Lake Oswego Mental Toughness Coaching

portland mental toughness

Diane Ulicsni is a Leading Lake Oswego Sports Mental Toughness Coach

Optimal sports performance not only takes skill, talent, and personality, it encompasses psychological training, too.

There are many techniques I use in my private sessions for performance enhancement that allow the release of negative emotions and for the recovery process to correct debilitating negative effects.

Some of these techniques are Brainspotting (discovered by Dr. David Grand), Neuro-Linguistic Psychology (NLP), guided imagery, hypnosis, emotional freedom techniques, and bilateral stimulation.

Oregon Mental Toughness and Sports Performance Coaching Experience

I began teaching sports performance as an athletic performance coach to several groups of kids referred to me by sports personalities like Alberto Salazar in 2001, Central Catholic High School, St. Mary’s, Lake Oswego High School, coach Bob Williams, and numerous other Portland sports teams. My purpose and passion is to get in front of as many athletes as possible to teach sports performance and to resolve issues that get in the way of excellence.

The common states of mind I observe when it comes to any type of performance are high anxiety and negative thoughts; especially when an injury occurs. Another issue I observe when mistakes or poor performance happens is a loss of confidence (i.e., yips).

Experience the Benefits of Sports Mental Toughness Coaching

Many sports psychologists work on the mechanical problems facing athletes, such as stance, swing, and breathing. With my many years of experience, I have determined that there is much more below the surface. Top athletes and other people bring all of their life experiences to the plate. It seems that panic, the yips, and anxieties appear from nowhere.

Performance problems of all types arise from negative or traumatic experiences or stressors, such as not being able to “get the ball across the plate.” This causes fear or humiliation. Negative experiences can, and do get stuck in the nervous system and, as a result, get re-triggered. Sports or head injuries, especially in childhood and adolescence can cause future performance anxieties and inhibitions, such as yips, breathing problems, and freezing up. Athletes and non-athletes alike can become victim to their emotions and have high levels of sports performance anxieties.

This can also play into how an athlete recovering from an injury or surgery can often suffer from fear of re-injury and loss of confidence and is a very common complaint.

It is so gratifying to see athletes recover quickly and go on to do their personal best and even score gold medals! It makes my heart sing every time I hear from a parent or athlete reaching their goals more quickly.

Brain Training Scientifically Enhances Athletic Performance

Working with many Athletes from Nike to Disney, to high schools, the most common complaint I hear is that the athlete becomes very anxious and nervous before the event or competition . Being anxious or nervous is now what they are focused on (and therefore creating) more neurons for anxiety and even panic.   Many times burning up much needed energy and therefore have a very bad effect on their performance.  Remember your mind is your attention its non physical. Your Brain is physical . Your mind is telling your brain what to do! What goes on in your mind, affects your body down to the level of the individual little genes in your body. (Candice Pert) first discovered neuro peptides in the brain. Neuro-peptides, thoughts, create chemical endorphins in the brain. Thoughts create little tiny proteins that create every chemical reaction in your body. Proteins are little tiny building blocks.

This is when I re-mind coaches, parents athletes how important it is to be listening to my brain training cd’s or using the personal imageries we have set up in session.  It is my opinion that training the brain at least every other day is optimal. Or doing a brain training ( my cd’s are only 10 to 15 minutes) right before a performance will help your performance.

Have you ever watched the Olympics? Do you see the top athletes listening to something before they perform? What do you think they are listening to?  I know for a fact that many are rehearsing in their mind in detail the performance they are about to do.

As I teach you in my office and on my CDs : Each time you Brain Train you will be focusing on and using your senses to be seeing, hearing, and feeling yourself with a successful outcome. So Very Important.




The Benefits of Mental Toughness Training for Sports

Some people say they don’t know how to visualize. I would like you to ask yourself a couple of questions now.   How do you know the color of your house or your parents house?   The color of your bedroom, the color of your eyes? Where did you go on your last vacation? Describe it to yourself.

This is visualization. You will get better at visualization as you practice.   I have many many visualization practices I do in my office with clients. It can be a lot of fun. The following questionnaire is designed to help you pinpoint how you experience imagery.

Follow the instructions and then add your score at the end to determine if you more intensely experience, sights, sounds, feelings or moods of an image. This will help you individualize your Brain Training program. You will learn to concentrate on those areas you experience the most vividly as you work on controlling or altering your mental images.




The Importance of Mental Coaching for Oregon Athletes

Remember, your unconscious mind, doesn’t know the difference between imagined and real. There is neuro science proving that if you are imaging something, or even faking something, your brain fires the neurons of whatever it is you are imagining. So IMAGINE OR VISUALIZE OR THINK OR PRETEND SOMETHING FANTASTIC! If you continue working with mental imagery you will get very good at visualizing or imagining and your body will follow suit.  

Many times when I am asking a runner to close his or her eyes and visualize from beginning to end their performance, I will see their feet moving as if they are running or their heart rate increases, etc.    That is how I know they are ‘engaged’ and doing the imagery.   Which brings up the next subject.

Its important to know when to engage your circuitry and when to observe. This is aligning the workings of your nervous system:

  • Knowing when to observe your circuitry: Knowing when to engage your circuitry
  • Knowing when to observe your life: Knowing when to engage your life
  • Knowing when to observe uncertainty: Knowing when to engage uncertainty
  • Again: Neurons that fire together wire together!   If you are engaging in anxiety its time to stop . You can do this by getting into peripheral vision. ( later info)
  • Neurons that fire apart wire apart.

How can you create your own stem cells? By exercising attention voluntary 6 to 12 Hz. You can grow them into fully functioning adult, neurons with and enriched environment (repeatedness, increased sensory input..see hear feel. Repetition.   (this is neuro genesis.)

Signals from different sensory sources are registered in separate brain areas.   Therefore seeing, hearing feeling, and repeating is important for memory. Memory is an active, synthetic process. (Karl Pribram)

Its very Important to think about what you want. Not what you don’t want.

The unconscious mind has a very hard time or doesn’t have a picture for the word ‘not’


What did you think about ? A red truck!

Athletes continually tell me they don’t want to fail, they don’t want to panic..etc. What are they making unconscious pictures of.   That’s right..failing and panicking…

For the purposes of training your brain,, take the word ‘not’ out of your vocabulary.   You will then focus and think thoughts about what you WANT. And Remember when you do this repeatedly , focus on what you want , you will eventually get it. And remember to always give yourself some good mental or physical congratulations any time you do something well! Athletes seem to be very hard on themselves. So congratulating oneself is a must.

Contact Diane for Sports Performance Coaching and Mental Toughness Coaching.

Contact Diane today for an appointment!

Office: 16869 SW 65th Ave
Lake Oswego, OR 97035, United States

Telephone:   1-503-740-6614


1 + 15 =

Thank you for visiting my website.I am currently not accepting new clients until the first of the year.