How to use music to compete like a champ #MT30 Day 1

Welcome to Mental Training 30! Every day this month we are teaching one mental training tool. For all the latest, additional live videos and amazing conversation with other coaches,  please join us in our private Facebook group for coaches! Click here to join.

Day 1 #MT30: Below you'll find one of my favorite tips. It's simple, it's fun and it flat out works to help you and your athletes compete at your best. 

As a coach, you want your athletes to be in the right state of mind every time they compete, regardless of who you are competing against. Music can be a powerful cue for your team before a competition.


Because of something called memory association. Memory association is when one of your senses reminds you of an experience. This is because the neurons of a visual memory cluster with neurons of other senses like smell or sound. Memory association is the reason why chocolate chip cookies remind you of home and country music reminds you of summertime or that one song reminds you of your first date with your spouse. It can be a very strong and very specific association.

And we can use this to help your athletes get in the right mindset. When they play a specific song before every game they begin to associate the song with competition which then becomes a trigger to get their mind ready to compete. (And, don't forget this isn't just for athletes: you can use music to get yourself in the right mindset to coach at YOUR best.)

As an athlete, I had individual songs that I listened to before every game. In college, my team used Eye of the Tiger from Rocky before every game. Athletes can have a mix of their own individual songs and/or team songs. 

3 Tips For Using Music To Compete

  1. Stay consistent: Listen to the same song(s) every time in the same order.
  2. Build longevity: The longer you listen to the same song(s), the stronger the association.
  3. Reserve the song(s) for competition: Try not to listen to the song(s) outside of competition.

By following these rules, you’ll develop a strong association between the music and competition. You and your athletes will know that it’s game time as soon as the song plays.

A few other thoughts:

  • Have your athletes turn their phone on 'airplane mode' if they are using their phone for music. The music is not going to be as powerful if they are snap chatting at the same time.
  • It doesn't matter WHAT song it is, only that you like it and you use it regularly for competition.
  • I liked having one or two pump-up songs and one more mellow that helped get me focused and calm. Play with it though, there is no right or wrong song.

Do you use music already to get yourself or your team in the right mindset? Which song gets you pumped?  



p.s. So you don't miss out on Mental Training 30 be sure to join our private Facebook group for coaches! Click here to join.

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This is simple enough to be a great starting point for coaches who want to begin mental training their team, and robust enough to be a great addition to any existing mental training program. 

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