One of the best ways to do this is via visualisation.

The final golden rule is to try to get in front of someone qualified if you want help with this mental skill (or others). There is a growing number of pseudo-professionals out there who mean well but do not have the appropriate training to assist you / anyone with mental health/toughness changes.

The Condor Performance team is made up of only qualified psychologists, so get in touch if you’d like to learn more about who we are and what we can do for you.

Sport Psychology for Motorsports

‘Sport Psychology for Motorsports’ is a 2023 feature article by Condor Performance’s Darren Godwin. Don’t stop reading if you are not involved in motorsport. It is generally not that hard to work out ways in which these suggestions below might also apply to your sport or performance area.

Sport Psychology for Motorsports: A perspective on the mental aspects of motorsports where fractions of a second make the difference.

Motorsports Are Expensive!

One of the most challenging aspects of motorsports compared to traditional sports is their sheer cost. To give some perspective, an article from Red Bull in 2022 estimated the cost of a single Formula One car to be approximately Fifteen Million Euros. Yep, that’s a lot of cheddar! And we have yet to consider transporting the vehicle, a team of mechanics, tyres, fuel, etc. Of course, this is at the top tier of motorsports, where each piece of the car is custom-made. The components are toiled over by the best engineers. The expense is less drastic for other motorsports, but the principle is still the same.

So, what does this mean for drivers? 

It can create some psychologically challenging dynamics often missing from other sports. For example, concerns about damaging the car, potential severe injury from crashing, not having a spot on a team or even your season coming to an early end. This can lead to mental pressures where drivers go slower than they want in a sport where they must do the opposite.

In this article, we will review some suggestions for how to get ahead of this and be as prepared as possible. As always with our Sport Specific Sport Psychology (SSSP) articles, don’t stop reading if you are not involved in motorsport. It is generally not that hard to work out ways in which these suggestions might also apply, at least in part, to your sport or performance area.

Stress Is Normal, Very Normal

If you are a regular reader of our articles, you should be familiar with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). One of the underpinnings of ACT is the research around the function of our biology. Humans have a stress response to potential threats, and our physiological response prepares us for this. Examples include increased heart rate, dilated pupils, sweating, and higher alertness. All of this prepares and helps us to stay alive in the face of danger and might also give you an edge in competition.

The internal combustion engine was invented in 1872, so our biology has existed for much longer than motorsport. This means that even though we might be accustomed to being in a car or on a bike, there is a high likelihood that racers will still have a stress response. This is entirely normal. Stressors can be more extreme in motorsports as the vehicle is designed for speed more than comfort. Loud engine noises, chattering chassis, vibrations, tyre squealing, and a super results-focused industry combine to make motorsports a highly stressful pursuit.

Part of the challenge drivers face is the discomfort of this stress before a race. This is a normal human response, so we are looking to drop the struggle with our own experience and shift our focus towards what is essential to do in this moment. If you’d like to read more about this concept, often called Psychological Flexibility, then a great place to start is with these two articles. This one is by the founder of Condor Performance, Gareth, and/or this one from my colleague Madalyn Incognito.

Limited Seat Time

Another implication of the financial challenges drivers face is that they can not practice on a track as often as they would like. Part of sport psychology for motorsports is helping drivers become as prepared and skilled as possible for the demands of their tasks. Physical practice is the most common process for developing skills and confidence. In traditional sports such as soccer, taking a ball to the park to practice dribbling is easy. This is where we look to enhance practice on and off the track with a heavy dose of creativity.

In this instance, try to see the concept of practice as a combination of quality and quantity. One of these is more important than the other. There is not a lot of benefit to increasing the quantity of practice if the quality is poor.

Lots of track time is limited in motorsport, so evaluating the quality of the time you get is essential. The rule of thumb is to be as specific and intentional as possible. Try to predetermine what the highest quality practice might look like for you. Here are some examples. A concerted effort towards hitting break markers, the timing of getting on the throttle after the corner and progressive throttle shaping. Feel free to share your ideas below in the comments👇.

Simulator (‘Sim’) Practice

Add it to the list of expenses 😬, but getting access to a simulator is one of the best ways to increase practice and does not come with as many ongoing costs such as petrol, tyres and travel. Depending on your simulation software and rig, you can get access to many cars and multiple tracks, which would be incredibly difficult to do physically on a regular basis.

The principles above still apply. Ideally, plan and organise your sim practice to ensure high quality. The sim’s convenience can lead to many factors that decrease practice quality. Simply booting it up and trying to put up fast lap times is not intentional or specific.

