As athletes, most of us have encountered an injury that sidelines us. It is a tough pill to swallow, one that can leave you feeling miserable, overwhelmed, depressed and just pissed off.
Most of us will encounter an injury at some point during our athletic career. How you handle this setback and your recovery is entirely up to you and within your control.
Shit happens…. what are you going to do about it?
A couple of years ago, after shattering my ankle in a mountain bike ride, one that required surgery and 7 months on crutches, I was left with two choices. Crawl under a rock or treat my recovery like I treated my athletic career. This was great advice given to me by Robyn Pickering. She said, “Michelle, put the same dedication and commitment to your healing as you do to your sport.” It was brilliant advice, advice that I have shared with many of my athletes.
Commit to Healing
So, what does it look like exactly to commit to your healing?
High performing athletes see the opportunities in every situation, resilience is a learned skill but once mastered allows you to bounce back with velocity.
Are your belief systems hijacking your performance?
Belief systems are personal to you, based on your experience of the world. It is a belief or an opinion that feels true to you.
Are you limited in your performance? Do you get stopped by fear of failure? Do you get stuck in the world of procrastination or worry or doubt? Your belief systems may be getting in the way and here are some simple strategies to create new beliefs, beliefs that will empower your performance.
Ask Yourself These Questions:
Once you’ve identified your belief system, you will most likely notice its constraining nature. Perhaps your view is “I am not good enough” or “Life is tough” or “I might fail”, imagine how this inner dialogue will infiltrate every area of your life both in and outside of sport. By shining a light on this limiting belief, you can let it go and replace with a more positive reframe. “Life is tough” can be replaced with” I rise to challenges, they are necessary to growth” or “I might fail” can be replaced with “Failure is feedback, it allows me to improve my game” Remember, Michael Jordan said the reason he was so successful is because he failed so often.
Start paying attention, be mindful of how your belief systems are impacting you. By changing them, you will change your life and unlock your full potential.
What to read more? Check out my post on reorienting a negative state of mind.
A belief system is nothing more than a thought you've thought over and over again.
How it all started
To give you a bit of background, this all started with a conversation that Michelle Newton and I were having as I was describing how frustrating it was balancing my weight and being healthy all the while navigating through menopause. Over the past few years I’ve put on 20 plus pounds and all the methods that used to work don’t work anymore and frankly, I’m tired of dieting - I just want to live and enjoy life. On top of that, my husband had a serious health
scare last year which we are still working our way through and it just emphasized the
importance of living/eating a healthier lifestyle.
Like most of us, I’ve been exercising consistently for the past year and I’m feeling stronger and
definitely fit, (there’s muscle under those extra pounds). But I want more; I still feel like I’m not
at my best, I’m ready to take it to the next level. This is where Michelle Newton comes
in! She's had phenomenal success coaching high level athletes working through their
obstacles and helping them get to the next level. I thought, I’m an athlete, why can’t she help
me get to the next level by working through my relationship with food and incorporating a
healthy eating program - NOT A DIET- into our lives. We started researching, reading, talking
to people, councillors, food psychologists and finally developed this program which I’m super
excited about. The program supports moving you into a healthier lifestyle and closer to being
the best version of ourselves. I KNOW IT WORKS – here’s what one of our participants had to
say about the program:
“I'm really enjoying this program and the process, so much more than expected, you have put together a great program that I think is speaking to everyone in different ways/in the ways we all individually need it most.”
The program includes weekly coaching sessions to support our plan, group discussions (I always work better in a team), a nutritionist who will be providing us with a healthy eating plan/guidelines, recipes and lots of support.
The nutritional plan is tailored specifically to our group’s makeup (over 45, women, menopausal) and goals (health, cancer prevention etc.). The great part of having a nutritionist supporting the program and participating in two of the sessions, is that the plan will be highly adaptive to the group’s needs.
I want to emphasize that this is a lifestyle, not a diet. It doesn’t mean I’m going to stop drinking red wine and won’t indulge now and then. It just means that I am going to be more conscience of putting good food/fuel into my body which over the long term should restore my body to its ideal body weight and more importantly keep me healthy so that I can continue
to live an active lifestyle well into my 70’s!
