Archive for June, 2010

The Linguistic Choreographer – A Dance Inside the Sporting Mind

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Since roman times and the gladiators in their arena, we have thought the greatest competitors were those who were bigger, stronger and faster we credited this to their physical stature, their dedication and impeccable morality as good triumphed over evil.

We like to think the person standing at the top of the dais with the trophy above their head is the one who had spent longer in the gym, swam those extra laps or ran that extra hour every day. Sure if you thought logically that is then this would be fair and just, as the one who put the extra miles in should be the one reaping the rewards and shinning in all that glory.

Ah, nostalgia for the good old days of yester year, where champions were champions, looking like adenosis with clear focus and moral intent, bronzed complexions and pure white teeth.

Well this may have been the case way back when, where there was a direct correlation between input and reward. But times have changed, the scientific world has moved on and become clearly accessible, it’s evolved into a world of geneticism, bio-mechanics, of human modification and drug enhancement.

It’s common place for athletes these days to inject vitamin concoctions directly into their veins so as to gain the “pure” benefits.
Every top training facility has their resident physicians, physiotherapists, sports psychologists, conditioners, dieticians, public relations and unfortunately yes legal teams.

Sport has become big business especially when winning could result in instant millionaires with big advertising deals the instant they step off the dais.

More and more sporting icons are gracing our TV stations, promoting underpants, life and medical insurance or tinned fruit as thought they were an intricate part of their sporting success. Some stars are even turning their fame into acting careers gaining a leg up portraying their bad-boy sporting persona as they projecting it onto the silver screen.

Its not all doom and gloom as science isn’t only available to those wishing to skate on the thin ice of the dark side, it have revolutionised the way we coach, the way we train, the way we compete and especially the way we think.

Understanding the greatest asset any athlete has is what has become the most sought after advantage in the sporting arena, it’s the cutting edge technology of the competitive world.

It’s the greatest single influence in deciding whether you will succussed or fall into the heap with all the other physically damaged, almost made it athletes.

Of course we have always had this advantage, it’s always been there with us we just didn’t know it or if we did we had no idea how to tap into it.

It has been idling waiting for you to be put into gear and let rip. Of course it’s our unconscious mind, lets face it its fare more efficient than any externally implanted enhancement, its cost effective and totally programmable. So why don’t we maximise on this free advantage we all have?

The simple answer is it has been underestimated for centuries, human nature is that if something is “free” we give it little value, little credibility, how can something we already have be worth so much and be this amazing advantage?

Socially the more expensive something is the more value we place on it, the big red sports car, the house with the pool, the jewellery! It must be better it cost more surely.

This is due to the fact that we tend to require external reference, others ratification to our decisions. If someone else values it highly then maybe I should too. Maybe there is something more to it than I can see?

The competitors mind is no different, in fact the competitors mind by nature is far more judging of value than the less competitive of us. The urge to win is strong, every conceivable advantage must be played out, and every advantage needs to be explored.

A Competitive Mind

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

When we took our first steps as babies, our parents were overjoyed, a milestone in our development, a natural evolution and progression an innate instinct that has driven our species to the top of the evolutionary chain.

We probably spent months rocking back and forth on our knees, entertaining our parents with every spill and fall as they waited in anticipation for us to move to the next rung on the ladder.

Little did we know at the time, we were creating a life long strategy for learning, a system that will dictate the effectiveness of many of the things we do and achieve in our lives.

Experts estimate we make several hundred attempts at standing, long before we finally succeed for the first time. Every time we stumble, fall or correct ourselves our brains are taking notes, assessing, reassessing and making instrumental adjustments. With these notes our brains fine-tune our behaviour and before long, standing is child’s play!

As adults, you would probably expect the learning process to be far more refined, maybe even more efficient as our brains develop, experience and apply adult logic. But has it?

Actually we follow pretty much the same basic strategy of attempt, assess, reattempt and reassess as we did as babies. We make mistakes and our brain readjusts for the next attempt, learning as we go each time correcting the previous mistakes and documenting its progress step by step.

Messages are sent to our brains where they are accessed, processed, and an action is dispatched, reassessed, reprocessed and re-dispatched.

After some time our brain become satisfied with it’s ability to cope with the requested action and delegates the role, it sends the patterned task to the cerebellum, which creates a neurological point of reference, a blueprint a reference for the next time we perform that or a similar action.

The cerebellum is a smaller area at the base of the brain, often referred to as the ‘little brain.’ It handles many of our subconscious behaviours, the reactions that have been created and perfected by our learning process.

This is all well and good but exceptionally time consuming and actually not at all efficient as it presupposes we will make countless mistakes before being successful.

Of course, this may take just fractions of a second in reality, but in a game where races are won and lost on those fractions, it makes sense to improve our odds by refining the process.
This is achievable because our bodies behave like computer operating systems, it communicate with others and internally using a specific individual language, a dialogue that is evolved through the assess and reassess protocol.

When we understand our own individual neurological language it allows us to effectively communicate our messages internally and externally with more precision, it also allows us to better understand and manage our responses by cutting out much of the hit and miss mentality.

And in the world of sport where split-second communication between mind and body is so crucial, a hybrid science was constructed utilising the best of performance psychology and NLP which teaches us how to develop these skills, honing them to be effective and efficient.

Talking our own specific language, as with the computers operating system allows us to train an effective learning strategy, one without having to go through the arduous, time consuming traditional learning process. It also allows us to be specific and focused in our approach whilst imprinting the blueprint directly into the cerebellum.

This new leap forward in advanced learning has a new ally in its corner ‘Hemisphere training’ a relatively new science in neurological stimulation. It takes learning to the next level by specifically stimulating the brains receptors, priming them to learn, absorb and react far more efficiently.

Teaching the brain to be hyper alert, like our own elite internal fighter pilot, priming before imprinting the specific actions into your thought process – giving your mind perfect, efficient options each and every time.

This can eliminate months of traditional training and costly mistakes from the repetitive training process, it also reduces the likelihood of both physical and mental fatigue and injury all a common complaint amongst high performance athlete.

This cutting edge science is the next evolutionary step in creating the perfect athlete.