Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Navy Seals Understand and Use Mental Conditioning and Sports Psychology

Until the 1990s the United States Navy had physically trained the SEALs for mission success and survival, but mental training was only a byproduct of the physical training, an afterthought.  However, since the 1990s the Navy realized that they must be more purposeful in their mental conditioning to ensure greater success. To this end, the SEALs have met with sports psychologists and other experts to determine the most essential elements of mental conditioning and have determined that the following four principles greatly improve the likelihood of mission success and survival:

  • Set manageable goals. There is much danger in setting too many goals or setting unrealistic goals that impede progress or success. Navy SEAL candidates are trained to have laser focus on successfully completing each training drill and to avoid focusing on completing the entire program.

  • Visualize your success. The SEALs are trained to visualize their success even in their darkest hour. Creating the success in your mind first allows you to convince your other faculties that it is not only possible but probable.

  • Focus on positive self-talk. We each have the power to choose the voice to which we listen. He teaches the SEALs that they can talk themselves into victory or defeat by focusing on opportunities and strengths instead of telling themselves how dire a situation is.

  • Manage stress. Stress limits our success and threatens our health. The SEAL commanders understand that it is difficult to convince "tough guys" to meditate so they teach their men to manage stress via 4x4x4 breathing. Quite simply they inhale for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, and repeat for four minutes.

Excerpts from MorganHillTimes.com (November 29, 2010).

For more on mental conditioning and performance psychology, click on The Handbook of Peak Performance.   For additional mental conditioning tools and resources, click on and request access to The Peak Performance eCoach.  


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