“I was quite apprehensive making the commitment to this group and before it even started I was kicking myself for saying yes for fear of failing. Thank goodness I actually followed through because this has been fantastic. I don’t know when it happened or what clicked for me, but I just really want to live my best life and it wasn’t going to happen down the road I was headed. The Tuesday night group meetings are something I look forward to. The movies scare me, then teach and energize me. The lovely women I’ve met have been wonderful. This whole experience has truly been a gift and one that I’m very grateful for.”
About our team:
Michelle Newton’s proven record as a coach known for achieving results and training in wellness and homeopathy make her a uniquely qualified performing edge coach. For more about Michelle: http://www.momentumsport.ca/
Gillian Bogden is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist who received her training from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Ontario. They are considered the industry leader in training nutrition professionals. http://instituteofholisticnutrition.com/about-us/program-overview/
Michele Varley – I am 100% committed to running clean and eating good whole foods that nourish me and my families bodies. Diets may work short term however they are not healthy and over 95% of dieters gain back the weight they lost. In 5 short weeks I have lost 7 lbs without feeling hungry, my hot flashes have gone, I have energy and I feel great! There is no turning back!
We only have room for 10 women - we are offering early bird pricing of $400 per person if you book before November 21, after that the rate is $450. We have two sessions starting in January:
Tuesdays at 6:30 – 8pm starting January 23rd
Fridays at 10:30 – 12noon starting January 26th
604 783-9223 email@example.com
Do you live outside of Vancouver, you can join no problem with our virtual classroom. You will be able to join in on all the discussions and particpate fully via zoom.
Running Clean – 5 Weeks to Better Health
5 Weeks to Better Health Program Outline
Coaching topic: State of Mind: Your food story – we will uncover and discuss your relationship with food
Menu Plan: Breakfast menu/recipes
Goal for the week: eliminating refined foods and sugar
Homework: video, connect with your group partner, check into FB group daily
Coaching topic: State of Mind: How to change behaviours that trigger unhealthy decisions Menu Plan: Lunches and Snacks menu/recipesGoal for the week: drinking water and reducing caffeine
Ph level testing – what’s your body’s acidity level, how does that impact your health Homework: video, connect with your accountability partner, check into FB group daily
Coaching topic: State of Mind: What are the barriers and constraints that are keeping you from being the best version of yourself
Ph level testing – what changes are you seeing
Menu Plan: Dinners menu/recipes
Goal for the week: 80/20 rule
Homework: video, connect with your accountability partner, check into FB group daily
State of Mind: What's working and what is challenging. Mind Body Connection Ph level testing – check in
Planning for success on Week 5
State of Mind: Focus as being a choice.
Coaching topic: Creating lasting change, mentorship and leadership possibilities. Homework: Practicing kindness and compassion to one’s self.
Expectations and Commitments:
We will all be faced with struggles, challenges in our lives that can derail us, shake the ground out from underneath us but how are we going to deal with it? Struggle is mandatory; however, suffering is optional.
We have all heard stories of individuals who have faced insurmountable odds and have inspired us with their stories of grit and determination, rising above when most would fall.
In 1954 a young girl was born in Mississippi USA. Her mother was 13yrs old at the time of her birth. This young girl was consequently raised by her grandmother and ultimately conceived and delivered her own first child at the age of 13. Her baby was born stillborn. Can you imagine what this would have done to a teenage mother, its unimaginable the pain she must have suffered. Before having a child, she had been assaulted by 4 separate family members and on top of all of that she was black in a state that did not recognize people based on their character but rather the color of their skin. This woman went on to become one of the top influential people of this century, was one of the most successful talk show hosts and multimedia publishers in American TV history. By now you may have guessed, this woman is Oprah Winfrey. Somehow, Oprah was able to not only survive but thrive despite the odds being stacked against her.
So how does one transform a breakdown into a break through? Oprah is an extreme example of this however, each of us will at some point or another face challenges in areas of work, health, relationships and how can we see the opportunity in these breakdowns to create a better future for ourselves? We are inundated with information and strategies to fix just about any problem. You don’t have to walk more than 5 city blocks to observe a wide range of offerings from personal trainers, to diet centers, personal growth and counselling. Today, there is a strategy for just about anything that ails you, the problem lies in the block that occurs thereby preventing us from fulfilling on these strategies.
