Help Athletes Trust the Training

Trust the Training

How To Trust In Your Training

If you trust the training, the training will kick in, says Mark Jeffery, a former army officer and Army Tennis Champion in the U.K.

He uses strategies he learned in the army to teach athletes how to trust in all that they’ve learned in training.

Athletes, like people in the military, can be plagued with uncertainty, nervousness and doubt.

Go On Auto Pilot

Sports kids need to go on autopilot, allowing their instincts to guide them. Otherwise, they will analyze and think–and that’s a bad idea, he told us during an interview for our Ultimate Sports Parent podcast.

In tennis, athletes’ bodies are naturally primed to be alert and to fight stiffly. “We’re primed as cavemen,” he says. “The body is essentially stiff and tight, you are primed for a fight.”

But sports kids need to overcome this and follow the example of Muhammad Ali, he says. “He was loose and relaxed,” says Jeffery.

Sports kids can learn how to be more intuitive and relaxed by training for specific situations that create pressure.

“You need to train under simulated pressure. If you don’t know what pressure is, the only time you encounter it is in a match when it envelops you and overwhelms you, then you don’t play your best.”

To train under simulated pressure, Jeffery provides a tennis example. He suggested sports kids establish a target to serve into, and to make it a small target. This exercise will help create pressure and teach kids how to respond to it in training.

In addition, athletes need to tell themselves what they need to do, saying “I will,” instead of “I will try.”

“‘I will’ is to honor your promise to yourself in the era of uncertainty. Most people are uncertain, they don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s saying, ‘my aim is to do my best.’” Kids shouldn’t hedge on their commitment, because it will give their brains an exit, he says.

It’s possible this strategy will create self-imposed pressure, he notes. It’s important that sports kids educate themselves about pressure and how to cope with it.

“Be educated about pressure and train under it and make it your friend and look forward to it,” says Jeffery.


“Trust the training,” says Mark Jeffery, a London-based  former Army officer and Army tennis champion who is helping organize an online summit, “Winning Summit,” which includes a Sept. 19 event for sports parents:

Listen to our podcast with Jeffery here:

*Subscribe to The Sports Psychology Podcast on iTunes
*Subscribe to The Sports Psychology Podcast on Spotify

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We’re certain that, as a parent, you want to help your child develop confidence and discipline in sports and life. And as a sports parent, you’d love for your children to reach their potential in sports. But encouraging your child to strive for greatness without pressuring them can be a challenge.

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