A Conversation with Your Muscles

CaptureA second article taken from my Joint Venturer, Alex Pilz’s blog 

Alex is a Psychologist who has coached the mind set of premier sports teams.

Written within the context of sport, this article also considers the muscular aspects of the mind.

Consider an elastic band.  When it is un-stretched it has no use.  Unless you chew it, an elastic band is only useful when it is stretched.  However, when over-stretched it snaps and will be rendered useless.  Knowing the limits of an elastic band is important to extrapolate its value.  It’s the same with your body.

Use your body at its lower limits and it will have a similar output as an elastic band.  Over stretch your body and something will snap.  So how can you know your upper and lower limits?  Getting out and “participating” will inform you.  However, how can psychological skills training (PST) help you know your limits?  More importantly, once you know your limits (and these limits will change with increased training and competition) PST can help you push the upper limits of your body so that you can get on with mastery of technique (training) and competing (showing on a public platform how well you have mastered your sporting trade).

Imagine your body is that elastic band.  Who does the pulling?  At the lower levels my guess is that you do the pulling.  At the upper limits it might be a combination of your coach, significant others, a mind set (fear of losing sponsorship or a title) and your self.

In the context of training, when your body is stretched, and it screams at you to take it easy (reasoning that no one is looking) recognise the de-motivating and power eroding conversation that takes place when your muscles are burning?  When you articulate a goal that requires you to train at race pace what will it take to be your word?  In a coaching session with a golf client we discussed the differences between being your word and keeping your word.  At our next session his feedback was very positive.   He said, “The difference has increased my inner determination and focus!”  Call me so that we can have a conversation to increase your pathways for success.

At a swimming session an athlete asked about how to convert painful muscles she experienced she was in tight second with 65m left on a 200m race.  Her muscles seemed to yell unspoken words that she clearly understood.  I asked, “Do you respond or do you react?”  What does the conversation with your aching muscles and burning lungs look like when the elastic band is stretched and kept stretched?  How does such a competition experience impact the conversations you have when you return to training.

Engaging PST will equip your mental tool box with tools and techniques; however application at the coalface includes inner conversations about creating options and making choices.  Whether preparing for the Olympic Games or returning to training/competition following an injury the conversations you have will contribute to producing desired or undesired results.  Call me – how can we influence your self talk to create more pathways to success.

source makethathappen.co.uk Muscle image franklincollege.edu

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The Art of Conversation

This article was written by my Joint Venturer, Alex Pilz on July 20th in his blog and as you can see it is about Conversations and the traps one can encounter.

The Art of Conversation

alex02flip[1] In their quest for success, professional sports organisations increasingly develop home grown talent through an academy system.  Alternatively they can buy the ready made product from abroad or the club next door.  When current performance, long term development and profit are advanced, different pathways to success can be achieved.  There is evidence, for example in the EPL (English premiere league), that current and short-term success has been pursued at the expense of a sustainable business model.  The LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) presents another variation of trying to get this balance right.  Possible success stories include home grown talent being sold for profit (with an elaborate contract) or graduating into a starting line-up direct.  Similarly, success for an Olympic team may imply securing and maintaining sponsorship to compete in the once a life time spectacle.

alex01c-full[1]Within the ambit of developing young talent there is a conversational trap that athletes easily fall into.  Falling into a conversational trap is a powerful unseen killer of access to goal-directed effort.

Have you given advice and offered ideas that have not been implemented?  How has this impacted your ability to keep your athletes goal directed and motivated.

The conversational trap is the disconnect between, on the one hand our experiences, memories and points of view and, on the other hand the action that we take in the here and now.  Our experiences, memories and points of view show themselves in the conversations we have with ourselves [and others].  These conversations become major determinants in producing our behaviour.  As soon as we act it is reassigned to our library of experiences and memories creating and reinforcing our points of view.  We are always in conversation, that is, with ourselves (for example, dreaming can also be a form of conversation).  Participating in inner conversations is what may be called a sergeant major or a journalist.  The role of the sergeant major/journalist is to be right – barking instructions or passing endless judgements.  These contributions are certainly always destructive.  Important is that the sergeant major/journalist is too wily to be dethroned by a simple instruction (a conversation), issued by a coach or the self saying, for example “don’t think of red bears”.

The conversational trap described is a performance driver often overlooked which can bring the process of achieving desired results to a grinding halt.  Coaches and managers may not be privy to the inner conversations of athletes.  However, let’s face it all action produce results.  The question is are the results desirable or undesirable.

Compounding this conversational trap is the phenomenon where an individual says “yes” or “no” implying “depends on” or “maybe”.   The result of which may leave coaches thinking their instructions or strategic ideas fall on deaf ears.

I will train and teach conversational techniques and skills for both athletes and coaches to help athletes produce desired performances and, for coaches to have increased confidence in their ability to influence and mobilise goal directed effort.

“If you meet the Buddha in the lane, feed him the ball” ~ Phil Jackson

Although Phil Jackson went onto coach the Lakers, for me I will always associate him with the Chicago Bulls from 1991 to 1998 –
                            Michael Jordan (probably the greatest basketball player that has ever lived), Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant (who I later saw playing for Orlando), Bill Cartwright, Will Perdue, Luc Longley (A “Boomer” – Australian national player),  Toni Kukoč,  many great players and of course Dennis Rodman!

For me that decade in NBA were the (excuse the pun) Magic Years and while that was happening Channel 4 took NBA into the living rooms of UK fans – brilliant times!

Jackson_Phil[1] “Once you’ve done the mental work, there comes a point you have to throw yourself into the action and put your heart on the line. That means not only being brave, but being compassionate towards yourself, your teammates and your opponents.”

“Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength.”

“If you meet the Buddha in the lane, feed him the ball.”

~ Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson

Born 1945, the NBA Hall of Fame describe him as:

Intellectual, spiritualist, maverick, athlete, coach, modestly successful player in the NBA
A coach that left his footprint on the history of the game
A coaching philosophy heavily influenced by Native American and Eastern philosophy

At the helm of two of the greatest dynasties in NBA history
Coached the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998)
Guided the Lakers to three straight titles (2000, 2001, 2002)

Tied with the legendary Red Auerbach for first on the all-time list
The fastest coach in NBA history to reach 900 wins.

One of the 10 greatest head coaches in NBA history

source hoophall.com/phil-jackson
quotes basketball-plays-and-tips.com