All In The Head – The Memory Bank

In our ongoing series we talk to Elite Performance Mind Coach Denis Coen who gives us his insight and tips into simple, practical mental skills and effective coping strategies which will allow you to unleash your true potential. 

We’ve been discussing confidence over the past few weeks and we talked about preparation and belief been two important traits of becoming a real confident athlete. Another important tool to building confidence is an athlete’s ‘Memory Bank’

Too often athletes use their memory bank to kill their own confidence, using it in a very negative manner. What they fail to understand is that previous games and previous practice sessions can work in their benefit. We all have a memory bank with evidence stored there of past great performances and practice sessions.

Unfortunately though, some athletes don’t tap into this great resource. More often than not they use it to look at past mistakes or blunders they have made. You may be taking a penalty and think, ‘I hope I don’t miss this penalty like the one I missed last week.’ This is a prime example of athletes using information that they have stored, but in the wrong way.

It is very simple for athletes though to make their memory bank work for them by looking at past great penalties that they have scored. By doing this it will also bring back the physiological emotion that goes with scoring a great penalty.

Get your athletes to dig deep into their memory banks and get them into the habit of replaying all the great things they have done and achieved rather than focusing on the negatives. This will help speed up the journey on the road to building unshakable confidence.


Denis Coen works as a Performance Mind Coach and has been involved in sport for over 20 years. He has played and represented his county (Mayo) both at under 21 and senior level in Gaelic Football and was part of the Ballina Stephenites team that reached the 1999 All Ireland Club Football Final. He works with professional and amateur athletes and he works with teams to help them foster a championship winning mindset.. You can find more from Denis here at

See previous the previous instalments in the All In The Head series and stay tuned for part four next week.

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