Going further into enhancing your practice, you may also want to consider doing a full race rehearsal, in other words, treating a part of your day like you would the actual race. Go through your pre-race routine the way you usually would. Warm up the same way, do qualifying laps and then the race. Rehearsal is a great way to familiarise ourselves with the entire event process and is often overlooked. 

Time in the sim is not identical to the real thing. There are limitations to what you can practice. For example, we can feel the G-Force with other senses when physically driving. If you want to practice handling the car when it breaks traction, the simulator might not be the best tool for that particular practice.


There is a form of practice that is entirely free and beneficial for all motorsports competitors.  Visualisation or mental imagery is recreating the performance or experience as closely as possible in our mind.

Visualisation is an incredibly accessible and scientifically valid form of practice. It can be easily added to a practice schedule, and even better, it can be helpful as backup practice if an uncontrollable circumstance interrupts your initial plans.

At a high level, the idea is to mentally drive a lap as you would in practice or a race. The focus is on your driving from your perspective, such as the steering, brake, and throttle inputs. One way to enhance the quality of your visualisation practice is to try to include some tactile or audio elements. You could try putting on your helmet or gloves while you do this and sit in a spare/backup seat if you have one. Lastly, try to time your visualised lap. With practice, experienced drivers can visualise their lap within a second or three of their actual lap times!


Motorsports competitors have some challenging mental aspects of their performance, so sport psychology for motorsports can offer some very beneficial enhancements. If this article piqued your interest and you’d like to learn more about our range of Sport Psychology Services, please fill out the contact form here, and one of us (it might even be me 😁) will be in touch.

Psychology of Luck In Sport

What role does luck play in sporting outcomes? Mentally, how do you deal with good and bad luck? Our Founding Sport Psychologist looks at the psychology of luck in sport and performance.

Which way will the ball go? One way, you lose the point, the other, and you win

“The Harder I Work, The Luckier I Get”

Samuel Goldwyn (1976)

The Concept Of Luck In Sport And Life

Luck in sport … I recently rewatched the 2006 Woody Allen movie ‘Match Point’. The film starts with slow-motion footage of a tennis ball hitting the net and then going straight up. The voice-over says, ‘There are moments in a match when the ball hits the top of the net, and for a split second, it can either go forward or fall back. With a little luck, it goes forward, and you win.’

During the days after I watched the film, two of my sporting clients mentioned luck during our Zoom sessions. One spoke about ‘good luck’ and the other about ‘rotten, filthy luck’. One even asked me, ‘Mentally, how should I deal with luck?’ The question came at the end of the session, which luckily allowed me to do a little reading up before replying via email the following day (one of the massive benefits of our monthly approach to mental training is the ability of our clients to communicate between sessions at no additional cost).

First of all, I wanted to consider what exactly luck is. More specifically, what is it in the context of competitive sports? And is there a healthy way to interpret what luck really is from a mental toughness point of view?

Before we go through some common examples, let’s try to define luck in sports as a generic concept. Luck would appear to be the word most commonly used to describe the variances in outcomes most impacted by chance.

Lexico defines luck (the noun) as …

‘Success or failure is apparently brought by chance rather than one’s own actions’. For sport, I would adapt this to something like the following. Luck (the noun) is ‘success or failure apparently brought more by chance than through one’s own actions’.

In other words, some sports have a greater luck component than others. And indeed, this is the case. The video below shows the results of Michael Mauboussin’s research on this very question. It’s worth the watch and should automatically without you having to leave this page if you click play.

Examples of Luck In Sport

There are too many sports and too many examples to choose from to do any justice to the section. So, I will go through three scenarios I have found quite common in my work as a sport psychologist.

Example One – Luck In Sport

Let’s go back to the footage that was used at the beginning of the movie Match Point. But let’s make it more specific. You are a tennis player who is serving to stay in a match that is of great importance to you. The second point turns into a slugfest from the baseline after losing the game’s first point. An attempted cross-court winner from you results in the ball smashing into the top of the net, where it bounces right up. It then drops down millimetres onto your opponent’s side of the net. You win this point and the game. You then go on to win the set as well as the match. 

Example Two – Luck In Sport

You are a young baseballer who decided to specialise as a pitcher early on. You live for your fastballs and your curveballs. When you finally make it onto your Division One college squad, you realise that this particular team has a much better pool of pitchers than batters and fielders. It feels like rotten luck that your place in the team will probably depend on others either getting injured or underperforming in the upcoming season. Dirty, rotten luck.