Through research and experience I have discovered that the two blocks to any breakthrough in any area of your life are a) your story and b) your state of mind. Lets look at story for a moment…each of us has had a multitude of experiences on this planet which have shaped who we are. We have developed strong suits because of these experiences and these strong suits have helped us to become successful in our lives. Conversely, from our experiences we have formed beliefs or stories that limit our performance. They are kind of like a ‘get out jail free’ card in a way. They are similar to a hall pass whereby we don’t have to be responsible for ourselves. For example, you may have pervasive negative self-talk which you attribute to your father who was also self-critical and you may feel like you’ve learned it from him so it is no surprise that you are following in this footstep. By blaming your parents for where you are in your life means you can hedge your responsibility in this area and justify your own behaviour. Recognizing the cost of this story and rewriting the script will allow you to break free of this constraint.
The second critical factor is your state of mind; your attitude and what you chose to focus on. Your state of mind will directly influence your emotions and your emotions will directly affect how you think and feel. Ask yourself, what are you focused on? Know that whatever you focus on, amplifies. For example, in your relationships if you are focused on the negatives then these will completely overshadow any positive qualities this person might have. If you would like to lose weight and you are focused on your large bone structure you may find yourself being defeated before even trying any of the weight-loss strategies that are available today. I can only imagine that Oprah has chosen to focus on helping others and this would ultimately have taken her out of suffering and into the world of gratitude.
Don’t squander yourself to a crappy story or a negative state of mind, instead chose to write a new empowering script one that will serve you in the highest possible way. Why do people’s lives turn out differently? Because of decisions not conditions. Be mindful of those 6 inches between your ears, it can be a dangerous neighbourhood or hopefully a powerful ally. You get to decide.
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For many people, riding and showing horses is the culmination of a lifelong dream. For others, it’s a passion they have been pursuing for decades. Whether you are new to the sport or a veteran, one question you are likely to ask yourself at some point is “is this all worth it?”
At one time or another we have all felt like our horse life has stalled out, struggled, or in some way not lived up to our dream.
It’s easy to wonder, is there a “special secret” that some people know and others don’t? Is high-level success reserved for the “lucky few” with natural talent?
It turns out the answer is “no.” For decades, psychologists have researched the science behind these questions. In 2006, Stanford researcher Carol Dweck published the results of her research into the mindset of success.
Dweck’s research paints a picture of two opposing mindsets—fixed and growth. A person with a fixed mindset believes that we are born with all the ability and intelligence we will ever have. They tend to avoid challenges and are fearful of failure. In short, the fixed mindset values being a natural talent.
The growth mindset believes that ability and intelligence and are changeable through perseverance and hard work. These individuals are less afraid of making mistakes, and view failure as a necessary ingredient in the success formula. The growth mindset recognizes natural talent, but it acknowledges that hard work and dedication can improve talent.
In the sports world, the two mindsets translate into being “coachable” (growth), and “uncoachable” (fixed). As a general rule, coachable players accept criticism and feedback, are open to doing things differently, trust the coach, and value hard work.
“Uncoachable” players exhibit the opposite set of traits.
In the horse world a growth mindset rider might say something like, “I’ve never showed at this level before. I feel like anything is possible, I’m just not quite there yet. What can I do to step up my game?”
A more fixed-minded rider might seem almost disappointed that they have earned their way out the lower levels. “I just got lucky for a couple of shows, and now I’m out of the Rookie. I get to the shows, and my confidence evaporates. When I look at the competition, I don’t see how I can ever beat them.”
The Profile of a Coachable Rider
Coaches across all sports agree that coachable athletes exhibit some key traits. In the horse world, trainers and riding instructors consistently cite three traits shared by their most coachable students:
It’s important to note at this point that “coachability” is not an all-or-none trait. Riders can fall anywhere along a spectrum from totally un-coachable to completely coachable.
Totally un-coachable riders often fall prey to some common myths. They may believe coaching is only for beginners, or feel that they already have all the knowledge they need—they just need to apply it. These riders take failure personally, and tend to look for external factors as the reason they don’t succeed.
