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What were you thinking?


By Colin Cromack


As a golf coach, do you often wonder what your client is thinking about when struggling with a golf lesson? As a player, how often have you asked yourself the same question after playing another poor shot! Your conscious thought processes in the SECONDS before, during and after execution frequently undermines your ability to perform both in practice and on course. So who's driving the bus here? You or someone else? Is there nothing you can do to take control? What IS the focus of your attention whilst you are executing a golf shot and HOW do you control it consistently? Where would you like it to be? Swing, body, club head, ball, out of bounds, water, trees, bunker, birdie, outcome or heaven forbid......the Target!

Attentional Focus examines the relationship between your thinking, vision, auditory and other senses. Whilst awake we are always attending to something in our conscious mind and our attentional focus is analogous to the lens of a film projector. The film running through it, usually at an extremely high speed, comprises of information from your external senses and internal thoughts, both conscious and unconscious. Many can spend their lives feeling like 'observers' of this film being projected rather than understanding how to take active control over what is being projected and become, instead, the director of their movie and their reality, both on and off the golf course.

Whether playing a musical instrument, driving a car, riding a bike or making a sandwich physical flow exists when we allow our sub-conscious mind to manage our physical actions. Flow exists in ALL life tasks when we remove the conscious mind from any attempt to control our physical actions. So what is the conscious mind doing whilst we perform those tasks? It can be anywhere in time and place. We don't need to control our attention to carry out those tasks as we rely on procedural memories which were practiced, mastered and put safely into storage for recall when needed.

Just imagine if you could build similar procedural memories you could call upon for your golf swing and putting stroke without doubting your ability to carry out the task? This is just one benefit of learning Target Oriented Golf. The primary psychological difference when playing golf, or any other target oriented activity where we need to acquire a Single Pointed Concentration, is we also need to control that which we consciously attend to for it critically influences our ability to perform the task consistently and accurately. If you are not thinking about Target as you execute a shot for example, what are you CHOOSING to think about and why? If you could look at the Target where would you focus your mind?

What makes golf such a challenge psychologically is we have to look away from our intended target just prior to execution. This is where the problems begin for the vast majority of golfers for they remove their eyes AND attention from Target. Clearly, at the MOMENT of execution we wish to experience physical Flow with no conscious control of our actions but how can this be achieved if the golfer is now looking at the ball and thinking about HOW to control the club? It clearly can not. Yet many Professional golfers still strive for elusive performance whilst insisting on having a swing thought! So what chance the amateur? The elite do attempt to overcome this lack of attentional focus awareness and will do the best with the skills they have. They have a LOT of time. 'Grinding' salves the conscience but it can also kill performance.

In golf, just as in any sport where an athlete has time to 'think' before they execute, what happens at execution is significantly influenced by what an athlete CHOOSES to think about PRIOR to this moment. This is often where a golfer is told to stop 'strategizing' (think box/play box) but it does not also mean that significant tasks such as state management, physical alignment and attentional focus do not require deliberate conscious attention during this period of preparation time. Some coaches and psychologists advocate 'thinking less'. This is impossible and simply creates a void in which erroneous thought floods. You will then be 'out of control' at that moment in time rather than 'in control' of your process. It's not enough to advocate just a think box/play box strategy. You need a think box/focus box.

Unfortunately, for many golfers, performance does not manifest itself regularly due to erroneous 'thinking' about how to control their physical actions at execution with a conscious 'swing thought' due to the endemic nature of the way the game is taught and practiced. When will you ever trust in competition that which you constantly strive to control in practice? If the swing is not the focus of the golfers' conscious mind when playing on course, it will often be replaced with some outcome oriented event like score, water, don't hit it left etc hence the "advice" being offered to "not think" as you prepare to execute may sound like a better alternative for some than thinking. Too much thinking is not the problem however. It is simply erroneous thinking which lies at the heart of poor golf performances.

If you struggle with the game of golf, irrespective of how much you 'grind', it may be time for you to switch focus from your technique and begin to understand HOW to trust it. When you begin to understand the relationship between vision, thought and action you begin to give up control of your body and gain real control of your mind.

Target Oriented Golf is a comprehensive alternative remote GOLF COACHING program brought to you with the support of Sportsmind. When you are ready to receive, we are ready to help with remote video coaching services wherever you may be in the world. Please visit www.TargetOrientedGolf.com for details.

Until next time, enjoy your golf!

Colin.

Are you playing golf or swinging golf clubs?


By Colin Cromack


How many times, after 'grinding' on the range, have you been told or said the words to your self  Now, go out on course and trust it!?

Have you ever managed to trust your physical skills over a round of golf and just enjoy playing the game?  When you hit those poor shots on course, what do you believe causes them? Golfers often react the same way and immediately evaluate their technique. Something did not feel right and attempts are made to correct it before playing the next shot. So what happened to the trust you spent hours 'developing' in practice? One errant shot is often enough for you to doubt your swing again, so how effective is your practice?  For Pro's especially, it is immediately back to the range to 'fix' what was believed to be at fault. This I define as Golf's Destructive Doubt Cycle.

