Tara Costello develops mental strength app to aid athletes

Jim Day jday@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on January 30, 2016

Tara Costello displays a smart phone displaying her Ahead Sport Mind Training App. The app, which came out last spring, offers exercises to strengthen nine mental skills.

©Jim Day/The Guardian

Ahead Sport Mind Training App available for Apple or Android devices for $9

Goaltender Drew McIntyre plays a position that can really mess with the head.

Success marked by making a big save can be fleeting when the next shot hits the back of the net.

"The highs and lows of the position are ridiculous,'' says McIntyre, a Charlottetown native who plays between the pipes for the Charlotte Checkers in the American Hockey League.

He credits his success as a goalie - and the very fact he is still making a living stopping pucks - to his mental approach to the game.

"To find tools and exercises...it's skills,'' he explains.

"It's just like working in the gym.''

For the past 10 years, he has worked with Tara Costello, a local mental performance consultant.

MORE: Three facts about Tara Costello's athletic side


Lately he has been tapping into Costello's knowledge by clicking on an app she developed.

"It's great,'' he says of the Ahead Sport Mind Training App.

"It's super convenient.''

McIntyre often clicks on the app after he has backstopped the Checkers to help analyze his performance in a positive manner, than move on.

"You're pretty much as good as your last game in this sport and you have to find ways to deal with it,'' he says.

MORE: Three factors Tara Costello considers key to athletes


Costello says her app, which came out last spring, offers exercises to strengthen nine mental skills, including visualization and positive determination.

"I wanted to develop something that was an easy-access version of my mental skills toolbox to make it available to a broader audience and so my clients travelling or living outside the province can work on the skills on their own,'' she says.

"The app provides a common language...on the mental game.''

Costello says her app, which is currently being used by athletes in 10 different countries, draws on her experience as an athlete, coach, and mental performance consultant.

She plans a strong marketing push soon to generate more interest in her app, which received $25,000 in provincial funding through Innovation P.E.I.

Costello has been doing consulting off and on for about 20 years.

She taught the Sport and Leisure Program at Holland College for 10 years, and in 2010 started her consulting business called Ahead in the Game.

Three facts about Tara Costello's athletic side

- Played field hockey at varsity level and competed for P.E.I. in the Canada Games. Competed on the winning team in an international tournament in 1993.

- Former marathon runner.

- Playing golf and western riding are her current sporting pursuits.

Three factors Tara Costello considers key to athletes performing well under pressure:

- Imagine a positive result.

- Focus on the process.

- Have mental skills to focus your energies.