WYC 143 – Performance Anxiety – Kathy Feinstein talks Developing a Growth Mindset

Kathy Feinstein is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Sport Performance Consultant (CMPC). Since 1998 her unique practice has empowered adolescents, adults, couples, families and teams to achieve greater satisfaction in sport, health and life. Kathy’s practice focuses on the 3 key areas: counseling, sport performance psychology and education through seminars and workshops. Kathy works with youth, high school, collegiate, adult amateur and professional athletes in such sports as golf, tennis, hockey, volleyball, basketball, figure skating, cheerleading, track and field, swimming and cycling. In addition to sport and exercise psychology consulting, she also offers team and coach consulting.

Website: kafcounselingandsportperformance.com

Podcast: Parenting Peak Performers Podcast

Facebook: /kafcounselingandconsulting/

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Being a crazy sports parent

  • Kathy got really excited about her daughter riding horses, but she lost sight of doing what’s best for her daughter

Performance Anxiety

  • The first step is to normalize the need – kids need to know that performance anxiety is very normal

The importance of breathing

  • Anxiety is all about the future. What if…
  • Breathing is all about the present.
  • If you can do this 20 minutes per day, it changes your mindset
  • When you inhale, there will be a cool sensation at the tip of your nostrils. When you exhale, there is a warm sensation at the tip of your nostrils.
  • When you do this, you will start having some thoughts. Without any judgement, bring your focus back to the breath. Do this over and over again.
  • Do this for 5 minutes with your team, your coaches, your players, etc.

Recovery routines

  • Having a discharge routine – if you are upset about something, have a quick discharge routine to flush away the past. Then have a different re-focus routine that gets you back in the moment and focused on the future.

Growth Mindset

  • Encourage kids to take risks, risk making mistakes. Mistakes are an opportunity to get better.

Confidence inventory

  • Have kids make a list of all of their accomplishments. Then have them read it before a performance.

Post-competition routine

  • After routines, write down what you did well, then add 1 or 2 things you want to do better next time


  • You have to train how to visualize: Have the athlete do a simple activity (touch your toes and and jump in the air.) Then have them close their eyes and visualize doing that same activity.
  • The more vivid the visualization is, the more effective it is. Try to involve as many senses as possible
  • Visualization exercise:  Imagery Exercise – KAF

The one that got away

  • Kathy had a presentation that went bad and she got stuck. She learned a new way to prepare for presentations, where she focuses on the audience and their needs.

Best borrowed/stolen idea

  • The post-performance routine
  • Well-better-next

Favorite Quotes/books

  • Quote: ‘What is before us and what is behind us are small matters compared to what’s within us’ – Emerson
  • Book: The Champions Mind by Jim Afremow
  • Book: Getting Grit by Caroline Adams Miller

Parting Advice

  • Ask kids about what mistakes they made today – and be excited about them and celebrate them

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