Does it sound familiar to you too? Unfortunately, Trust is not just like a magical cloak you can just throw over your shoulders when heading out to play. Trust has to be deliberately practiced at the practice range . Separate from any technical analysis. It also needs to become your DOMINANT behaviour in practice for it to become your dominant mentality in play. Many golfers can not understand why their great swing in practice disappears out on the course. The problem does not lie in how you play but in how you practice. So what is trust in golf? Why does it remain elusive regardless of the amount of effort you apply to developing your technical skills on the range?

In order to PERFORM any life skill successfully we must remove the conscious mind from attempting to CONTROL our physical actions. Conscious swing thoughts inhibit physical flow and destroy your natural ability to swing or putt a ball. So how do you practice golf today? Many believe physical repetition is the path to mastery. Your hours of range practice may demonstrate why this is not the case. What happens in every life skill we manage to perform successfully is our attentional focus switches from internal to external naturally. You can drive a car with total trust in your sub-conscious mind to control a vehicle where your life and that of others is at risk! So why can't you trust your sub-conscious mind to manage your actions when putting or swinging a golf club? Well, let us look at how you are uniquely being taught and practicing the game of golf.


If you are a dedicated golfer I am sure you own a number of technical training aids. They are an aid for training, NOT trusting. Have you ever owned a trusting aid? There's a reason for this. TRUST in golf (and life) only manifests itself when you STOP paying attention to your physical actions. What's wrong with ongoing use of training aids you may be asking? Every time you use a training aid, psychologically it's like putting your training wheels back on your bicycle. What does this tell you at the subconscious level? I don't trust my self. Consider this for 1 moment. HOW and when will you ever trust in competition that which is continually doubted in practice?

Golf has always been and continues to be taught with a polar opposite mentality to Trust and this lies at the heart of why so many struggle to play it and why so many walk away. From your very first lesson, when your attention is removed from the target (external focus) and onto your grip, stance, posture, takeaway etc. you are being coached to consciously control the physical action of your swing (internal focus).

Irrespective of your technical ability acquired you can spend your golfing life unwittingly switching your attention in practice from 1 body part to another trying to find the answer to your inconsistent play. This actually PREVENTS you from achieving the golf state of mind where performance lives (external focus) . If you need to read that last sentence again, please do so for many golfers have taken their game through this process and many continue to do so. So is there a more efficient way of learning how to practice and play the game of golf? There is now and it will reveal to you HOW to Train AND Trust for golf.

It should be clear to you by now that repetition alone does not produce mastery in sport/life/golf skills. In fact it can inhibit the acquisition of a skill if used inappropriately. Some sport research academics suggest 10,000 hours of practice are required to become an "expert". Whose methods do they use to draw such a conclusion do you think? What if the methods used are fundamentally flawed?

Your problems begin well before the 1st tee. It is not the NUMBER of hours which leads to expertise. It is what you choose to focus your ATTENTION on during those hours which matters . There is a vital brain function which must be understood in order to perform/play golf and it is called attentional/visual focus separation. This is prevented from occurring in golfers due to existing coaching practices, hence the 10,000 hour theory being presented by some academics. Research evidence is already revealing there is something odd in the way golf is being taught but little changes as evidenced by the average golf handicap over the past 50 years. Do you wonder why?

Target Oriented Golf is a comprehensive alternative remote GOLF COACHING program brought to you with the support and to complement Sportsmind. When you are ready to receive, we are ready to help with remote video coaching services wherever you may live. Please visit www.TargetOrientedGolf.com for details.

Until next time, enjoy your golf!

Colin.

How to Maintain Focus Under Pressure
Part 1


By Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc.(Hons) B.Ed.


A two-part series on concentration and mind calming techniques for successfully coping with pre-performance nerves, anxiety and competition pressure.

Part 1 : Positive Emotional States Positive emotional states - such as one-pointed concentration, enthusiasm, tenacity, motivation, and even happiness - are influenced by three important factors: your physiology, your ideology, and by the environment. Your state is under your control, and if you want to prepare yourself - emotionally - for competition, you will want to understand these three factors.

STATE

One of the most important concepts in performance psychology that every tennis player and coach wants to know about, and master, is the idea of state. State is all about how you're currently experiencing the world, emotionally. You know, and have experienced many different states : anger; sadness; boredom; jealousy; happiness; determination; excitement; and so on. Yet states don't just 'jump' on you out of the blue, do they? You don't suddenly experience violent rage, or deep loneliness, for no reason do you?

States are effects - they are a consequence of something you're doing in your mind. States are also processes, they're not static - you change 'state' regularly throughout the day don't you?

Now we can ask two questions about state that are particularly important to all sports people: Firstly, what states are most useful for success in tennis?; and secondly, how can we deliberately create those states in ourselves? Think about those questions for a few moments.

Some examples of states that sportspeople usually mention are : Relaxed; Confident; Positive; Focused; Determined; Aggressive; and Hungry to Win. Feeling a sense of Enjoyment, and Happiness or Fun when playing also rates highly for most successful players.

