Mental Training

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Have you ever focused so hard on not missing a shot that you ended up missing it anyway? According to Jason Selk, St. Louis Cardinals sports psychologist and author of the book 10-Minute Toughness: The Mental-Training Program for Winning Before the Game Begins, you've experienced the effects of "don't" thinking. Read on to learn how to counteract this game-ruining practice.

According to the Theory of Dominant Thought, what we think about is more likely to happen than what we don't think about. As a result, the wrong kind of dominant thoughts will mess with your game. Selk says, "If I tell myself, 'Don't rush the shot,' what I'm really doing is inviting my mind to think about rushing my shot. So if I'm thinking at all about rushing my shot, it's likely I will—even though my ultimate goal was to slow myself down."

Selk suggests reframing your thoughts so they are positive. "Instead of thinking 'Don't rush the shot,' think the opposite of that, maybe something as simple as, 'Take your time,'" he says. "Or it could be more focused on your mechanics, such as, 'Hand on the side of the ball and follow through.'"

Eliminate the word "don't" from your vocabulary. Instead, "figure out what it is that you want and what it takes to get there," Selk says.

10-Minute Toughness is available at bookstores nationwide and online at

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