If you would like to familiarize yourself with my work feel free to look at my website: ignitepeakperformance.com. In addition you might want to:

    As we work together, you will learn techniques and skills so that you can develop a “Peak Performance Plan.” Plans will consist of mental skills techniques, which can be used daily, pre-performance, during performance and post-performance to help you perform at your best consistently.


    • Consistent with the American Psychological Association (APA Division 47), I believe that peak performance coaching helps clients to:
      • Develop the mental and emotional knowledge, skills and abilities required to achieve and maintain excellence consistently in their performance.
      • Learn skills to cope with issues that might inhibit their performance.
    • Working with me is best for clients who believe:
      • Their thoughts impact their performance both positively and negatively.
      • Their emotions impact their performance both positively and negatively.
      • They can capitalize on their brain’s plasticity to better regulate emotion and thought to enhance their performance.
    • Clients who perform in a mental state of flow can be at their best consistently. Flow is the mental state of operation in which one is:
      • Fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, complete motivation, and enjoyment.
      • Channeling their emotions and thoughts to maximize performance.

    Flow is a temporary state. We can train our brains to be in a state of flow and to return to flow when we are knocked off course. Learning mental skills and implementing a Peak Performance Plan will help you to:

    • Elicit flow.
    • Maintain flow.
    • Return to flow when it is disrupted.
    • Reinforce flow.

    This results in the ability to perform at your best as consistently as possible.



    There are a variety of good frameworks for goal setting. You may already have a way that works for you. If so, there is no need to change a thing! For the purposes of our work together, I am including the information below so that we can conceptualize the material similarly when we meet.

    In the paradigm I use to think about goals there are two types – outcome goals and process goals. Athletes, performers, and coaches use both.

    Outcome goals focus on the achievements that you want to make such as winning a championship or game. Many things outside any one's control can impact outcome goals. Outcome goals are not particularly helpful with regard to how well you perform, but they can help motivate you. Research shows that focusing on outcome goals during competition actually inhibits performance.

    "I would tell players to relax and never think about what is at stake. Just think about the basketball game. If you start to think about who is going to win the championship, you’ve lost your focus.”
    - Michael Jordan, professional basketball player

    Process goals are broken down into two categories: performance process goals and mental process goals. Process goals are primarily within your control. You need to have a few process goals for each practice/competition to direct your focus and attention. When thinking about how to be successful, your goals need to focus on the process of your performance.
    Please take the time to define what you are hoping to achieve in your performance by completing the information below. I want you to know what you are working toward. You need to be clear about what you are trying to achieve in how you perform and how you think. It can be very helpful to share your goals with someone who can support you in achieving them.

    Process goals need to be:

    • Achievable – set goals that you know are reasonable to achieve yet a challenge.
    • Believable – set goals that you believe will help your performance.
    • Defined in very specific, focal and detailed terms.
    • Written about what you will do instead of what you will not do.
    • Focused on the present (competition) not the future.

    “I don’t focus on what I’m up against. I focus on my goals and I try to ignore the rest.”
    - Venus Williams, professional tennis player

    Performance Process Goals

    These goals focus on your actual performance. What specifically will you be doing? For example, “I will play well” is not as specific as “I will make 70% of my shots.” You will work on these goals with your coaches, trainers, teachers, and teammates. Take time to set performance process goals as a part of your training.

    Mental Process Goals

    These goals focus on the quality of your thought. How will you be thinking? Here are some good and not so good examples:

    • “I will not get upset when the ref makes a bad call” vs. “If a ref makes a bad call, I will take a deep breath and refocus on the next play”
    • “I will not freak out if I make mistakes” vs. “I will focus on the game plan”

    Our work focuses on techniques for achieving mental process goals.


    If I could only teach one thing, it would be how to breathe! Breathing techniques can help regulate emotion/intensity/energy during performance, so it is critical that you work on this.

    Please read the attached documents about breathing carefully and practice the PRI breathing techniques, specifically ‘Stimulation Breathing’ and ‘Relaxing Breathing’. This document was prepared by a physical therapist and former DI alpine skier who specializes in working with elite level athletes at college, professional, and Olympic levels.


    The quality of your thought is incredibly important! The primary focus of your peak performance coaching will be on developing good skills to regulate thinking. Below is some information to review so you will be ready to jump right in!


    Being optimistic will help you in your performance, and more importantly, in your life. Please go to this website: https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/testcenter and take the “Optimism Test.” This will help you learn more about yourself.
    If you find your optimism is weak, set some goals and make steps to work on this. There are good resources available through the link provided.

    Athletes tend to overlook good events and they do not make good use of them.

    It is very important that you take a moment to think about the fact that most athletes do not build on what they do well. Of course, you need to pay attention to mistakes, analyze them, and make goals accordingly. Athletes and performers need to do this analysis during training and practice – never during competition. Analyzing your mistakes does not mean you focus on them – ever.

    “What do you do with a mistake: recognize it, admit it, learn from it, forget it.”
    – Dean Smith, Former Men’s Basketball Coach University of North Carolina

    It is essential that you train your mind to focus on what TO DO rather than the mistake itself. Focusing on the mistake makes you more upset, leads to more negative thinking and does nothing to move you toward performing at your best. You also cannot have fun when you’re thinking about mistakes! Coaches, teachers, and trainers that focus on mistakes further reinforce a thinking pattern that inhibits performance. As I like to say...

    You cannot perform at your best by focusing on your worst.

    It is clear that paying attention to your many strengths and building on those is essential. This is true in all facets of life! Define what you already do well and work toward doing those things better and better. Build on the positive! When things don’t go well, let that inform you on how to refocus on what to do differently in the future. A mistake feels awful, but it is really just data (unpleasant and upsetting data). It tells you that you are knocked off course. Use it to refocus on what to do next. No, it is not easy, but you will learn some good techniques to help!

    Self-Talk and Performance

    Our thoughts and self-talk can hurt or help our performance. When we meet, we will review ways to change your thinking to help you perform at your best.


    Regulating your emotion is fundamental to both how you feel and perform. We will primarily talk about emotion as it relates to energy and intensity. We will review ways to regulate your emotion/intensity/energy to help you perform better.


    While mental skills training is very helpful, sometimes you can benefit from more support. Potential resources include, but are not limited, to:

    1. Your college/university/school counseling service
    2. Coaches, teachers, trainers, and physical therapists
    3. Captains
    4. Parents and family members
    5. Friends and teammates
    6. Various support groups at school and elsewhere

    If you ever have concerns and there is an imminent safety issue you need to call 911.


    LISA M. STEPHEN, Ph.D. Associate Certified Coach
    IGNITE Peak Performance, LLC
    PO Box 1034, Jericho, VT 05465 • Ph (802) 355-9299 • [email protected]
    © Lisa M. Stephen Ph.D., IGNITE Peak Performance, LLC

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