However, few people ever answer the second question - how do I create those states in myself? This is because, for many people, their state is not under conscious control. They just 're-act' to external circumstances and situations rather than choosing a state that would be most useful to them in a given context, and deliberately building that state in themselves, prior to performing. They just leave their state to chance, and 'hope' they perform well.

This just isn't good enough. It's important to know how to create states in ourselves, so you can manage your state .... so you can deliberately build the most resourceful and capable states in yourself before you even step onto the tennis court. So let me ask you to stop and think again - how do we create states in ourselves ..... what are the 'building blocks' of state?

BUILDING BLOCKS OF STATE

I've identified three major building blocks of state, and whatever answers you came up with, you'll probably find that they fit into one of the following three categories : Physiology; Ideology; and Environment.

The building blocks of our emotions - our states - are our physiology, or body posture, breathing and movements; our ideology, or what you're imagining, and saying to yourself; and the environment around you, both the physical and social environments. Lets look at each of these in more detail now.

Physiology . It's easy to recognise how our physiology - our body posture, breathing, facial expressions, and the way we move - affects our state. For example, think how differently you feel if you hang your head, breath shallowly, slouch, and slowly shuffle around ........ compared to holding your head up high, breathe deeply with an erect posture, and move quickly.

How is your state right now? Are you feeling energised and enthusiastic about your life, and about your tennis? If you're not, try changing your physiology now. You can change how you feel, quickly and easily simply by changing how you move, how you breathe, and how you use your facial muscles - the habitual facial expressions you hold.

Take a few moments right now and stand up straight .... take five deep breaths .... and walk briskly around for a few moments. It's a simple thing, but changing your physiology is one of the quickest and easiest ways to change your state, isn't it?

Let's move on to ideology. Your ideology is the combination of what you're imagining and saying to yourself in your mind - and again, this has a powerful impact on your state. For instance, for someone to feel nervous and unconfident about asking someone out on a date, what kinds of things would they imagine? What would they say to themselves? If you imagined being rejected, or worse still, laughed at when you asked them out, and you said to yourself "Oh, they'll never want to go out with me ... I'm not interesting enough", it's easy to see how you could quickly create that negative state, isn't it?

Now relate this concept to your tennis. Think of a time you were playing really well, and were feeling confident and focused. What kinds of things were you saying to yourself? What did you imagine? Why not do these things deliberately to create the kinds of positive states you want to experience in your game, every time you play?

What could you imagine and say to yourself to create more confidence? More hungriness to win? More relaxed and positive states? What could you imagine and say to yourself to feel more enjoyment in your training and competition?

Recognise that changes in your thinking don't just relate to changing the content of your thoughts, but changing some of the visual, auditory, or kinaesthetic submodalities you use in your thinking can have a profound impact on your state. It's not just what you say, or imagine, that affects your state, but also how you imagine the pictures, and how you hear the words.

For example, I'm sure you have at one time or another, criticised yourself for something ... a silly mistake, an oversight, a poor performance, whatever.

Take a moment to recall that critical voice, and as you do, notice the direction it comes from. Do you experience it from your left or right, from in front or behind you? How far away is the voice - does it seem close, or far away? How loud is the voice, and what is its tone like?

Now, just as a bit of an experiment, change each of those submodalities and hear your voice say the same thing in a different way. For instance, if the voice seems to come from just behind your left ear, up close ..... then move it further away, and hear it coming from out in front of you. If the voice is loud, make it softer. If it has a high pitched, whining tone .... change it to be a deep throaty voice. What happens when you do this? It's hard to still feel lousy when your internal critic sounds like a sultry paramour out in front of you, doesn't it. I mean, if you're going to critique your performance, why not have it sound like Tina Turner or Demi Moore?

Likewise, if you have a poor performance and you continue to picture that up close, big, bright and right in front of you .... how do you think it will affect your state? Or if you put in a personal best performance, and you remember that as a tiny, black and white, postage stamp sized picture, behind you .... how much effect will that have on your state?

One of the consistent things I've found in all champion performers - whether they be athletes, or business people - is that they do just the opposite to this. Champions remember their good performances as big, colourful, bright pictures, up close and nearby to them. And of course, this gives them the confidence to attempt their next big goal - and succeed. When they have an off day, they let it go by seeing it small, and dim, and they deliberately push it away and out behind them so it no longer affects them.

How do you think about your good and not-so-good performances? Realise that how you're thinking may very well be holding you back. Deliberately choose the type of words and pictures that are going to build those positive states I spoke of earlier.

Lets move on to Environment. Environment consists of all the other things around you that can influence your state. It includes the weather conditions; the venue; your opponents; the officials; the audience; your coach and team mates; your equipment; your clothes and personal grooming; and so on.

To give you an example of how environment can affect performance, imagine competing in a place and it's a cold windy day .... and the venue is dirty, and littered with papers .... and the equipment is old and poorly maintained .... and the officials disorganised and inefficient .... your team mates slovenly and disinterested .... and there's half a dozen bored looking spectators barracking for the opposition. Maybe you've even experienced times like that!

