“I’ve worked with Dr. Walker in the past for my own racing and in 2010 decided that my young collegiate team could use his help as well. In a short amount of time, Dr. Walker had the group’s trust and their attention. In no time he had them convinced that with positive thinking and a super fit physical self, they would fly by the competition on race day. He was the final piece of the puzzle that we needed to fine tune the team mentally and reach our ultimate goal; Collegiate National Champions. Thank you Doc! We couldn’t have done it without you”
Mike Ricci – USAT Level 3 Elite Coach
Head Coach, University of Colorado Triathlon Team
2010, 2011,2012,2013 & 2014 Collegiate National Champs
How is Coaching different from Counseling and Psychotherapy?
Counseling and psychotherapy generally begin with a thorough history of each person’s background. There are usually trouble spots that require resolution before that person can move forward with their lives, and they know this because the issue has gotten in the way of their progress over time. In other cases, the problem may come up after a traumatic event and usually requires a more intense debriefing toward solution focused thinking.
Coaching is different in that it is focused almost entirely on the present and future course of someone’s life. These three questions can be used to begin the process, and even if someone is not sure of the answers, the process is clearly focused in the “here and now.” There may be lessons we will use from your past, and strengths you’ve acquired over time to launch you toward your goal.
Questions to start our work together:
- What is it you hope to accomplish in our work together?
- How will you measure the results?
- Is what we are doing compatible with your other coaches’ goals and objectives?
Acquiring Mental Conditioning Skills
There are several mental conditioning skills that can be learned to enhance our performance on many levels and with different tasks. Our job is to develop the mental skill sets that routinely enable people to take their performance to the next level. This process includes assessing the keys – goal setting, motivational factors and commitment, and identifying the attitudes, people skills, strengths and weaknesses that help you or hold you back. We then evaluate the skill sets inherent in preparation for competition and those things that contribute to make us ready for our event. These include mental preparation, managing distractions, use of imagery, mental rehearsal, positive thought habits and constructive self-talk. All contributing in some way or another to our feeling confident about a competition or not. Finally, we address specific performance skills which are likely to involve managing arousal level, anxiety, emotional control before during and after your performance, and, focused thought habits and specific concentration ques to optimize your execution during the event.
Each person examines their skills sets and makes a judgment as to their self-efficacy in the following areas:
- Goal Setting as a process and a skill
- Preparation planning for competition
- Managing distractions
- Building confidence
- Stretching your limits
- Periodization training for specific skills acquisition
- Development of mental toughness
- Using “nervousness” to your advantage
- Controlling Arousal
- Developing Consistency in your Performance
- Systematically assessing progress, reviewing outcomes, and refocusing efforts
- Having more fun in your endeavor!
This information and strategic assessments enable us to develop our work together. The initial session is an extended one that includes assessments, compatibility interview, and focused coaching session. Consultations can last upwards of 2 hours. From that point forward we work together to refine the plan and outline the steps required for success in each and every area.
That said, I’ve been a thought leader in this field for over 20 years. In that time, I began publishing an on-line sport psych magazine titled Podium Sports Journal. This publication has been tapped as one of the “Top 5 Sport Psychology Websites on the internet.” Podium features readable, credible and practical information on the best practices in applied sport psychology for athletes, coaches and parents of gifted athletes. Logging on to the site can offer you a quick look at whatever you are searching for (very serviceable search function) – or – it can give you hours of content in the form of articles, videos, Podcasts on topics that serve every category listed above.
Experience a Unique Collaboration
The onus of responsibility is on me, as your coach, to provide a valuable consulting and personal coaching experience for you. I will use every means available to assure that we accomplish our goals, beginning with full access to my sport psychology website: Podium Sports Journal. You will be provided specific readings, articles, assessment tools, structured and unstructured learning activities (even if just for fun). All of these will be arranged to suit your needs and stated goals, even as they may vary throughout the year. Feedback from you is requested frequently so that we might monitor our progress, the quality of our communications, and lesson plans so as to make sure we keep on track. You will be asked to complete homework assignments regularly throughout the coaching period. Defining these assignments is a dynamic process we will both engage in, but you will be required to implement and practice the ‘lesson plans’. Our process in working together must be a good one and we will constantly seek synergy in doing so. Feedback is a necessary communication tool for gauging that relationship so please be prepared to provide your comments concerns and reactions from each session, as well as, outcomes from your performances. That feedback will help us both find that optimum balance in working together.
