Elite Performance Development: Mind, body, craft & philosophy


Reading time: 5 minutes

What you’ll learn

  • How is elite performance reached and what are the different areas athletes must develop to accelerate their performance?

  • Why is it important write down personal philosophy clearly in 25 words or less?

  • How can I start training my mind right now?


Okay, let's dig into this. I have a question for you. Do you put in the work behind the scenes to train your mind? Well you should.

Why? Because that’s what all the top performers and performers striving to make it as professionals are doing.

Ok. I want to train my mind. What does that mean? How can I know what to train?

Personal Philosophy: The Big Why

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At the center of the mind-body-craft triangle is the WHY, often called the personal philosophy. This is the reason you get up in the morning to practice. This includes the destination you're going towards, and what your intent is this practice. Here are a few questions to get you started on clarifying your personal philosophy. Write down your answers on a piece of paper. 

  • What are you working on today? This sets your daily goals.

  • Do you rely on your coaches to tell you, or are you in charge of this process? This speaks to your initiative.

  • Why do I play/coach my sport? This clarifies your motivation.

  • Why is the effort I am putting in personally meaningful to me? This defines your purpose.

The Personal Philosophy Exercise

Knowing who we are, what we stand for and why we do what we do are important precursors of excellent performance in any craft (school, relationships, sports, art). What are your guiding principles? Take a moment right now to reflect on those things. Take out a piece of paper and start putting your thoughts on the page. Once you have half a page or a page, narrow it down to 25 words or less. The concise wording allows you to keep what’s important and discard the irrelevant. Once you're down to that, read it over and over until you have it memorized and it has personal meaning to you. You must be able to say it to somebody in a quick elevator ride without pulling out a piece of paper.

The reason this is so important is because now that you have this clearly articulated on a piece of paper, you can alight your actions, thoughts, and words with doing what your philosophy is. Knowing what you stand for and why you do what you do will give you clarity which will allow you to pursue your day with conviction and purpose.

The Mind, Body and Craft

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Once you’re clear on your why, there are three areas you can develop in your performance. This goes for anything outside of sports as well (e.g. parenting, singing, academics, coaching).

Here is what's at the DNA of body, craft and mind. Some of the skills listed below overlap multiple categories, but are listed in the category we believe they represent best. 

BODY = accuracy, agility, balance, coordination, power, speed, endurance, flexibility, muscular strength, body composition, performance nutrition, rest & active recovery, quality sleep, and injury rehab

CRAFT = technique, timing & rhythm, video analysis, tactics & strategy, travelling & jet lag, competition strategies, dealing with setback and adversity, training environment, adjusting & transitions. The specifics depend on the sport or discipline.

MIND = Consciousness (mindfulness & prayer, attention, awareness, flow, energy management, confidence, inner dialogue, goal setting, high performance imagery, constructive evaluation & feedback, presence, self-worth), Connection (team culture, coach-athlete relationship, team values, team building, leadership, roles & positions, key people in and outside of the sport), Composure (dealing with adversity & challenge, performance routines, deep focus, performing under pressure in rugged and hostile environments, relaxation, arousal regulation, consistency).

Coaches often leave out mental training

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The areas coaches and athletes invest more time training are Body and Craft. And if mistakes happen, or athletes underperform, then these are the first two that get inspected as causes of the mistake. So more work gets put into Body and Craft.

That leaves the Mind unexamined and untrained. Top coaches have an understanding of the human mind. Those that do not, integrate mental performance consultants into their training environment so that their athletes learn to be conscious, connected, and composed. 

A strong foundation of body mechanics, and craft skills are vital, and those physical reps in training are crucial. Not dedicating time to intentionally train the mind limits performance and only allows the athlete to reach a certain level. By investing time, effort, and resources to train the mind athletes accelerate performance in both their body and craft because knowing why you are training (the why) and the mind are the inner fabric that connect everything

What should parents and coaches do to support their athlete?

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As a coach and parent, it's important to pay attention to your athlete's behavior, motivation, and be cautious of any red flags you notice. You must read up on mental health and training the mind. The stigma around mental health is starting to be broken down and professional athletes are starting to speak out about depression, anxiety, and personal challenges. If you feel that you should reach out to people who have the skills to train your athlete's mind, do so. Yes, strengthening the mind will improve their performance. And more importantly it will enhance their well being and enjoyment in the sport.

How do I train my mind?

This depends on what sort of challenge you are facing. The approach will be different depending on the challenge you are facing. If the challenge is around optimizing performance or managing performance dysfunction, you can begin to train your mind by sharpening your mental skills on your own in just 10 minutes per day.

For practical exercises to train your mind and unleash your performance, visit our Instagram page.

Main Takeaways

  • Being clear on your personal philosophy is a prerequisite for becoming excellent at something

  • After knowing why you do what you do, you can evaluate your training plan and assess how well you are training your mind, body and craft. If an area is lacking attention, figure out how you can train it to accelerate your performance.

  • Coaches and parents are responsible for reaching out to a mental performance consultant if they notice their athlete has an untrained mind.

A gift just for you!

Would you like to train your mind to unlock your performance? Because you read this far, here is a free individual consultation so you can get clear on how to accelerate your performance! This applies if you are an athlete, coach, parent or any other performer. Let's craft your personal philosophy and unlock your potential together!