Compare how you would feel in that situation, to another day ..... where its warm and sunny with a light breeze blowing .... and the venue is clean and fresh looking .... all the equipment is new and well maintained .... and everything is run like clockwork by the officials .... and your team mates are sharp and dressed smartly ..... and there is a huge crowd of your supporters buzzing with excitement. It makes a difference doesn't it?

Another example of how environment can affect your state is given by the person who is playing really well ... until they notice one of their relatives, or close friends, or someone they really want to impress, in the audience .... then their game falls apart!

I think it's important to also recognise that, while environment can affect your state, it does so only in as much as you allow it to affect the other two - your physiology and ideology. Really, the environment can only affect your state through its influence upon your posture and your thinking - and by attending to building positive states using strong physiology and a positive ideology, you can maintain peak performance states regardless of the environment.

Having said this, I think it imperative to point out that the effect of the environment is often very subtle and unconscious, and so giving some attention to building a positive environment for peak performance is a good way to encourage positive states - particularly in those athletes who have not yet developed the ability to consistently self-manage their own state.

This is precisely what the English Rugby Union team did when in Australia for the last world Cup: their dressing room was decorated to look just like their home dressing room at Twickenham, so wherever they played, it 'felt' like a 'home game'.

TRIGGERS

One of the best ways to develop this personal facility of control over your own state is through the use of what are known as sensory triggers. A sensory trigger is simply a physical stimulus that you train your body to associate with a particular state, and which you can use to 'switch on' that state in yourself as required, by using the trigger. It's what is know as simple 'stimulus - response conditioning', and it works in the same way as a light switch. You train your neurology to automatically respond in a precise, positive way to a specific stimulus - in the same way that flicking the light switch turns on the electric light.

In the second part of this article I will discuss how to build these positive triggers for yourself.

 



About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

Balanced Goals


by Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc(Hons)


Looking around at people in society - and in the sporting community in particular - it's easy to find examples of unbalanced individuals who lead one-dimensional lives. They may have achieved 'success' in their work, or career, or sport; they may be very wealthy - yet they don't seem to be particularly happy.

One of the major philosophies underpinning the entire Sportsmind approach, is that success is all about treating an athlete holistically. Learning to train the mind and emotions as well as training our body. This means that we want to recognise that we have emotions and feelings; that friendship and love and belonging are just as important to being a success, as are well toned muscles, gold medals and financial gain.
One way to understand this important principle of setting balanced goals is to consider a wheel with five spokes. Each of these spokes represents an area of your life.

Spoke 1 is for your personal health and fitness - without this you can't do anything else. Spoke 2 is for your relationships and family life - without which life pretty much loses its meaning. Spoke 3 is for career and sporting goals and other interests - because humans want to have a sense of purpose in life. Spoke 4 is for financial wealth and possessions - because life is a 'pay as you go' process, not a free ride. Spoke 5 is for personal development and contribution - because we all leave a legacy of some kind, be it a help or a hindrance.

So as you review your goals for the year, perhaps you might answer the follwing questions: "What kind of relationships would I like to have with my coach, and team mates?" "What do I want to learn this year?" "How do I want my family to be?" "What would I like to contribute to the wider community this year?"

 

About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

Hypnosis & Sport


by Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc(Hons)


Introduction
If you've ever watched a stage hypnotist have someone act like a chicken, or stand on their head, or do some other equally stupid or frivolous behaviour, you may have wondered whether hypnosis could be used in more useful and constructive ways.

You may perhaps have heard of hypnosis being used to stop smoking, lose weight or change some other unwanted behaviour, but could it be used to do better what you already do well? Can hypnosis, for instance, assist sportspeople to improve their performances?

The answer is a resounding 'YES!'

Through the use of SPORTS HYPNOSIS techniques, not only can an athlete successfully change an unwanted behaviour or habit, but limiting perceptions and beliefs can be released; pain controlled and injuries healed more rapidly; self confidence increased; and sports performances significantly improved.

What is Hypnosis?
There are many myths, misunderstandings and half truths about hypnosis - due no doubt to the fact that very little is understood about how or why hypnosis works, and even among experienced hypnotists there is significant disagreement about hypnosis.

So exactly what is hypnosis, and how can it improve my game?

One way to talk about hypnosis is to say that it is a process in which a person induces in themselves a state of mind, (often called a 'trance'), in which their perceptions are significantly altered from those normally experienced in the usual waking state, and in which they have access to a greater range of personal resources and abilities. The resources and abilities of their unconscious mind.

It's important to realise that while some students of hypnosis disagree, many hypnotists understand that it is impossible to have someone follow a suggestion that the person doesn't want to follow. The role of the hypnotist then is not to 'put someone into a trance', but rather the hypnotist helps to create an environment in which the person themselves changes their ordinary 'conscious' perceptions and accesses more 'unconscious' perceptions and resources - and so changes themselves.

