mental tune up lacrosse practice skills

Guest Post: The Mental Tune-Up

Today's Guest Post has simple tips for developing the right mental aspects and attitudes of team sports that are huge contributors to your players' success. We hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Anthony Lanzillo is a mental health professional with over 20 years experience. Lanzillo began writing about the mental game of sports in 2014 for such websites as FirstDown Playbook, Coaches Training Room, Lacrosse All-Stars, and Coaches Clipboard. He now reaches out and works with athletes as a mental skills coach. In 2012, Lanzillo served as the coordinator for the KBD LAX training program, and in 2013, he was a co-founder of the Haddon Township Lacrosse Club in Southern New Jersey which now sponsors a youth program, and boys' and girls' lacrosse at the high school level.

The Mental Tune-Up

The Mental Tune-Up is a 28-day journal or process that athletes can take themselves through to identify and use the right questions to improve their mental skills.

As a lacrosse coach, there will be times at the beginning of your team's season or sometime during the season when you will want to talk to the players about their mental skills or mental conditioning. You have to remind them, and reinforce in their minds, that just having a strong body and learning the basic skills to play the game is not enough to successfully perform on the field. They need to invest some time and energy into developing their mental skills, and being mentally prepared to play if they want to elevate their game and perform at a higher level.

One "tool" that could be very helpful in getting your players mentally ready for the season is The Mental Tune-Up. This is a 28-day journal or process that presents a series of quotes and questions that helps the athlete identify the right questions to ask to develop his or her mental skills. And it guides the athlete through the key steps to visualizing those plays and game-time situations that he or she will face during the season.

mental tune up lacrosse practice skills

When you introduce The Mental Tune-Up to your players, you can start by talking to them about cars. If you ask them what makes the car run, they will tell you it is the engine. And if you ask them what happens to the car if the engine does not get a tune-up or is not maintained, they will tell you that the car won't run as well or may even stop working. Then you tell your players that their minds are like the engines in a car. They need The Mental Tune-Up so they can play with greater concentration, composure and confidence. To play the fastest game on two feet, they need to be mentally strong and be able to make smart split-second decisions in every game.

Here are two different entries from The Mental Tune-Up:

Day 3

"Later, when he learned to play to his strengths and camouflage his weaknesses, when he started pinning opponents left and right, some came to see his missing leg in a different light. It gave him an advantage! It allowed him to carry more muscle on his upper body! It gave opponents one fewer limb to grab hold of! He's only got one leg - it's not fair!
-Ron Robles - Unstoppable

"The goal was to invest in each player's sense of himself - to acknowledge his strengths - and play to them."
-John Calipari - Players First

"...what most people don't realize is that growth accelerates at a greater rate when we attend to those things we do well...growth is always more rapid when we train our minds to learn from our strengths first and then our weaknesses."
-Craig Manning - The Fearless Mind

"Your strengths are those activities that make you feel strong."
-Marcus Buckingham - Go Put Your Strengths To Work


What are my strengths in sports and in my personal life?

How can I use my strengths to become a better player?

How can I use these strengths to serve the greater good - my team or community?

Day 13

"You must believe that you can succeed if you are to succeed."
-John G.Maxwell - 3 Things Successful People Do

"Believe what you know about yourself."
-Tim S. Grover - Relentless

"You must consider the possibility that what's stopping you is what you believe; that in effect you are stopping yourself."
-Marcus Buckingham- Go Put Your Strengths To Work

"Beliefs drive behavior, and behaviors affect performance in everything we do."
-Gary Mack - Mind Gym


What do I believe about myself - especially as an athlete?

What beliefs are stopping me from becoming a better player?

How can I build stronger and more positive beliefs?