S.C.O.R.E. for Life is a book by Jim Fannin, the mental performance coach who gained fame for his work with Alex Rodriguez, the highest paid baseball player of all time. Jim Fannin coached Roadriguez before every single game of his career. Rodriguez even wrote the foreword to Fannin’s book. Many aspects of the S.C.O.R.E system were originally based on research studies performed alongside several professors from Ohio State University. It’s an excellent book and a fun read. The book shares some similarities with other works on sports psychology, but Fannin has developed a set of techniques that are truly ahead of the game.
Following are some of my notes from the book. The acronym “S.C.O.R.E.” stands for five traits:
The Mind of a Champion:
• Champions have only 1,100 to 1,300 thoughts per day. They have fewer thoughts but hold them longer.
• Champions perform detached from the future. They live in the moment without anxiety towards potential outcomes.
• A person is in the zone when he or she is totally immersed in the present moment.
• Thoughts lead to emotional reactions. If you don’t like how you feel, change how you think.
• Write down aspects of the various arenas of your life (Self, Romantic Relationship, Family, Finances, Friends, Hobby). Then identify potential coaches for each area.
• Identify negative thoughts in each area and ways to reduce those thoughts.
• Follow these three steps:
1. Create a collection of visions for your life. See something positive in the future for each of your arenas.
2. Create no more than five goals with timelines that you will accomplish to reach the vision in each arena. Make the goals measurable.
3. Break the goal down into necessary action steps for reaching your goals and eventually fulfilling your vision.
• Develop a daily routine where you visualize your ultimate goal, and the steps you will take to reach it. See each step of the goal in your mind’s eye.
• Four types of visualization are: task imagery (visualizing the same task over and over), situational imagery (visualizing the task while adding conditions and circumstances), symbolic imagery (visualizing a metaphor for success), and aftermath imagery (visualizing what happens after your vision or goals have been reached).
• Create routines that will lead towards the accomplishment of your goals.
• Determine the essence of each of the arenas of your life. This includes the highest-impact actions that will lead to success.
• Focus for extended periods of time until your goals are met.
• Train to develop Zone vision, where your eyes double or triple their shutter speed to give you the illusion that everything is in slow motion or the objects are larger than normal.
• Frame your day and your performances by beginning and ending with purpose and enthusiasm.
• Engage all of your five senses.
• Avoid negativity and negative people.
• Have a supreme belief and expectancy that you will succeed.
• Stand up straight and keep your chin up.
• Use positive self-talk.
• As you go to bed, select a goal and visualize it as being accomplished. Repeat the same visualization upon awakening.
• While in a relaxed state, repeat the following phrase silently to yourself and say it as if it’s so: “I believe in me.”
• Believe you’re the best even before you get the rewards.
• When you make an error or mistake in any endeavor, be prepared to do one of the following immediately after the performance:
1. Act like it didn’t happen. No thought. No judgment. No acting like a victim or judge.
2. Do it over correctly in your mind.
3. Gather your energy for the next objective, target, or performance.
4. Make a deposit of positives. Say the desired results as if it’s so. Use an affirmation.
• Continue practicing the basics of the actions that lead to your goals so you don’t become overconfident.
• Breathe through your stomach, especially when the intensity of the moment increases.
• Get a massage (major-league baseball all-stars get massages).
• Loosen your jaw and stick your tongue out to relax (like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant in their greatest performances).
• Tense and release the muscles in your body.
• Add more laughter to your life in order to perform better.
• As absurd as it sounds, try skipping to improve your mood and improve your performance.
• Reward yourself for a job well done.
• Measures for tracking S.C.O.R.E levels:
1. S – This person has goals and is committed to achieving them. He is patient and under control of the situation. He is punctual and ready to perform immediately. He has strategies and tactics and is prepared to alter them if necessary.
2. C – This person has high quality in their work or play. She is accurate. She performs with little distraction. She only needs to be told once when given direction. She completes each task before moving on to the next.
3. O – This person is confident and looks confident. He is always upbeat and looks for solutions instead of dwelling on problems. His verbal and nonverbal language is positive.
4. R – This person is calm and cool under pressure. She does not worry or express anxiety. Her jaw is unhinged as she performs, and she breathes normally.
5. This person is a delight to be around. He laughs and exudes enthusiasm and excitement. When he performs, you can feel his passion for the activity.
Why Do S.C.O.R.E. Levels Fluctuate?:
• S.C.O.R.E. Breakers: criticism, gossip, dirty look, crossed arms, disappointed head shake, bad weather, bad lighting, bad luck, misunderstandings, injustice, trouble in social relationships, delays, interruptions, worrying, concern over what other people think, low self confidence, unrealistic expectations, thinking of negative past events, anticipating negative future events, not knowing certain information, uncontrolled sexual impulses
• S.C.O.R.E. Makers: praise, inviting smile, warm embrace, look of delight, beautiful weather, music, good luck, fulfilling social relationships, being knowledgeable, good sleep, good nutrition, exercise, romantic love, platonic love
The S.C.O.R.E. System:
• Have goals for different timelines: lifetime, annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily, a single performance, and a single moment
• Reboot the brain when things are going poorly: Take a deep breath and visualize a blank scene. Unhinge your jaw. Relax your tongue and be still for 10 to 15 seconds. Then open your eyes, raise your chin above parallel, and direct your full focus to the task at hand.
• Have strategies and tactics to restructure a situation if things are not going well (such as asking a question to change the flow of a conversation).
• Conduct objective performance evaluations whether you win or lose.