No-one can hypnotise you - but you can choose to hypnotise yourself! In fact, this is essentially what you are doing every minute of the day - self hypnosis! When you say to yourself, "I've got a weak backhand"; or "I always slice"; or "I never play bunkers well"; or "We never play well at that venue", then you're just hypnotising yourself to making it come true! Many of the currently accepted limitations in sport - for example, the supposed 'home advantage' - are simply instances of mass hypnosis, perpetuated by the media, coaches, team mates, etc, and not really 'true' at all.
Hypnosis and Sport
Hypnosis works because of the existence of the 'conscious' and 'unconscious' minds. Our conscious mind represents only a small fraction of the mind's total potential, and the ability to tap into the unconscious parts of the mind and its resources allows an individual to significantly enhance their performance. Excellence in sport is a combination of unconscious competence, and unconscious confidence. Unconscious competence in the skills of your sport is developed through hours of practice and repetition until the skills are natural and automatic, and most sportspeople spend much of their time training in this way. Every sportsperson knows that you play best when you play 'unconsciously' - when you 'just do it', without conscious trying or striving .... when you are unconsciously competent. So hypnosis - being a method by which one becomes more familiar with the unconscious mind and its resources and abilities - is something sportspeople can greatly benefit from. Further, the 'peak' experience in sport - those times when you are so in the 'zone' you are unbeatable - is essentially a 'trance' state. Through the use of hypnosis, sportspeople can consistently create these type of peak experiences by choice and design, rather than have them happen by chance or accident.

On the other hand, unconscious confidence is a result of parental and social conditioning, and determines your habitual and automatic emotional responses to what others say to you, or about you. Hypnosis can be used to positively program unconscious confidence to replace negative conditioning, or to fill in gaps where there was no positive encouragement as a younger person, and to enhance and amplify the existing positive conditioning.

I've identified five main areas where hypnosis may be of benefit to sportspeople and coaches:

* Performance Enhancement;
* Time distortion;
* Confidence and Self Esteem;
* Pain control;
* Healing of illness and injuries.

Performance Enhancement
Hypnosis may be used in the following ways to enhance athletic performance:

- Increased sensory perception. In hypnosis, sensory perceptions are enhanced and this improved sensory capacity can be transferred to sporting contexts.
- Change unwanted behaviours and habits. Inappropriate and unwanted behaviours that are preventing an athlete from achieving their full potential can be influenced with hypnosis. For example: eating disorders, smoking, alcohol or drug addictions, overly aggressive or disruptive behaviours, and even learning difficulties.
- Unlock latent abilities and reprogram limiting beliefs. One of the most commonly experienced positive consequences of the experience of hypnosis is a changed perception of what is possible, and the surprise of tapping into hitherto unknown resources and abilities, leading to a greater sense of personal confidence and self esteem.
- Role model identification. Trance states may also be utilised to model the skills and behaviours of top players in a given sport, and through this modelling allow an individual to acquire those specific skills and behaviours at an accelerated rate.
Time Distortion
Time distortion is the ability to 'stop' or 'stretch' time - similar to what happens when you experience a life threatening incident and everything, apparently, slows down. I'm sure you've recognised the ability of elite sportspeople to apparently have so much time to get into position and play their shots. Essentially what they're doing is 'stopping' or slowing their perception of time. This can be taught and trained through hypnosis.

Confidence and Self Esteem
Truly it's not what others say to you, but rather, what you say to yourself after they stop talking. The kind of unconscious confidence that we see in champions is a result of not having to think about being confident or trying to talk yourself up - it's a result of having deeply ingrained at an unconscious level an unshakable positive self image and powerful positive self talk that isn't affected by what others say. This can be strengthened through the use of hypnosis.

Pain Control and Healing
Likewise, athletes can be taught pain control techniques to use when under duress, and body healing techniques to speed recovery from both injuries and heavy workouts. Two relatively well known uses for hypnosis in pain control are in dentistry and obstetrics where a trance is induced to allow the dentist to drill a filling, or the mother to give birth, with little or no pain. Surgical operations have even been performed without anaesthetic drugs - the only pain control method used being hypnosis.

Further, recent work in hypnosis has shown that it may be of assistance in healing both chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease, and in recovering from injuries.

Like all hypnotic skills, both pain control and healing require considerable hypnotic training and practice to achieve, but may be learned by anyone with dedicated effort and consistent practice.

 

About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

Be Your Own Life Coach


By Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc.(Hons) B.Ed.

Most people live life reacting to events, feeling as though they are acted upon, controlled by other people and external forces. It does not have to be that way. It is possible to feel in charge of your life ... to feel as though you're the one deciding what you do, where you go, who you're with, and how you spend you time. The only way to achieve this is to decide now to design your life!

When designing it's important to consider your life as a five pointed star, with each of the five points representing a different aspect of your life. The first point, at the top, represents your health and fitness - because if you don't have good health, you won't be able to achieve or enjoy anything else. The two side arms of the star are for wealth/possessions on the left, and career/achievements on the right side. The two supporting legs of the star are for personal development/contribution on the left, and relationships/family on the right side - because without a sense of contribution and growth and connection with others, even great achievements feel hollow and meaningless.

So, let's start designing your life ... right now! If you could live where you wanted, do what you wanted, and be the person you most wanted to be, what would that look, sound and feel like? Take the next 15 minutes to write down all your dreams and desires, as if they were really possible for you. Don't be concerned just yet about whether you can achieve something or nor, or how you could go about it - we'll be considering these issues later on. For now, simply get all your dreams down.

