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  • Introducing margin notes

    OK, my first admission! I have a terrible habit of writing in the margins of a book when I am reading. It is almost as if I can't read without a pen in my hand!

    So I am going to do something similar with these pages - you will find the main body of text on the left, but my personal notes and experiences will be found in this sidebar.

  • Mental skills

    Mental skills, like physical skills, have to be learnt and practiced. Although much of this material might seem like common sense, it can be difficult to put into action in the real world - it takes practice and time, just like learning any other skill. So don't expect dramatic improvements overnight, it is going to take a while to work out what works for you and to practice using it in the real world.

  • You're not alone!

    It sounds like a bit of a cliché to say that something is a journey. But in this particular case, it really is! What that means is that you are treading a path that others have trodden before. While what you are going through is very personal, it is something that many others have been through before. The feelings that come with the journey - frustration, disappointment, surprise, and elation - are all part of the roller coaster that each of us are on. It never stops, not matter how well we perform. Personally, I found that I turned a corner when I recognised that I wasn't the first to go through this process and I won't be the last. It was one of the major drivers behind building this website - I just wanted to make the journey a little less painful.

  • Ask any serious athlete what percentage of their performance is mental and they'll frequently say 80-90% - sometimes even higher.

    But ask them when they last worked on their mental game and you'll probably get a blank stare!

    Why does this happen?

    Here's the dilemma - although many athletes recognise the importance of the mental game, very few of them actually do anything about improving it! I see this time and time again and I have often wondered why the mental game doesn't get more attention.

    The mental game is often neglected - far too frequently, it is regarded as something that only the top sports players need to worry about. Yet players at all levels can benefit - if nothing else, it'll help you enjoy your sport more (even if you aren't worried about competing at the highest levels!). I suspect for most athletes - whatever their level - addressing their mental game will lead to a significant improvement in their performance and enjoyment of their chosen sport. However, and possibly more important, if you haven't got your mindset right, you'll really struggle to battle through the ups and downs of learning a new sport. You will be much more likely to give up.

    My personal experiences are based on clay pigeon shooting - skeet shooting in particular - but the fundamentals of the mental game apply to the majority of sports. Throughout these pages, I have included examples and video clips to illustrate how many of these principles can be applied to a variety of sports.

  • So why doesn't the Mental game get more attention?

    I think there are some major challenges when we start to look at the mental game.

    Firstly, it is personal. What works for you might not work for someone else. Plus, as your skills grow, what works for you might change over time. So if you are expecting a quick fix or expect to be able to lift what has worked for other people, you'll need to think again. I have included material on these pages that will provide you with background to how we learn new skills and how to cope with the pressure of competing. I hope this background material will give you a better understanding of the learning process, but more importantly to give you some ideas about how you can adapt these ideas to find a process that works for you. You'll end up developing your own unique approach - an approach that you will be able to evolve over time. This will allow you to grow your mental game as your skills in your chosen sport develop. Part of the fun (or should I say challenge) of learning any sport is finding out what works (and what doesn't work) for you. It will change over time. Everyone has their own journey to travel.

    The second challenge is that it is difficult to observe someone else's mental game. We can easily observe (and admire) their technique for playing a sport from afar. But trying to get inside their head and understand what is going on can be difficult (if not impossible!). Often the best we can do is to make assumptions about what a player is thinking from their external behaviour. But be careful. Even if you ask them what they were thinking, they might tell you something very different from your assumption. Sometimes, even the player themselves might not entirely know or understand what is going on in their own head, let alone be able to explain it! So there is little chance that you, as an external observer, will be able to make some 100% accurate assumptions. So be very careful!

    And lastly, many players see the mental side of the game as an admission of weakness. It almost seems to verge on questioning their mental health! As a result it is often overlooked, or worse, treated with disdain. And those that seek help, often prefer to keep it quiet. So it never really gets the attention that it deserves and the issues continue to go unrecognised by many.

    The mental game is a journey - one where we never quite reach the final destination - but one where we are constantly learning along the way. I hope these pages help you enjoy that journey.

  • Are you ready to get going?

    I have tried to make this journey as simple and painless as possible by putting some structure around the content. In many ways, this is a little artificial since a lot of the ideas are interlinked, so don't worry if you end up hopping between pages. As a starting point, you will find a set of 15 numbered pages in the drop down menu at the top of the page. If you are new to this area, you will probably find the easiest way to get started is to read them in order - the pages really aren't that long - but feel free to hop around as you please! Whatever your approach, the good news is that you have already read page 1!

Further information


There are a number of websites online that can provide more detailed information. I have included a list for you to use as a starting point.


You'll find an extensive list of books included on the Further Info pages. They are all readily available on Amazon.


There are some great TED talks available that cover many of the areas discussed on this website. I have included links to many of them on the Further Info pages.