Further along the spectrum are the “somewhat coachable” riders—some days they may take feedback and incorporate it, while other days they remain indifferent. In other cases, they may do what their trainer asks, but in a hesitant way. They doubt the instruction if it doesn’t net them immediate success.
At the far end of the spectrum is the fully coachable rider, who accepts criticism and feedback, incorporates it fully, and trusts the trainer to guide them. This rider will try new things, accepts failure as a valuable resource for improvement, and is willing to put in the work needed to improve.
No one is perfect. The ideal, totally coachable athlete probably doesn’t exist. To a varying degree, we are all somewhat “fixed” in nature. But once you understand the concepts, you can do something about it.
Check your ego at the tack room door.
"You are like this cup; you are full of ideas. You come and ask for teaching, but your cup is full. Before I can teach you, you'll have to empty your cup."-- Zen Master Ryutan
NRHA Professional Bruce Liggett immediately alluded to the above quote when talking about coachable riders. “You have to empty your mind. Forget about what you think is right or wrong, especially if you are starting in a new program or with a new horse. Empty the cup.”
Our conscious mind acts as a filter. Its job is to receive information, analyze it, and send it to our subconscious mind, which looks at the big picture and decides where the information fits. It’s a bit like an ever-expanding jigsaw puzzle. As adults we have a lifetime of experiences and perspectives which make up the puzzle pieces. So, even if you are quite open-minded, it’s still possible to fall into the trap of making false assumptions about new information.
Liggett added, “You are likely an expert in your business or career. You can be a very intelligent, highly educated person, but this is a new game for you. If I stepped into your world, the tables would turn for me. I would need to set aside my pride and start from the beginning.”
The best way to avoid this pitfall is to check your ego at the tack room door, and to pay attention to your interior dialogue during your lesson. Be aware of thoughts or phrases like these:
“I already know this.”
“This is too basic for me.”
“Yes, I understand that, but here’s what I’m actually trying to do.”
You might also feel defensive when receiving feedback or criticism about your riding. If you find yourself having an emotional reaction to your trainer’s instruction, it’s a sign your mindset might need a tune-up.
Thoughts and emotions like these are the gremlins of an un-coachable mindset. Once you are aware of them, it takes effort to put a stop to them. One way to do this is with a catch-phrase that’s designed to interrupt the negativity.
A rider might say to himself, “Let it go” as a way of banishing negative thoughts and reactive feelings. Some athletes combine the phrase with a physical gesture, such as opening their hand and letting the negativity drop into the dirt where it belongs.
The next step is to replace the negative phrase with something positive.
“Give it a try.”
“I’m open to new things.”
“I’m refining my understanding of this concept.”
This technique of purposefully reframing statements creates new “puzzle pieces” that are fed to the subconscious mind. Over time, this allows your big picture view to be reshaped.
Trusting your trainer to guide the process.
Often, the skillset that got you where you are is not the same skillset that you need to excel at a higher level. Getting to the next level may involve short-term failure, as you learn to refine your feel.
Cutting trainer Ashley Baxstrom agrees. “Once you get a basic skillset, sometimes it can be hard to adapt that as you move up through the levels,” he says. “Your basic idea of what’s correct needs to be refined over time.”
Non-coachable riders tend to shy away from failure, rather than pushing through and developing a more advanced skillset. They tend to rest in the comfort zone of what they know, and operate under the false assumption that their current level of feel for what is correct doesn’t need to change, only that they need to “put it all together”.
These riders often move from tactic to tactic in an effort to find the “magic bullet” that finally lets them succeed. They may lack the trust that their trainer knows how to guide them through the learning process.
It’s interesting to note that these riders are often avid consumers of information, but fail to follow through by acting on the information. They are eager to succeed, they just don’t fully understand the process of learning new skills. Because the fixed mindset favors natural talent, it believes excellence should be effortless, and that having to struggle to grasp concepts is a sign of failure. The attitude is “tell me what to do, so I can get it right the first time.”
Baxstrom emphasized the need for trust between rider and trainer. “Sometimes it seems like non pros get to a certain level of success, and they become afraid to push through that one extra step that would take them to the next level. Trust your trainer. Go all in.”
