How to Outrun Your Performance-Related Thought Hurdles


Derrick Adkins – 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist. “Shatter the glass”.

Elliott Blount – Head Cross Country Coach, Troy University. “Focus on the movement”

Over the course of my career, I have had the pleasure to work with many amazing coaches and athletes. Among the coaches, I worked with are 1996 Olympic 400IH Gold Medalist, Derrick Adkins and sub-4 miler, Elliott Blount. During their running careers, both possessed successful means and tricks of the trade to overcome performance related anxieties.

Through the affirmation of a seemingly simple statement and training of the mind, the athletes they worked with were able to calm themselves to a level that would allow them to compete at their highest level of potential, assuming they were physically ready.

As the most important meets of the season draw near – try these two simple proven strategies to optimize your performance. Coach Derrick Adkins would encourage his athletes to visualize each specific anxiety-causing factor. He would have his athletes visualize placing each of these thoughts on to a large piece of glass. When all of the negative thoughts and anxieties were placed upon the imagined glass, he encouraged his runners to “shatter the glass”, allowing them to watch their anxieties crumble apart and fall to the ground. On many occasions, I often overheard Coach Blount to tell his athletes to, “visualize the movement”. This mental exercise simply entails focusing your mind energy and attention on the correct execution of the required movement at hand. This allows the athlete to focus on what is physically required of them, pushing out the worries and fears of unknown arbitrarily identified and hoped for outcomes.

At this point of the season, you have done all that you are physically capable of to ready yourself for optimal performance. To fully actualize your potential be sure to ensure that you and your mind are on the same team.