Hourglass Performance Model

For consistent optimal performance, every athlete has to create the same mental readiness towards the moment of skill execution, no matter what sport, level, gender, or age!

Based upon decades of proprietary research, analyses and hands-on experience with the world’s best athletes, Hourglass Performance Institute’s (HPI) groundbreaking assessment and training philosophy constitutes an evidence-based and scientifically proven applied framework in mental performance consulting, the Hourglass Performance (HP) Model.

The HP Model: A Closer Look

The HP Model is comprised of specific functional phases that occur before, during, and after a skill execution, regardless of the type of sport. In chronological order, the phases of the HP Model include:

  • Recovery -The athlete maintains or returns to a state of physical, mental, and emotional balance before an upcoming skill execution
  • Information -The athlete collects and processes information to make a decision regarding the appropriate strategy to perform the upcoming skill execution
  • Confirmation -The athlete initiates the physical and mental preparation based on the decided strategy for the upcoming skill execution
  • Trust -The athlete quiets the mind just before the moment of the skill execution
  • Execution -The athlete executes the skill with a minimal amount of thoughts or attempt to control the action, but with a high degree of automaticity and a sense of effortlessness
  • Evaluation -The athlete assesses and learns from the skill execution and the performance outcome
  • Reorientation -The athlete achieves closure of the previous performance outcome and moves on to the next task at hand
  • Recovery -The athlete maintains or returns to a state of physical, mental, and emotional balance before an upcoming skill execution

The shape of the HP Model demonstrates that athletes process the least amount of information and demonstrate the most consistent performance-related behavior (i.e., timing, bio-mechanics) during skill execution. This is reflected in the middle, narrow part of the HP Model.

The principles and the functional phases of the HP Model can be found in any type of sport. The durations of the phases in the HP Model vary between the different sports, depending on the sport-specific task demands. Reactive sports like basketball or soccer often demonstrate shorter functional phases and shorter HP Models, compared to self-paced sports like golf and shooting.

The management of thoughts and emotions is an important element of an athlete’s mental performance. The athlete’s ability to self-regulate these thoughts and emotions determines the quality of the HP Model in sport, as shown below.


The Effects of Thoughts and Emotions on the HP Model in Sport

As an applied-research framework within the field of mental performance expertise, the optimal HP Model postulates the following:

  • Consistent optimal execution of a sport skill requires an optimal HP Model profile that is designed to meet the needs of the individual athlete.
  • Consistent optimal skill execution in sport is demonstrated by a relatively small amount of information processing by the athlete during the narrow execution phase of the optimal HP Model.
  • The consistency and quality of skill execution in sport is influenced by the athlete’s self-regulation of thoughts and emotions within the optimal HP Model.