So how do you create a “go all in” attitude? It starts with your perspective.
Coachable riders view failure in its true light—as a learning and strengthening process. To them, failure is simply information that they can use to improve, not a final judgement on their self-worth. They also understand that as they strive for bigger goals, they will have failures along the way, and as they achieve each goal, the process will begin again. They understand that a good coach or trainer will challenge them, and help to guide them through the learning curves. Failure is necessary.
Cowhorse trainer Erin Taormino agrees, “My most coachable non-pros trust me in what I’m telling them. They believe in what I’m trying to get them to do, and because of that, they see results.”
This is another situation where the conversations you have with yourself are important. The un-coachable mindset views failure as “final”. These riders often say or think things like “I’m just no good at this. I’ll never get it.”
The coachable rider’s attitude is: “I may not have the skills do this yet, but I can learn them.”
They give themselves positive direction for what needs to happen, instead of focusing on the negatives of the situation. Rather than thinking “this isn’t working,” they tell themselves what they need to do. “Right leg back, push his hip over.”
Coachable riders recognize small, incremental gains as success. For the rider struggling with flying lead changes, this might mean understanding that learning to correctly position the horse’s shoulder is a big win, even if you still haven’t gotten the lead change mastered. It’s about creating a mental win and building on it. Your subconscious mind keeps hearing the message “we’re good at this”, and works to make that a reality.
It takes work
All the trainers agreed that finding success takes hard work, and coachable riders are willing to put in that effort.
Taormino says: “With my non-pros, we tackle issues as they arise. Problems are going to get magnified in the show arena, so I make it a point to attack them head on. I do try to make it a point to get in there and work on problem spots, then take a break or put the horse a way. I don’t want myself, my riders, or the horse to get overwhelmed. You can always come back later in the day and do a little more.”
Taormino’s approach highlights an important point about hard work—it’s not necessarily about the quantity of the work, but the quality that’s important. This type of intentional practice, targeted at improving weak areas, is not sustainable for long periods. The mental and physical focus required is best suited to short sessions. Many athletes say that they are more tired after these short intentional sessions than they are after much longer but less targeted sessions.
One way top athletes approach intentional practice is to schedule it and keep a record of it in their training journal. It’s easy to record “rode two hours yesterday” and feel like you put in hard work. But if one hour was a trail ride and the other hour was spent working on maneuvers you are already good at, then you aren’t truly moving the dial towards progress.
It’s important to understand that being a coachable rider doesn’t mean being “spoon-fed”--never taking action or making decisions until your trainer tells you what to do. The process of being coached through learning curves should produce a rider who is more capable and knowledgeable with time.
Being coachable also doesn’t make you immune to frustration, disappointment, and heartbreak. Even very successful riders experience these, they have just learned to handle them in a more productive way.
Finally, it’s likely that advice such as keeping a training journal and using positive self-talk seems quite simplistic. Decades of research have proven that these behaviors produce success, rather than being the products of success.
In the early stages, it can feel very forced. Your mind will resist any attempt to change the status quo, so it’s important that you stick with it. Traditional thinking has been that it takes 21 days to create a new habit, but recent research has shown that the process is likely much longer-- up to 12 weeks or more. Remember, you can jumpstart the cycle of success, sometimes it’s just necessary to do it by hand.
Written by: June Stevens, junecstevens.com
Confidence. We know what it looks like in others and we have experienced this in ourselves. When we are feeling confident, life unfolds in an effortless way, and nothing can stop us at this moment. Life is easy, we find ourselves moving forward creating and reaching our goals because we are fuelled by that extremely powerful engine of self-confidence.
Exemplifying this would be Roger Federer, a player who we know with absolute certainty possesses that winning attitude of confidence. He wins his matches because he believes he will win, despite what his opponents throw at him. Federer has spent 302 weeks at number one in the charts, which is no easy task. In winning 17 Grand Slams and 6 world tour finals, he is the most consistent player, ever. And, outside tennis, Federer was voted most respected in the world after Mandela. Make no mistake, Federer was not born with confidence, he learned it. He is as human as the rest of us, capable of undermining ourselves and equally as capable of unleashing our full potential.
