Psychologist gives tips on improving performance – Part 2

By Roxanne Thompson
Staff Writer
Part 2
In Part 1, sport psychologist Trey Stubbs, a Mexia native who now works for the Army at Fort Hood, spoke to the Mexia Lions Club about how he trains soldiers to use psychological skills to improve their performance, not only in combat but in all areas of life. Stubbs spoke first on two profoundly different outlooks on life: a fixed mindset, which expects the negative, versus a growth mindset, which expects the positive. The second principle Stubbs spoke about showed how changing the thought people have in response to an event can change their consequential behavior. He now goes on to describe other helpful mental constructs that people may use to improve their performance.

Self Talk
If a person thinks, “I’m probably going to have a bad day today,” they are very likely to feel defeated, uncertain and tense, Stubbs said. Consequently, the person is likely to perform poorly. That’s not to say that simply thinking positively will produce positive results, he noted. Nevertheless, if people set up their thoughts ineffectively, they will have an “unpredictable performance,” but if they set up their thoughts effectively, they will have an authentic performance, meaning the best representation of themselves. Self-talk will either propel a person to confidence or debilitate them with self-doubt.

Attention Control
A third area of Stubbs’ talk concerned attention control, which means focusing on the task at hand rather than allowing other thoughts to distract a person. The brain has something called working memory, which can only hold three to five pieces of information at a time. A common reason that people “choke,” is because they fill their working memory with things that are not relevant to the task:

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