Speaking Topics

Dr. Jim Taylor offers a variety of keynote addresses, lectures, and workshops for athletes, parents, coaches, and educators. His presentations are engaging, informative, practical, and interactive. Dr. Taylor customizes his presentations to the unique needs of each audience. He can create a presentation from any topic of interest to an organization. Some popular speaking topics are described below.


Prime Sport: Psychology of Champion Athletes

Drawing on his own elite athletic experience and decades of consulting with professional, Olympic, and junior-elite athletes, Dr. Taylor will show attendees the importance of mental preparation for sports performance, regardless of the age or ability level of the athlete or the sport being played. This workshop, based on his book, Prime Sport: Triumph of the Athlete Mind, will focus on six mental factors that most influence performance: motivation, confidence, intensity, focus, emotions, and mindset. Dr. Taylor will describe the essential role these factors play in both training and competition. He will then describe simple and practical mental skills that athletes can use to strengthen these areas, including goal setting, positive self-talk, progressive relaxation, and keywords, and how they can be incorporated directly into their practice sessions and competitive preparations.

8 Attitudes That Make or Break Athletes

This workshop explores eight essential attitudes that act as the foundation for successful athletic performance. These attitudes are so important because those that athletes hold impact their thoughts, emotions, behavior, and physiology. These, in turn, influence athletes’ ability to engage in quality practice and prepare effectively for and perform successfully in competition. First, do athletes perceive their sports participation as a “life or death” experience in which they are putting their self (i.e., identify, esteem, goals) on the line when they compete? Second, do athletes to focus on “success or failure” in their sports involvement? Third, do they pay more attention to the “process or outcome” of their athletic experiences? Fourth, do athletes develop “goals or expectations?” Fifth, when they compete, do athletes see themselves as their “ally or enemy?” Sixth, do athletes see the competition as a “challenge or threat?” Seventh, do they experience the “fight or flight” reaction? Eighth, do athletes feel “light or tight” as they enter the competition?

Two Essential Mental Skills for Athletic Success

Though all world-class and professional athletes have different ways of preparing for training and competition, there are two mental skills that they all use: mental imagery and routines. This workshop will show athletes and coaches the power of these two techniques to ensure total preparation for training and competitions. Dr. Taylor will describe how to maximize the value of imagery and routines, and how to incorporate them into athletes’ training and competitive efforts.

 Prime Coaching: How Coaches Can Get the Most Out of Their Athletes

This interactive workshop addresses a wide range of psychological issues that can help coaches help their athletes to be better prepared for training and competition.  Topics to be explored include building a positive and motivated team culture, encouraging experimentation in mental states with athletes, understanding individual athlete’s psychological and emotional needs, and how to create focused and intense training sessions. Coaches will leave this workshop with practical insights and useful tools to assist their athletes in gaining the most of the practice efforts and being maximally prepared for competition.

Decision Making in Action: The U.S. Military Academy Crew Conundrum

This interactive and thought-provoking workshop examines the importance and challenges of making sound coaching decisions. Dr. Taylor presents a decision-making conundrum published in the Harvard Business Review, in which the U. S. Military Academy crew coach is faced with the challenge of selecting his varsity crew for the National Championships near the end of a turbulent competitive season. During breakout sessions in the workshop, small groups of attendees examine the situation with which the coach was confronted, delve into the process of how the decision might be made, and what the optimal decision should be. The breakout groups then share their decisions with the entire group. Dr. Taylor then describes a decision-making model that considers the steps and obstacles to making good decisions. The workshop provides powerful takeaway for attendees on the assumptions they make and the process they go through in making decisions in their companies.


Positive Pushing: How to Raise a Successful and Happy Child

Based on his first parenting book, Dr. Taylor introduces parents to the use of positive pushing that is very different from the kind of pushing with which they may be familiar. He demonstrates how to push, when to push, and, importantly, when to back off. Dr. Taylor shows parents the Three Pillars of Successful Achievers: self-esteem, ownership, and emotional mastery, and their essential role in raising successful and happy children. In this workshop, Dr. Taylor presents “red flags” in both parents and children that help parents identify when they are pushing their children the wrong way (“Oh my gosh, that’s me!”). He offers practical advice on how to provide children with a positive, caring and motivating impetus to seek out success and happiness. Issues that are addressed include parental overinvestment in their children’s activities, expectations, perfectionism, defining success and failure, and emotional coaching. Parents will leave this workshop with new insights and practical tools they can use to encourage their children to achieve both success and happiness.

Your Children are Listening: Nine Messages They Need to Hear From You

Based on his third parenting book of the same time, this workshop focuses on the essential that early messages from parents has on children’s development. Dr. Taylor explores why messages are important, how messages are conveyed, and what “message blockers” prevent messages from parents from getting through to children. He will then describe messages that children absolutely must get to ensure that they develop into value-driven, happy, successful, contributing people. Dr. Taylor places special emphasis on practical strategies, such as catchphrases, rituals and routines, and activities, that parents can use to convey healthy messages to their children.

Perform!: Life Skills for High-Achieving Children

Drawing on his own life experiences and decades of consulting with high-performing children and adults, Dr. Taylor shows parents the importance of developing essential life skills in their children that will prepare them for the rigors of achievement, whether in school, sports, the performing arts, or any other avenue. This workshop focuses on five mental factors that most influence performance: motivation, confidence, stress, focus, and emotions. Dr. Taylor describes the essential role these factors play in both preparation and performance. He then describes simple and practical life skills that parents can teach their young achievers to strengthen these areas and how they can be incorporated directly into their preparations and performances for their achievement activities.

Dos and Don’ts for Sports Parents

This practical workshop focuses on what parents should do and should not do in their involvement in their children’s sports participation. Dr. Taylor will focus on four areas for these dos and don’ts: yourself, other parents, coaches, and athletes. Attendees will gain “boots on the ground” insights and tools for ensuring that they play a supportive rather than interfering role in their children’s athletic lives. For parents whose children aren’t involved in sports, this workshop can be modified to focus on parents’ role in their children’s participation in school, the performing arts, or other achievement activities.

Raising Generation Tech: Prepare Your Children for a Media-Fueled World

Based on Dr. Taylor’s latest parenting book of the same title, this eye-opening workshop explores the powerful role that popular culture and technology plays in the development of children in the 21st century. Dr. Taylor first examines the popular culture to which children are exposed and the technology that they are now using that are shaping their lives, including movies, television, video games, the Internet, mobile phones, and texting. He then considers the specific ways, both healthy and unhealthy, that popular culture and technology influence children. Finally, Dr. Taylor explores seven areas that are impacted by popular culture and technology and offers practical insights and strategies for ensuring that this media-fueled world is used as a tool to foster positive development rather than as a weapon that hurts children’s development.