To help, you might want to consider :

Where do you want to live?

What kind of home do you want?

What kind of car?

How much income do you want to earn in a year?

How much do you want to have in savings?

What places would you like to visit?

What have you always wanted to learn, or do, that you've never gotten around to yet? What would you like to contribute to our society / the world?

Who do you want to know and be friends with?

How do you want your family to be?

What do you want to weigh, and look like?

How fit do you want to be?

What skills do you want to have?

What do you want to achieve in your career?

What possessions do you yearn for? And so on.

Brainstorm your thoughts and ideas below, and then organise them into the five groupings.

Copyright J. Hodges / Sportsmind Institute 2008



About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

Intimidation Tactics :
Capture Your Opponents MIND!


By Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc.(Hons) B.Ed.


The most talented player doesn't always win the match - it's the player who has the mental edge on their competition. How many times have you seen top seeds down two sets to love, being absolutely thrashed by an unseeded player ..... only to win the next three sets? How many times have you personally been defeated by someone you 'know' you should be able to beat, but they somehow always seem to have the wood on you?

The above scenarios are all about intimidation - being able to affect your opponent with your own intent, and of course, learning how to 'immunise' and shield yourself against such attacks.

Intimidation is not just about physical size, emotional outbursts, or verbal sledging - in fact the best intimidation tactics are the strong silent type that insidiously gnaw away at your opponents confidence, expose their weaknesses and undermine their abilities.

The best way to think of this concept is to begin with an example from the martial art of Aikido. When someone attacks you, there is a moment in which they gather their energy prior to expending it in the form of an attack. So there is a very small window of opportunity prior to an attack, in which you can take control of the situation.

This is identified physically in the person attacking by their taking an 'in-breath'. Before we can expend energy, we have to first gather energy in. Try it yourself - draw back your fist and arm as if you were going to punch someone, and notice how as you do, it's natural to take a breath in. Then you expel it as you punch.

This concept doesn't just apply to combat - in order to achieve anything, to do anything, there is a period of gathering energy first - then the expenditure of energy. For example, think of a tennis forehand or a golf swing - you first take back the club or racquet in order to develop the power to hit the ball. In Nature, and even in business, there are periods of withdrawal prior to bursts of growth or activity.

The idea for the Aikido exponent is to be aware of the movement of 'energy' in your partner, (through attention to their breathing and other non-verbal signals), and to blend with their attack at the point just prior to it happening, so as to re-direct their movement and energy to your purpose.

However it's not just the physical action that happens in someone attacking - a worthy opponent will also attack with their mind.

So we take action to 'catch' an opponent's arm or wrist in that window of opportunity before the completion of their in-breath and their attack, but it also means 'capturing' their mind; to blend with their attack at the point of intention.

What I do when I 'capture my opponent's mind' is to enter into their thought space and take control of their point of intention. So that just as they intend an action, I have already blended with that intention and turned it in another direction.

While this may sound very esoteric, I'm sure you've already experienced it, many times. Every time you've competed or interacted with someone and been able to somehow know - beyond logic - what they were going to do, is an example of this.

Also you may have been on the receiving end of the process! If you've ever felt totally controlled by someone else, or totally unconfident around them to the point where you're not acting or performing in your normal manner - they've captured your mind; or rather, you've allowedthem to capture your intention point.

Try the following exercise :

EXERCISE : Capturing Your Opponent's Mind

1. Begin with a short relaxation and imagine around yourself a bubble of positivity. [ An excellent six-step format for doing this is outlined in all the Sportsmind audio tapes ]

2. Now picture your opponent, see them in your mind's eye and associate into them: get a feel for how they move, what they see, and what they hear or say to themselves when they're playing.

3. Now simply intend to capture their intention - to know their plans, strategies and intentions.

4. Return to yourself and reflect on the exercise.

CASE STUDY : Cyclist

The above exercise is excellent for taking charge in a competitive interaction - and you will also want to know how to shield yourself against it, if someone applies it to you! A professional female cyclist asked me for some help in dealing with a situation in which her opponent was staring her down just prior to the start of a race - and this was putting her off.

Through using this process she was able to block her opponent's attempts to psych her out, and shield herself from her influence.

To some people, this concept of 'capturing your opponents mind' and the exercise I've just described may seem 'evil' or dishonourable. If this is the case, let me ask you two questions: Firstly, if it's OK to compete and struggle against someone physically during the game, then why is it any different to apply such mental pressure? What makes it all right to compete physically, but not mentally?

Secondly, when does the actual competition begin? Does it begin when the officials blow the whistle to begin, or while you're warming up, or when you first step onto the playing field? Many people think of a competition starting at the 'official' starting time of the first serve, or play, or whatever - but I would argue that it begins days, or even weeks before.

Give yourself an advantage in every competition by starting the game well before your opponent.

Deliberately smile at them and then ignore them. Prior to the game deliberately imagine them as puny, unfit and clumsy, then forget about them. They aren't important - YOU are.