The Coach and Client mutually recognize that they may discuss future plans, business affairs, customer lists, financial information, job information, goals, personal information and other private concerns. The Coach will not voluntarily communicate the Client’s information to any third party, ever unless specifically asked to do so. In order to honor and protect the Coach’s intellectual property, the Client likewise agrees not to disclose or communicate information about the Coach’s practice, materials, or methods to any third parties.
Sound Files Provide for Personal Attention When you Need it Most
Dr. Walker has spent years developing MP3 sound files that provide quick summaries of certain concepts or skills provided in session. Individuals who use them, swear by them. These brief recollections (1 minute to 4 minutes) are a fabulous asset in anchoring the best practices in preparing for and performing in competition. They are a learning aid that has clearly helped Dr. Walker’s coaching clients achieve success quickly and efficiently. Please note: When provided with these sound files, it must be understood that their use is for your own personal development. Each sound file is copyrighted and is protected intellectual property. They are not to be shared without Dr. Walker’s written consent.
It is important to understand that Coaching is a professional relationship. While it may feel at times like a close personal relationship, it is not one that can extend beyond professional boundaries, either during or after our work together. Considerable experience shows that when boundaries blur, the hard-won benefits gained from the coaching relationship can become endangered.
In addition to sound files, I frequently use structured video, Q/A scenarios, Skype or Zoom for teleconferencing, text messages and email to facilitate ready access and quick response time. Each client is asked to acknowledge some of the limitations in privacy that technology fails to provide security for. For this reason, Zoom is often recommended over Skype for the simple reason that Zoom communications are encrypted and as such, HIPAA compliant. Please ask if you are unsure what the risk benefits are to using certain technologies.
My Commitment is to YOU!
There may come a time when your needs may be at cross purposes with the direction other people might want to direct you to. My commitment is to you, your health, your happiness and overall well-being – above all else. Anyone witnessing the harmful effects of “Tiger Woods fall from grace” on both he and his family can understand how the value of effective counsel might have saved considerable heartache for a great many people. Dr. Walker addressed this specific situation in an article in Podium Sports Journal. Feel free to click on it to read more.
Young Athlete Mentoring
Young athletes who are gifted and talented can benefit from mentoring in the area of developing good attitudes, health habits, mental conditioning skills, acquiring a healthy attitude toward winning and losing, and how to effectively benefit from their relationship with coaches. Parents do their best, but oftentimes because of the parenting role, they find themselves at cross purposes with others who are in influential positions with their son or daughter. Dr. Walker diligently works to support parents of these athletes so that their child develops in a healthy and happy way. To that end, many parents need guidance as to how best to support their young athlete. Some even recognize that their own passion for the sport and their child can work against their child’s love for the sport, or their ability to “bring their best”, for fear of disappointing their mom or dad. These things are all addressed during the consultation stage in the process. Follow up sessions may involve the athlete or the parent – or – both. Each situation is evaluated independently and recommendations are “always” provided in order to serve the best interest of the child athlete.
Clinics and Workshops
Dr. Walker frequently does workshops and clinics and has been called upon to provide programs designed to help the audience improve their performance in one or more areas. Longer term consulting projects are available by arrangement and usually involve the monitoring of measurable outcomes like sales numbers or performance objectives. His programs on the ‘Mental Conditioning of Champions’ and ‘The Principles of Peak Performance’ are among the most popular of his presentations. See more in Clinics and Workshops.
He is best known for his “Conscious Golf Clinics” which include introductory, advanced and on-course programs.