We all create barriers that limit us, but with proper training these can be overcome and the reconditioning process for building self-confidence can be simple and direct. Just like physical training, mental conditioning takes practice and patience.
We all have weaknesses that will limit our performance. There is no shame in this, as it is what makes us human. But, it is entirely possible and achievable to change our weaknesses into power. Your weakness is not a problem but offers an opportunity to find a solution that will make you stronger. If you really want to improve your training and build confidence, you need to go out of your way to address and correct your weaknesses.
First step, take personal inventory. Be brutally honest with yourself, locate your weaknesses and get started on addressing it. By working on the weakest link in your chain and making that strong, you will improve. By addressing your weakness, you will be prepared, confident, resilient and be able to handle your competition with the grace and ease of a Roger Federer. Because you are prepared, you will be able to shrug off pressure and play your game to your maximum potential.
Is your weak link, self-acceptance? Do you attach your success or failure on the field to who you are? Learn to separate the sport you play from who you are and be very mindful of that distinction. Athletes often use their scores or performance to define their self worth. A lackluster race performance does not indicate that you are a poor athlete nor does it reflect on your potential for future races. Lighten up on harsh negative self talk and negative self judgments and accept yourself as valuable regardless of outcome. Replace statements such as, "I screwed up today." with "I am going to be fully prepared next time for whatever comes my way." Initially this may be challenging, but at the very least you can tone down the volume and significance of these self attacks. We are our own worst critic, the world certainly does not see us in the light that we often shine on ourselves. Learn to treat yourself as you would your best friend or someone closest to you.
Choose a positive quality you want to develop. For example, you may aspire to be calm under pressure so that you are resilient to setbacks and able to face adversity head on. Select another person who possesses these qualities. This could be a peer, a coach, a pro athlete, someone that you can connect to that is doing what you aspire to do. Create an image of that person, clearly in your mind as though you are watching a movie, rewinding, pausing and playing until you feel it for yourself. That energy you can take and apply to your own performance and it will become your own.
Finally, think back to a time in your life when you excelled, when you performed at your absolute best. This could have been at a competition, or an interaction you had with someone or an accomplishment not even related to your sport. It is a moment when you achieved your peak performance. Connect back to that event; what were you doing, who was with you, where were you, how were you feeling; incorporate as many senses as possible into this movie. Now, replay it in your mind fully experiencing it and essentially reliving that event. Know that you achieved that success because you were confident and know that you can be this confident again to fuel your next performance. With this exercise, you are reminded that you have done it before and you can easily do it again.
Each one of us can decide to be confident athletes and confident in life. It takes a bit of practice and consistency but with that effort you will be rewarded and no longer will adversity and challenge control your life. Your positive attitude that comes with this confidence will unlock your full potential both on and off the field.
Got a sport psychology question? Send it our way at, firstname.lastname@example.org, we would be happy to answer it.
Is your life organized in a way that motivates you towards excellence? Have you discovered what is fundamental to your success both on and off the court? Consider the following habits, incorporate them into your daily routine and watch what magic unfolds.
1. The purpose of life is a life of purpose. What do you want? You need to be exceptionally clear on what your goal is, without clarity it will not happen. Form a clear mental image of the outcome and put positive pressure on yourself. Tell a friend or your coach. Attach a timeline to the goal, write it down on a sticky note and place it on your computer. Reflect on this goal daily and take the steps towards achieving it. If you’re goal doesn’t scare you, it isn’t big enough.
2. The ten minute period before you sleep, reflect on what you did well that day. Celebrate your achievements. What are you thankful for? By intentionally focusing on inspiring and serene thoughts your sleep will improve and you will be sending only positive messages to your subconscious. Consider that you are an archive of all your thoughts you have ever had about yourself. Begin to fill your mind with thoughts that will empower you and motivate you and watch your happiness quotient rise.
3. Upon waking, consider meditating. It doesn’t have to be long; 10 minutes is enough to kick start your day with a calm and focused mind. By doing this practice daily you will notice that pressure and stress fades and life becomes easier. Check out headspace.com where you can download a free app to get you started.
