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Saturday, 29 July 2017 13:25

How to Develop Confidence in Your Players

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  One of the most common hurdles facing coaches of youth players is “Performance Anxiety” Why is it that some players appear to rise to an occasion yet others appear to fall apart? Excessive nerves can be the result of a lack of confidence but this is often over-looked when the player in question seems to be completely confident in training. Mental Skills coaching techniques can help coaches to spot the symptoms and develop effective coping strategies to make under-achieving in matches a thing of the past. What is confidence? Ÿ  One dictionary definition is: the belief that one can…
Thursday, 16 March 2017 19:18

The Coaching Manager

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  People Centered…Outcome Driven…Performance Focused ”No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings” William Blake Standing at the bottom of a snow covered hill in Lofer, Austria, I was working with the GB Alpine ski team. The team were training for the next set of competitive races and my role was to assist them on the psychological aspects of their performance, in order to help them compete to the peak of their ability. I became aware that a man was standing by my shoulder. I recognized him from earlier when I had noticed he was keenly…
Monday, 25 July 2016 17:19

Anthony Joshua and Going for Gold

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    “I take every single day as a blessing and train to my absolute limit to be the best that I can be. Hard work pays off” – Anthony Joshua   British super heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua (AJ) is a relative newcomer among the Team GB Greats with only one Olympic Games under his belt. What words of wisdom will he pass on to the Rio 2016 competitors?    Well, for a start, he’s been-there-done-that… and got the gold medal! He knows how it feels to be on the world stage and he has hands-on experience of dealing with…
Sunday, 17 July 2016 09:41

Rio 2016 Team GB Greats

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  “It’s not always a bed of roses, but the blend of characters makes the strength of the team”  – Sir Steve Redgrave As part of the Team GB preparations for the Rio 2016 Olympics, a group of experienced Olympians known as the ‘Team GB Greats’ will be lending their support by passing on their knowledge. The ‘greats’ are Beth Tweddle, Denise Lewis, Steve Redgrave, Chris Hoy, Rebecca Adlington, Sarah Stevenson, Ben Ainslie and Anthony Joshua, so between them they’ve got a wide range of experiences to share. In fact, the eight of them have an accumulated experience of 27…
Tuesday, 28 June 2016 09:51

The Fear Factor

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England have been knocked out of the 2016 UEFA European Championships ; a match against Iceland in which a win for England was expected to win ,a chance to improve on their disappointing match performance against the Slovakia. They lost  2 - 1, so what happened?. What has caused the England team - the cream of England’s club players - to perform so poorly? From a sports psychology point of view, the big question is, why do they appear to be buckling under pressure? Meeting resistance Ever heard of the lizard brain? It’s a term used to describe the part…
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  “All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible” - T.E. Lawrence   If you were to describe your journey through life so far, would you say you’ve been on a gentle canal-boat cruise, enjoying sunny days and lazy lunches at country pubs along the way or a solo crossing of the Atlantic - in a kayak? How…
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  Ever said you’re going to do something, then not done it? Ever thought about making a career change; starting your own business, then not acted on that thought? Ever heard of the lizard brain? It’s a term used to describe the part of your brain concerned with basic survival. Your lizard brain doesn’t want you to take any chances or do anything risky, it wants you to play it safe and just stay alive. It’s the voice in the back of your head telling you to be careful, to go slow, to back off, and to compromise rather dream…
Monday, 01 February 2016 15:59

NLP – How to Make your Best even Better

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  Neuro-Linguistic-Programming (NLP) began as a study of successful language patterns back in the 1970s but quickly developed into a study of effective behavioral patterns, encompassing not only the language used by successful people but also the routine thought processes, emotions and actions of high achievers. In effect, NLP is a study of what makes successful people successful.  At its core, NLP is simply a method of discovering how anyone produces excellence in anything. It’s now widely used in business, sport, education and in general by those people who are interested in developing their personal effectiveness in life. The common…
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In this topsy-turvy Premier League season, in which everything impossible has become possible, newly promoted Leicester City top the table, while titleholders Chelsea and the generally consistent Swansea City sink towards the bottom of the table. Amidst all the irregularities, Arsenal have emerged as convincing title contenders. Currently sitting second in the table, their exploits and progress are largely masked by present leaders and neutral fan’s favourite Leicester City. The North London club’s win percentage in 2015 is the highest calendar year total in the club’s history and in contrast to some of their rivals, this has allowed Arsenal, with…
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    You’ll struggle to get through a football conversation at the moment, without the subject of Leicester City cropping up. The Foxes have been rubbing shoulders with the best since their return to England’s top flight and currently sit second in the League, Man City, nudging them off top spot by goal difference. The fact that Leicester hold such a surprisingly strong position in the table has created, what their ambassador describes as a “nothing to fear” climate around the King Palace. In contrast to the likes of the Manchester clubs, Arsenal and Liverpool etc, who are almost duty-bound…
Thursday, 03 December 2015 09:57