Example Three – Luck In Sport

You are a cricketer who picked up a significant ankle injury just before the coronavirus turned into an official pandemic. In normal years, this injury would have resulted in you missing the season’s first ten games. However, you could complete a full rehabilitation program during lockdown due to measures introduced to contain the virus. This resulted in you missing no games at all. The coronavirus turned out to be a very lucky break for you from a performance point of view.

Spectrum of Influence

We can try and see the role that luck plays in many ways, not just in sports but in everyday life. One of the cornerstones of our approach to psychological performance enhancement is The Spectrum of Influence.

How much influence do you have on various aspects of your sport? This involves two tricky considerations. First, you have to be able to separate things that don’t normally get separated mentally. For example, the rain and putting up an umbrella or someone shouting at you and you walking the other way.

The art of mental separation is a vital pre-requisite in being able to manage Lady Luck in the most effective way. The second skill is knowing what aspects of training and competing you have lots of influence on and which you have little or no influence on.

Try It Now …

Go back and read through the three examples above once again. This time, pick out which aspects contribute to good and bad luck scenarios. Now, try and mentally separate these from one another. And finally, put them into order from most influenceable to least. In doing this, does it change the way you look at the situation in your mind’s eye? Let’s go through them together.

Example 1: The tennis ball hitting the top of the net.

So the main elements involved in this are:

  • the player (me)
  • the ball
  • my racket
  • the net
  • the winner of the point (also me)

For the sake of simplicity, let’s assume the weather played no part at all. No breeze helped push the ball to the lucky side of the net. In order of most influenceable to least, I would suggest the following:

  • me ~ most influence
  • my racket
  • the ball
  • the result of the point
  • the net ~ least influence

So you could say I have a lot of influence over the intended shot and none over the net (the height, what it’s made of, etc). With this in mind, there is a strong argument that your mindset wants to be more orientated towards yourself. In other words, instead of thinking you won that point because of the luck of the net, consider the amount of power you managed to get on the ball that still allowed it to make it over – albeit by the smallest of margins. Maybe a better mental response at the moment is a change of game plan that would allow you to hit fewer shots so close to the top of the net.

Example 2: The baseball pitcher is competing against other excellent pitchers for the first time.

In this vignette, the issue is mentally joining (fusing) the desired outcome (to be one of the starting pitchers) with the abilities of others and the decisions of the coach. Teammates, other baseballers and coaches are just other people. How much influence do you have on them? None, a little, some or lots? I would lean towards some for those you are close to and only a little for the rest. Although I can totally understand why teammates’ abilities can be perceived as a threat (bad luck), the data suggests it will have the opposite effect.

In other words, as you will have to work harder (lots of influence) due to the healthy competition, you will likely become even better. So, it might easily be said that the above example (#2) is actually a good luck scenario rather than a bad luck one. Regardless, the best mental responses will always be similar. Direct your limited mental energy towards the “stuff” you have a lot of influence on. Elements such as your own effort, your own plans and your own actions. Don’t get too caught up in the abilities of others.

Example 3: The cricketers who got lucky due to Corona Virus.

This is the trickiest vignette as it seems the most innocent. But there is a mental gremlin hiding. Can you find it? Go back and read it and ask yourself what is the danger of this situation.

As an experienced sport psychologist, I can see the issue from a mile away. The player in the example is potentially giving too much credit to this once-in-a-lifetime (we hope) pandemic. In fact, the majority of the credit wants to go to how the player responded to the setback. Of course, this is different (mentally separate) from the setback itself.

Depending on how luck or chance is perceived, you can imagine two very different statements from this cricketer at the end of the season.

“I got really lucky, you know. The virus gave me an extra ten weeks of rehab. In fact, due mainly to the pandemic, I didn’t miss a match in the 2020 season.”

Verus …

“At the start of 2020, I picked up an ankle injury. As soon as I had my rehab program, I was determined to stick to it no matter what. In the end, I managed actually to regain full fitness by the start of the season. Oh, and the season started late that year, from what I remember.”

So luck plays a part in the outcomes of sport. Sometimes a big part, other times a small part. Sometimes, luck will help you, but it will do the opposite at other times. Accept this as the ‘price of entry’ and return to your trusted, practised processes.

Want Some Help With That?

If you’d like to receive details about our sport and performance psychology services, you can get in touch in several ways.

Want to learn more about how we work first before getting in touch? Watch this 2-minute video by our General Manager David.