Focus on the most important person - that's YOU. Remember all the training and hard work you've done to get here. Deliberately recollect and relive the best matches you've ever played: come from behind victories; easy closeout wins; times you served aces and returned powerfully; the cross court and line winners you've made; confident put-away volleys; etc. Highlight your best performances, and make them large and close in your mind's eye.

Now picture capturing your opponents mind. See yourself as an intimidating player.

[ The above article has been excerpted from my new book, Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings, that shows you how to develop the thinking and feeling strategies and techniques of champions. For more information see www.sportsmind.com.au or contact Jeffrey Hodges at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Phone (07) 5445 7994 ]

 



About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings
Use the Strategies of Champions to Enhance Your Performance


by Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc(Hons)


Elite sportspeople think and feel in specific ways to achieve outstanding physical performances. Learn how to use the same champion thoughts and feelings to change negative thinking, non-constructive feelings, and limiting behaviours and enhance your performance - as a coach and as an athlete.

THE MENTAL EDGE
Your performance is profoundly influenced by your thinking - by the things you imagine and say to yourself. Thoughts are powerful - thoughts make things happen. Thoughts are the building blocks from which you create your beliefs, attitudes, behaviours, and every aspect of your performance in your sport, or at work. Every thought you have affects you in some way - either empowering you, or limiting you. There are no 'neutral' thoughts.

Yet few people recognise the enormous power of their moment to moment thinking, and fewer still actually use this awareness in their daily life.

Every performance starts in your mind. The best performances occur when you take control of your performance by taking control of your thinking. All control begins by taking control of the thoughts you think. Champions give themselves a mental edge by standing guard at the door of their mind - by taking control of their thinking, and by deliberately choosing to focus on the positive.

MASTERING YOUR MIND
Everyone knows they're supposed to 'be positive' - to think positively, and to discourage negativity. Yet for many people thoughts just seem to 'happen' before they know about it! People tell me all the time, "I can't help it. I just automatically do it!"

At which point I tell them that's a cop out, and a load of rubbish. Thoughts don't 'just happen' to you - you think them! There can be no escaping the fact that you choose your thoughts - how else could they get there?

Yet even knowing this, some people still indulge in negative thinking, and problem focus - rather than looking for solutions and always expecting the best for themselves.

Part of the problem is, of course, that negative thinking has become a habit - not only for individuals, but for the society in general. Like any habit, it takes effort and willingness to change.

So the issue for many people is to be personally convinced of the detriment of negative thinking on their performance and in their lives, and of the enormous advantages that accrue to those who continually focus on positive, possibility thoughts.

IMPORTANCE OF FEELINGS
However, feelings are just as important to success. Your performance at work; in your relationships; in education; in sport; in fact, in every area of your life, is profoundly influenced by your feelings, isn't it? How you feel affects how well you perform. Your emotional states influence your thinking, your behaviour, your tone of voice, your posture, and even your health.

But, like thoughts, feelings don't 'just happen' to you - feelings are choices. Champions recognise this and choose their feelings. Feelings that empower them, and allow them to fully utilise their physical prowess and mental skills.

Champions have learned how to choose the states they live in.

HOW MANY GOOD FEELINGS DO YOU HAVE ?
How many good feelings do you have? And how much time in a day do you spend feeling good? Likewise, how many bad feelings can you identify ..... and how much time do you spend in a day feeling bad? Think about it for a minute.

If you're like a lot of people, you will probably only be able to think of a few good feelings - but lots of bad ones! For instance, a short list of bad feelings might run like this:

Worried; Depressed; Sad; Frustrated; Unconfident; Uptight; Angry; Tired; Tense; Bad; Embarrassed; Pressured; Jealous; Anxious; Unmotivated; Lonely; Weak; Victimised; Sorry-for-self; Nervous; Powerless; Self righteous; Apathetic; Trapped; Unloved; Pitiful; Heavy; Procrastinating; Lousy; Vindictive; Down; Put-upon; Rushed; Sick; Tentative; Bashful; Grumpy; Hesitant; Confused; Stressed; Uncertain; Uncreative; Pensive; Lost; Betrayed; Itchy; Spaced-out; In Crisis; Directionless; Stuck; Impatient; Hurt; Unprepared; Clumsy; Bored; Sullen; Slow; Fragile; Un-coordinated; Guilty; Greedy; Anguished; Fearful; Selfish; Regretful; Grieving; Isolated; Withdrawn; and Sleepy .... to name just a few!

I think that many people spend more time in the day feeling either bad, or neutral, than they do actively feeling good feelings!

CHAMPION FEELINGS
What do champions feel? How do they use their emotional states to generate excellence in themselves? What champion feelings do they choose? I've listed some below that I've identified in peak performers. Perhaps you can think of others. Why not choose, right now, to experience one of the following champion feelings :

  • Joy - a feeling of intense happiness
  • Enthusiasm - a feeling of being fully alive and energised
  • Purpose - a feeling of certainty and direction in your life
  • Determination - a feeling of being fully committed to a task or goal
  • Courage - a feeling of strength in the face of adversity or risk
  • Focus - a feeling of pinpoint concentration
  • Love - a feeling of caring, and giving of yourself
  • Adventure - a feeling of excitement and challenge
  • Momentum - a feeling of moving to a destination
  • Belonging - a feeling of connection to others
  • Timing - a feeling of being in perfect sync with outside forces

Every instant, you're creating or manufacturing some kind of feeling - whether it be a negative feeling like indifference, anger, sullenness, apathy or unconfidence; or a positive feeling like joy, confidence, enthusiasm, excitement, conviction, or some of the others I've listed above.