The Davis Cup… an Inspirational Team Success

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  “It’s incredible that we managed to win this competition. I didn’t know that would ever be possible. It’s great”  Andy Murray It has taken 79 years, but Great Britain is once again the holder of the Davis Cup. This year’s win is actually GB’s 10th but, as the last win was in 1936, it marks a phenomenal turn-around for tennis in Britain and it’s hoped that the team’s success will inspire a whole new generation of youngsters to get involved in the sport. John Lloyd, Davis Cup captain and finalist in 1978, said: "It is the most amazing achievement.…
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  “Worry is a wasted emotion. If you are worrying about something that hasn’t happened, plan for it and have a plan for it in case it does”– Steve Hansen New Zealand is now in the history books as the first ever nation to win the Rugby World Cup three times – so what’s the secret to the All Blacks success? Well, the “secret” can quite possibly be summed up in three words: better every day. Those three words are the team’s catch phrase and they epitomise the beliefs of every player, every coach and every member of the behind-the-scenes…
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   Liverpool’s resounding victory over title favourites Manchester City had Jurgen Klopp’s signature written all over it. The animated German stated in the post match interview “What we try to do is analyse the opponent, and see what their biggest strength is – then we have things we can do,” and that’s exactly what he orchestrated on Saturday. His players were in no way intimidated by their surroundings and hounded the hosts from the first whistle. It was clear to see that each player fully understood his role for the team and what was expected of them individually. It was…
Saturday, 14 November 2015 14:21

Mourinho's Blues EPL Week 12

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  Jose Mourinho, who served a 1-match stadium ban, may not have physically been in the Britannia, but with his travelling fans sporting 'Mourinho Masks', his presence was very much felt. Although Chelsea arrived on the back of 6 defeats in their 11 Premier League fixtures this season, there was a positive atmosphere surrounding the encounter. Chelsea were the brighter of the two sides throughout the first half; Diego Costa’s snapshot thwarted by Jack Butland was the closest they came in this half… and would prove the closest they came over the 90 minutes. Shortly after the break things began…
Thursday, 22 October 2015 14:07

Mental Toughness and Home Town Advantage.

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  “One of the challenges of international rugby is the fear of failure in a player, not wanting to try something for fear of making a mistake” – Stuart Lancaster, England Rugby Coach  As England go out of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, they become the first ever host nation to exit the tournament at the group stages. Clearly, this is not a ‘first’ to be proud of and many “we’ve let the nation down” statements have been made in interviews by the players and their coach. So what happened? Well, there’s a general media consensus that England  may have…
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  “You cannot push anyone up a ladder unless he be willing to climb a little himself” – Andrew Carnegie   In the last blog, we looked at head coach Warren Gatland’s ability to maintain a positive mental attitude despite injuries causing last-minute changes to his Welsh team as the 2015 Rugby World Cup got underway. The criticism he received for playing two of his key players in the final warm-up match got me thinking about the different approaches to building a top team in different sports and also the differences between getting to the top of your game in…
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  “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity” – Albert Einstein Whether you’re a rugby fan or not, you’re probably aware that the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup is about to get underway. The sports pages of just about every newspaper have been filled with stories relating to home-nation team selection and the potential for each squad to progress to the final, but, for some players, dreams of World Cup victory are already dashed as injuries sustained in warm-up matches will now see them sitting out for the rest of the tournament. So, from a sports psychology point of view,…
Thursday, 23 July 2015 18:44

Think Positive, Act Positive

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  I’ve heard people say putting is fifty per cent technique and fifty per cent mental. I really believe it is fifty per cent technique and ninety per cent positive thinking, see, but that adds up to one hundred and forty per cent, which is why nobody is one hundred per cent sure how to putt” - Chi Chi Rodriguez, pro golfer If you want to achieve something, you have to believe that the something you want to achieve is achievable! Look at it this way: if you’re out on the golf course about to take a putt, you have…
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    “Professional golf is the only sport where if you win twenty per cent of the time,  you’re the best” - Jack Nicklaus   In the game of golf, winning is not everything. Professional golfers want to win, of course, that’s how they earn a living after all but to a golfer, winning is more than being the player who picks up the prize money at the end of a tournament. Golfers want to be masters of the game.   We should all aspire to acquire a golfer’s attitude - and not just out on the golf course. A…
Saturday, 18 July 2015 13:49

