Jesse Hoffman is a gold level CoachUp Basketball coach and mental skills specialist in the Philadelphia area. He studied sports and organizational psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, and believes that more than individual skills or the number of hours practiced, it is the right mindset that carries athletes to their highest potential and greatest success.
Following his graduation, Coach Hoffman took a position as the graduate assistant for the University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball team. A role that he filled from 2015-2019, and one that allowed him to put his mental skills philosophy to action.
His philosophy is a translation of a principal of psychology, the hierarchy of competence. Within the hierarchy there are four stages of understood competence, each representing a unique level of individual understanding. In terms of mental skills training specific to sports, Coach Hoffman has adjusted the definitions of each stage.
Coach Hoffman’s translated hierarchy of competence for athletes
- Unconscious incompetence
This is the starting point for every athlete. At this point in their journey, athletes are completely unaware of what skills and weaknesses they possess, and they are unaware of how to improve upon their current abilities.
- Conscious incompetence
This is when an athlete has become aware of their specific skills and are beginning to address improvement. Most athlete’s that come to Coach Hoffman are either in this stage, or hoping to get here soon. This is the stage in every athlete’s journey where the biggest strides towards success are made.
- Unconscious competence
At this point, an athlete has sharpened their skillset and has begun to build up the muscle memory to employ that skillset during games. Just how good they are has not yet become clear to them, and for that, Coach Hoffman refers to this as “the lethal stage.” Skills developed in practice are translating translating to games, but an athlete is still unaware of their potential. Building a strong mindset and committing to improvement at this stage sets the sky as the limit.
- Conscious competence
The final stage. At this point, an athlete is fully aware of their strengths and weaknesses, has established a routine to constantly improve upon them, and their hard work is translating to the court naturally. Full understanding of who they are as a player allows for them to be the best they can be.
The hierarchy of competence is a simple breakdown of how Coach Hoffman identifies an athlete’s needs, and learns exactly how to work with them. Throughout each session with all of his athletes, regardless of what stage they are in, however, the focus remains heavily in developing mental skills and achieving a growth mindset. If an athlete can establish genuine belief in improvement, they can make the most of every workout they partake in.