4. Practice mindfulness. Pay attention to your thoughts and how they affect your mental and emotional state. Consciously chose your perspective. In every moment of every day we have the possibility to see opportunity. Practice reframing all situations to the positive. Remember, from breakdowns comes the possibility of breakthroughs.
5. Enjoy the journey. By focusing on your mental state, you will be in charge of how you show up. We cannot control the outcome but we do have control over our thoughts and our perspective.
Stop leading a life of what iffs and start raising the ceiling on your perceived limits. Know that anything is possible and by incorporating winning habits into your daily routine you can achieve greatness both in your sport and in your life.
Got any other winning habits that you’d like to share? Please let us know and we can mention these in our next blog.
Most teams have experienced playing in hostile environments, where fans can be aggressive, calls unfavourable and opponents trying to get into your head. There is one intention when playing against these rival teams and it is to derail you, to rattle you and disrupt your level of play. If they did not see you as a threat, there would be no need for them to seek an edge through intimidation.
Rivalry is an essential element of sport. When challenged, teams can rise up and play beyond what they thought were possible. Performing strong in tough environments demands physical and mental preparation. With the right headspace teams can maintain their focus, stick to their game plan and rise up in the face of challenge.
Tips for overcoming pressure and playing in hostile environments:
1. Present Focus: it is critical for high performing athletes to maintain present focus. Be in the present moment, right here, right now. In this mindset, fear and stress dissolve. Practice being in the present moment with breath work, meditation and mindfulness. Know that you are not your thoughts nor the voice in your head. When you are in the present moment, the noise from the crowds and biased referring dissolves.
2. Quality of Focus: Consider what you chose to focus on affects your experience and state of mind. We are in complete control of our mindset and perspective. Rather than focusing on the noise or the yelling of the crowds, chose to focus on that which gives you power and allows you to play your best game. Chose rather to focus on your process or your love of the game or any aspect of the sport that puts you in a positive frame of mind.
3. Visualization: Mentally rehearse the upcoming game. Imagine the tough environment, hear the loud noises, see yourself sticking to your game plan and being successful. By mentally rehearsing beforehand you will walk onto the field as a confident athlete who is focused and prepared.
4. Duplicate Scenarios: Talk about what you will be facing. If it is loud noise, then create this in training so adaptation occurs. Practicing in adverse situations will condition the athlete’s mind.
Reframe Crowd Noise: Embrace it. Use it as a motivator and interpret it as they are cheering for you. Reframe the noise in a way that empowers you.
Be mindful of your thoughts and how they impact your performance. Look for opportunities to reframe, be positive and have a perspective that makes you a stronger athlete. As Winston Churchill said, “Mind management is the essence of life.”
Join our 28-day Meditation Challenge...starting Feb. 1 2017.
You do not need to know how to meditate, all you need is an open mind and 10 min. a day. Discover what unfolds for you during this journey.
For a new habit to become crystallized, one needs to perform the activity for 21 days in a row. The only way to install a new habit is to direct so much energy to it that the old one slips away. So, just to cover our bases we will do 28 days.
Please check our FB page for more details and inspirations. Sport Psychologists agree that consistent meditation allows athletes to focus better, handle pressure in a more positive way, quiet the mind and perform better.
Former Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams has said that he used to meditate every day and before each game. The NFL star even went on to teach a class on meditation at Florida's Nova Southeastern University. "This is my passion," Williams told NBC Miami.
In 2009, Lakers shooting guard and NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant told Conan O'Brien that he meditated with the team, led by coach Phil Jackson, before big games.
Sports psychologist and meditation teacher George Mumford worked extensively with the Chicago Bulls while Jordan was the team's star player, helping them to sharpen focus through a regular meditation practice. "When we are in the moment and absorbed with the activity, we play our best," Mumford told Mindful magazine.
"Meditating consistently over a period of time can offer a steady stream of small victories: the ability to eat and sleep better, lift more, run longer, zone out competition and get done what you have to get done. Over time, these little wins translate into massive achievements. Just ask Lebron." Charlie Ambler.
Check out Headspace.com and learn how meditation will give you the edge you are looking for. Download the Headspace App for free to get you started on your Meditation Journey.
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Creating Peak Performances
"If you can believe it, the mind can achieve it." Tonny Lasorda