Open Your Mind to Become a Champion

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“Golf is a game played on a five-inch course - the distance between your ears” - Bobby Jones  The 2015 Open Championship, often referred to as the British Open, is once again being held at St Andrews, the ‘Home of Golf,’ on the Old Course, one of the oldest golf courses in the world. It’s a course steeped in history and Jack Nicklaus, Open Champion in 1970 and 1978, once said, “If a golfer is to be remembered he must win the Open at St Andrews.” So what does it take to be remembered? What sort of physical and mental…
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  “It’s not any one person. It’s not any one coach. It’s the team” – Brian McBride Achieving a top performance in sport is not about turning up on the day and outplaying the opposition, it’s about preparing to win and, crucially, it’s also about being prepared to look for the positives in any outcome, win or lose, and taking on board the lessons learned to make performance improvements. There’s no one thing that prepares a sports team to win, it’s a combination of many different factors, and there’s no one team player on which the success or failure of…
Monday, 13 July 2015 14:12

Full Engagement

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“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships” – Michael Jordan Basketball legend Michael Jordan knows a thing or two about achieving a top team performance and he knows that it takes more than a group of successful individuals to win in sport, it takes a group of players connected by team spirit. He says: “There are plenty of teams in every sport that have great players and never win titles. Most of the time, those players aren’t willing to sacrifice for the greater good of the team. The funny thing is, in the end, their unwillingness to sacrifice only makes individual goals…
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  “I sit down and watch videos. I take notes. That’s when that inspiration comes – the moment that makes sense of my profession. The instant I know, for sure, that I’ve got it. I know how to win. It’s the moment that my job becomes truly meaningful” – Pep Guardiola You might remember the following key coaching/mentoring skills from an earlier post: Be willing to give your time Be a positive role model Be committed to personal development Be genuinely self-confident – you must know yourself Know and understand the difference between guiding and instructing Have excellent communication skills…
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  “Set your goals high and don’t stop till you get there” - Bo Jackson (NFL and baseball All-Star) The process of goal setting creates focus in a sportsperson’s training plan. Having that focus helps to ensure that training sessions remain specific and on target to achieving recorded ambitions. Most coaches are familiar with the process but an understanding of sports psychology  techniques enable coaches at every level to gain a greater understanding of how setting individual goals can also help to create a motivational environment tailored to the needs of each individual. Coaches of team sports sometimes fall into…
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  Most interviews with successful sportspeople contain the question, “Who has been a role model for you in your career?” and most sportspeople answer by naming other successful players in their sport. Occasionally, inspirational characters from other areas of life are noted and every now and again their coach gets a mention! “These are my new shoes. They’re good shoes. They won’t make you rich like me, they won’t make you rebound like me, and they definitely won’t make you handsome like me. They’ll only make you have shoes like me. That’s it.” - Charles Barkley (basketball commercial, 1993) To…
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  “For this game you need, above all things, to be in a tranquil frame of mind” - Harry Vardon With the Masters starting today the competing golfers will know a thing or two about high pressure situations. Imagine the eyes of thousands of spectators watching your every move on the golf course; close-up images of your every swing being displayed on huge TV screens for the benefit of those who don’t manage to bag a prime spot around the green, and media photographers keeping their lenses firmly focused on you, just waiting for that expression of delight or disappointment…
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 18:49

How to Develop Inner Confidence

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If you have self-confidence, you know who you are and you know what you’re capable of achieving. You know because you have challenged yourself and you have successfully met those challenges although sometimes you may not succeed at the first attempt.In sport, challenges take the form of training goals and targets that continue to develop your skills and drive you forwards in pursuit of excellence. The skills that get you to the top of your game are both physical and mental and it takes dedicated practice to master them. If you lack self-confidence, the biggest challenge you face in training…
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 16:56

How to Build Confidence in Performers

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  One of the most common hurdles facing coaches of competitive athletes is competition nerves. Why is it that some athletes appear to rise to an occasion yet others appear to fall apart? Excessive nerves can be the result of a lack of confidence but this is often over-looked when the athlete in question seems to be completely confident in training. Performance coaching techniques can help coaches to spot the symptoms and develop effective coping strategies to make under-achieving in competition a thing of the past. What is Confidence? Ÿ  One dictionary definition is:"the belief that one can have faith…
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There are four recognised pillars on which all great sporting performances rest. Those pillars, just like structural pillars supporting a building, must share the weight of their load evenly if the whole structure is to stay standing. As a High Performance coach I encourage everyone, whether a coach or a player, to think of the pillars of performance as columns of ability. If your ability in one area has grown more than in another, you will have an uneven load and your overall performance may begin to show signs of structural stress and start to crumble! The four pillars of…
Thursday, 15 January 2015 11:25

The Secret of Success? – Part 2

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  “The more clear and definite you make your picture and the more you dwell upon it, bringing out all its delightful details, the stronger your desire will be; and the stronger your desire, the easier it will be to hold your mind fixed upon the picture of what you want” – Wallace D. Wattles. We are all who we believe ourselves to be and our circumstances are simply a reflection of who we believe we are. This is the message that’s at the heart of my book, The 12 Hidden Laws of Performance, and it’s the core takeaway message…
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