Posts Tagged ‘analyse’

3D Coach: The Most Effective Sporting Results Can Be Found In Another Dimension

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

It’s only human to have good days and off days. And to most of us an off day isn’t such a big deal in the whole scheme of things. But to a professional athlete these off days could spell trouble.

3D CoachIf bad days become more and more frequent and the machine of expectation that surrounds a professional athlete has them completely derailed, it follows that their performance is likely to resemble a train wreck.

And this could mean the difference between being re-signed for the next season or dropped from a team and potentially losing millions of dollars in payment and endorsements. So once their attitude and synergy has turned festy and poisonous – these professionals look for something different.

Traditionally when athletes completely miss their mark and their performance begins to glide southwards their first instinctive response is to do more of the same – and that is physical training!

As a former athlete I myself have been put through the ‘traditional’ avenues coaches and athletes favour in an attempt to either avoid or turn a bad situation around – and it is within this tradition of reactivity that lies the systemic problem.

More gym work, more kicking practice, more hours of the same training… more… more… more… more…

The issue may be a technical anomaly or a physical inefficiency or even a lack of performance history and focus, but the head-down bum-up more, more, more approach typically perpetuates the emotional baggage and tainting of process that comes with these performances: the sense of desperation; the sense of expectation; the sense of anxiety; and ultimately the sense of failure.

On the surface I can see the thought process behind this traditional approach. Let’s face it, athletes are physical performers therefore focusing on the increase in physical response it ‘should’ in theory give them results.

3D CoachBut does it?

Stop for a moment and analyse this philosophy: if an athlete or group of athletes have just under-performed and experienced a poor result, irrespective of the cause, where is their mental and emotional objectivity likely to be focused?

Are they focusing on improving, correcting and moving forward? Or has the painful performance cemented in the mistakes made and the outcomes they delivered?

Like many dedicated humans their focus externally will be on correction, because that is what they consciously tell themselves, but in reality their mental and internal focus will be completely on the mistakes made and how NOT to repeat them.

If the mental focus is on NOT to repeat the mistakes, where are they likely to emotionally and cognitively end up? …  Repeating the same mistakes… and thus perpetuating the cycle of poor results, uncontrollable emotions, and more poor results.

It was reported that the Australian Rugby Union team went from one of their poorest performances at the Rugby World Cup 2011 straight into a training session the next day, trying to put right where they had gone wrong.

So if rushing from the competition venue to a training session is not the answer – then what is?

FOCUSED OBJECTIVITY

The two main reasons many athletes and coaches rush to do something active (and in their model of the world ‘actively’ deconstruct their performance) with more physical repetitions is because:

1. Athletes associate action with physical action not necessarily mental action and feel more in control if they are physically ‘doing something.’ So this is feeding their emotions rather than their technical issues.

2. Historically, it is what athletes have done. It has been traditionally handed down from coach to athlete. When things go wrong get back on the horse and just do it again. The legacy continues.

The solution lies in the ability to analyse.

Rather than embedding emotionally anchored physical repetition and doing something just because you have done it before, a more effective approach is to step back and analyse. Just analyse what worked, what didn’t work and how it can be mechanically corrected.

This level of objectivity allows an athlete to distance themselves from perpetuating the same result; to learn from the mistakes and to analytically correct the issues before they become embedded into their programme.

The 3D Coach™

The innovation of the 3D coach™ allows the athlete to analyse their performance in the following way:

First Dimension:
Look at their performance from their own perspective with all the emotions attached (associated to the event);

Second Dimension:
Look at their performance as another would see it mechanically, systematically and chronologically (dissociated to the event)

Third Dimension:
Once the athlete can see the performance for what it really was then they can see their performance from the perspective of how it would impact the long term outcome both corrected and uncorrected.

This process can deconstruct and reconstruct the event without the blurring of the facts with heavy emotion and allows the athlete to tweak and tinker with the skills without the fears associated with the past performance.

This all sounds very simple, and it is, but unfortunately under utilised. So the next time you or one of your athletes have an off performance, resist the urge to dive back in the gym and instead understand just where the improvements need to be!

Masterminds: It’s a Group Thing – The Importance of Sharing to Learn

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

There was a Cyclist, Sprinter, Swimmer and Footballer all sitting in a coffee shop – when the swimmer turned to the others and said, “So, what do we all have in common…?”

