Don MacNaughton has worked tirelessly to help clients achieve success in the world of sport since founding his consultancy, Zoned in Performance, 15 years ago. He has improved the success of a wide number of household-name clients including coaches, elite athletes and governing bodies in association with football, skiing, snowboarding, cycling and motorsport.

Notably, Don has worked with the SFA Scottish Football Association as a Coach Development consultant since 2006. He has also been working with Rugby Football League (RFL) since 2006 providing Mental Skills Consultancy for the players and coaches. Don has also had a series of success working with Olympians and Paralympians in winter sports, as well the British Association of Ski Instructors. He delivers tailored high-performance coaching packages to help competitors handle the pressures and demands of preparing for a major competition. Don’s coaching was part of the effort that successfully brought the British Elite Ski Team in March 2014 Winter Paralympics held in Sochi, Russia.

Assuring athletes, clubs and coaches a dynamic approach to achieving high levels of success, Don’s coaching and performance programs headline in practicality first. Don draws from key principles of sports psychology, neuroscience, and team dynamics and skilfully adapts them to enhance each participant’s performance and sharpen their mental skills.

High-performance coaching training programs explore the following areas:

  •    How to create high performance teams
  •    Building high performance environments
  •    Performance benchmarking
  •    Values and culture
  •    Trademark Behaviours
  •    Maintaining performance standards
  •    Communication for performance

Special programs which can be delivered at individual clubs or associations in part-day or full day formats include:

  •    Performance pushing (parents)
  •    Mind-set for coaches
  •    Mind management for athletes
  •    Developing resilience and mental toughness



“Donald played a key role in contributing towards the preparation of the most successful British Winter Paralympic team to date.  Without exception, all members of the Paralympic Alpine Ski Team achieved personal best performances at Sochi 2014 resulting in an historic and record smashing bronze, three silvers, and a gold using methods and techniques taught and supported by Donald.” Tony McAllister, Head Coach British Paralympic Alpine Ski Team.

Noel Baxter, who is a retired G.B. World Cup and Olympic Skier now having success as an International Ski Coach commented on Don’s essential performance coaching skills, “I met Donald in July 2005 when I was in the most crucial stages of getting back onto the slopes and qualifying for the Olympics after severely damaging my left knee. I had talked to sports psychologists and not found them very helpful so I was not convinced Donald could help me either. However, from the first meeting, I knew this would be different. By putting a system to my thoughts and making me realize why I was thinking or feeling how I was, he made me incredibly stronger mentally. Together with a range of techniques to help me focus before and during my race has definitely been a deciding factor that helped me get to the Olympic Winter Games 2006. Thank You!”

“Working with Donald has help me evaluate my coaching, identify ‘blind spots’ and further develop areas of strength.  His no nonsense approach to improvement combined with a relaxing style brings out the very best in you; whether it is providing a seminar, informal discussion at the dinner table or giving feedback after a field session a conversation with Donald always provides insight.  I found the techniques, concepts useful and more importantly I can instantly apply them to my coaching when working with players whether on the field in a coaching session or a more formal workshop session”, Chris Chapman, former England Women’s Rugby League Head Coach.


Upcoming programs: 

Sports NLP Foundation Diploma
Focusing on Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) for enhanced coaching effectiveness and high performance skills MacNaughton applies a modular programme. This programme equips participants with a coaching toolbox to use on the field and in the office. Improving communication skills, goal setting, confidence and the art of language the three day programme is presented over one month. Upon completion participants receive a UKCPD Foundation Diploma in Sports NLP.

The Coaching Edge 
Helpful for structuring a coaching methodology based on the latest thinking in talent development and human excellence this programme helps coaches build resilient athletes and teams. By identifying challenges associated with limiting thoughts, the programme shows managers how to realize the individual potential of each team member. MacNaughton helps coaches identify barriers and develop their own effective coaching “state of mind”. He also teaches how to create an effective learning environment to maximize performance. The one day course is for manager and coaches and who want to got the most out of their coaching practice.

Charlie Christie, Head of Youth & Community Development at Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club said of MacNaughton’s Coaching Edge Course,“I found the course extremely helpful not just in my employment but everyday life. Donald’s relaxed and fun approach brought out the best in the group. And this along with his willingness to explore individual’s views on the programme ensured that it was a rich and valuable course. I have applied many of the strategies and techniques into my coaching. The strength of the course is learning how to be more aware of what you do. This helps you make a choice about whether or not you’ll make a change, and how you’ll go about it. I would recommend the diploma and Donald to all sports coaches. Fantastic, fun and definitely value for the money.”

Donald Park, Head of Coach Education for the Scottish Football Association adds,“Donald has become a very integral part of our coach education programme and delivers on our A and B license courses as well as our youth and children’s pathway. He is very innovative. He makes all his input really specific for our coaches and our courses.”

Tony McAllister, Head Coach of the British Paralympic Alpine Ski Team states,“Donald played a key role in contributing towards the preparation of the most successful British Winter Paralympic team to date. Without exception, all members of the Paralympic Alpine Ski Team achieved personal best performances at Sochi 2014. This resulted in a historic and record-smashing bronze, three silvers, and a gold using methods and techniques taught and supported by Donald.”