 

…No, this isn’t the build up to a bad Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman joke, rather a scene at a recent group brainstorming session we held.

It's a group thingThis is where a group of professional athletes and coaches come together to share where they are at with their mental training, and what has and hasn’t worked for them over the last 30 days.

This process, although sometimes logistically difficult is amazingly beneficial – and you may be surprised to see just how well these different sports play together!

In a previous post, we have discussed the use of journaling in the assessment and application phases of training and how it can analytically give you a clearer indication of just how well you are traveling and show you where the next move needs to be.

However, have you ever stopped and thought ‘I wonder just how well this works for everyone else?’, or ‘Do they get the same outcome as I do?’, or ‘Would another athlete have these strong emotional reactions over the same thing?’

Being able to bounce thoughts off sporting peers, and share ideas or experiences from different sports, is a key aspect to building social proof and supporting our own personal belief system.

An area coaches may neglect to include in their development strategy is the psychological and emotional need for ongoing social proof in the individual or team. As much as these athletes and coaches would like to have you think they are maverick in their approach, they can be far more tentative and traditional in reality.

Whilst the application may be as different as each sport, or as individual as a single person, the ability to build social proof through contributing to these brainstorming sessions is a key factor in sustainably imbedding neural and physical skill systems.

Another benefit is the belief you are actively contributing to your own development and career. This helps nurture personal ownership of the process and develops sustainable forward motivation.

So as a coach, what do you do to ‘sell’ your clients on the big picture in your approach to their neural and emotional performance – and are they buying in, or just turning up?

The unknown is an unnerving place for anyone to be. No one likes loosing control of their performance, nor do they like processes being done to them. So it makes no sense to keep them in the dark nor does it work.

Rather, they want to feel they have a handle on their sporting trajectory, are involved in integrating these neural improvements and are an intricate part of the whole.

The Art of Journaling: the Secret Weapon of the Elite Athlete

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Assess and Analyse – What are you Forgetting to Remember?


Historically people have developed the ritual of writing diary entries to keep a record of their feelings, their daily activities and documenting significant events for posterity.

For an athlete or coach, the disciplined and pragmatic habit of keeping a journal can be a vital tool when assessing performance, analysing strategies and developing an effective structure to their game.

Once you have initially set up a strong foundation by designing an order and sequence of recording specific information, the practice of journaling your career has far reaching applications.

In my first contact with a new client, I encourage them to start keeping a detailed journal and spend a fair bit of time in the beginning educating them on the benefits of, not just keeping a regular diary, but a journal that plays a key role in their Mind Coaching programme.

When looking back through journal entries with athletes where we have been working together for a couple of seasons, the results have been both prophetic and astounding, especially in those who have fully embraced the journalling ritual. It’s so rewarding for an athlete to see, especially in some who previously wrote no more than a shopping list on a post-it note prior to our coaching relationship, the time spent reflecting on their own words in their journals is paying them back 10-fold.

The science behind this is quite simplistic: when we ‘think’ something or we ‘commit’ something to our memory, unless we assign it significant importance, it often becomes lost in the diverse, endless pieces of information and events we store in our minds. So the likelihood of us instantly recalling that specific memory when analysing or becoming aware of a cognitive pattern that could significantly impact performance is very low.

Think back to your last training session and try to recall everything you were told, you told yourself, you experienced and observed – how much detail can you truly recall?

Now think back to as little as one week ago or one month ago – how much detailed information can you recall from those sessions? I bet there are massive gaps in your conscious memory? What if the one piece of information that could make all the difference to your next game was lost in the chasms of your memory?

Detailing each session… each recovery… each thought process… each technique… and so on enables you to not only build an accurate picture of how you are going, what is and isn’t working but also enables you to pick up on patterns and emotional triggers long before they become an issue. By creating an effective recording process you will automatically both search and recall in a specifically designed manner, highlighting both abnormalities and learning efficiencies.

The biggest benefit I see in athletes who journal is the motivational boost it provides. A regular read-through of their journal feeds them with instant feedback on how far they have come in such a short space of time. These chronological markers of success breeds greater success – see previous post on feeding the motivation engine for more detail on how this works.

Clearly the secret isn’t only in the way the information is recorded but in the way it is deciphered too, so what are you forgetting to remember!