The trouble is, that many people simply don't recognise, or label, their feeling states. As a consequence, their behaviour is being directed unconsciously - by feelings they are not even aware of! Because your behaviour is profoundly affected by your feelings, if you don't really know or are aware of what you're feeling - how can you be in charge of your behaviour, or your performances? In order to be in charge of your personal performance, you want to be aware of your feeling states, and maintain that awareness from moment to moment.

Take a moment, right now, and recognise what you're feeling - right now, right this instant! What are you feeling, right now, as you read this article? Don't dismiss the question, or dodge the answer by saying "I'm feeling OK" or "all right", or "nothing", or "I don't know". Find out! Get in touch with yourself, with your feelings, and describe what you're currently experiencing. Put a label on your feelings.

LABELLING YOUR FEELINGS
It's important to label your feelings. If you don't put labels on them you'll find them difficult to change if they're negative, and you also won't understand what is directing your behaviours! Once you've identified a feeling or emotional state, then you can go about changing it if it's disempowering or counter-productive. In addition, if it's a positive and useful feeling or emotional state, then you can actively enhance and amplify it and make it even more effective and powerful in your life.

I think it's so important to have a vocabulary of champion feelings - because if you can't conceptualise or put a name to a feeling, how can you ever experience it? If you don't identify a feeling, then you won't ever feel it - or understand what it is that you're feeling, and how to use it. If a feeling is not in your language, then you won't make use of it in your life.

Why impoverish yourself by limiting your range of positive emotions to just a few? Practice experiencing champion feelings, and use them in your life.



About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

Mastering the Mind Games
SUCCESS Counselling Skills for Personal Trainers


by Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc(Hons)


Psychological and emotional issues outside of the professional expertise of Personal Trainers may arise as the personal relationship with your client develops. How are these often difficult issues best dealt with? Where do we draw the line between PT and Counsellor? This article provides a six step S.U.C.C.E.S. strategy for keeping you and your clients 'on track', and some simple 'self preservation' skills for PT's.

Introduction
It's natural to build a close friendship with your clients as your professional personal training relationship grows over time. As with all friendships however, sometimes the other person asks for your opinion or advice about an issue outside of their fitness or lifestyle program, or is in serious need of help to resolve an issue of mental anguish or emotional distress to themselves.

For the most part, such calls for help will be of a relatively 'light' nature, and the person is really just looking for a sounding board rather than seriously asking for your suggestions for action. However, there will be those times when the person would benefit from some gentle personal guidance, or referral to a suitably qualified therapist for serious issues of distress. How can personal trainers, who are certainly not expert in psychological counselling, to approach this situation - both ethically, and practically?

Four Guiding Principles
One could say that the best approach is to leave well enough alone, and simply explain that you're not 'qualified' to offer counselling advice. However, the problem often becomes identifying the rather blurred distinction between the person just 'having a chat' about a problem at work or in a relationship, and a genuine overture for assistance. The person themselves may not even be aware that the issue is a 'problem' for them - and will often deny that it is - so how can a personal trainer judge effectively?

There is also a reluctance by some people to seek professional 'therapy' because it can be misconstrued as being 'weak' or somehow psychologically disturbed, and so even if the personal trainer correctly identifies an important emotional issue and suggests referral to a professional, the client is as likely as not to do nothing about it - even if it is suggested.

Further, one of the issues that makes personal training so effective and beneficial for clients, is the fact that the personal trainer is someone, hopefully, that the client can admire and look up to; someone who is not just taking them through an exercise routine or designing a diet for them, but rather a mentor - someone they can really aspire to be like. It is difficult in such a mentor role then to deny a request for help, particularly when one is being paid by the client, and their continued custom is contingent upon the level of friendship and trust you've established with them. Friendship and trust are established by sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings, and the personal trainer who keeps aloof and seemingly uncaring of their client's day to day issues may soon lose business.

Therefore, I suggest the following four guiding principles for personal trainers as providing both an ethically acceptable and practical procedure for dealing with potential counselling situations in personal training. [ An even better option is to undertake further professional training - there are some excellent short counselling, psychology, and sport psychology courses currently available - and it would add an extra string to your bow wouldn't it? Whichever one you choose, do ensure it includes some basic Neuro-Linguistic Programming [NLP] techniques, as without doubt NLP offers the most effective and practical counselling and personal development tools]

They are:
1. Establish Personal Boundaries
2. Exhibit a COMMAND PRESENCE
3. Identify and Refer Serious Issues
4. Stay on Track - Using the S.U.C.C.E.S Model

Lets consider each of these in turn, and discuss how you can put them into practice to enhance your reputation as a professional personal trainer of the highest standard.
1. Establish Personal Boundaries
In order to be of most effective help - both from a personal training and 'counselling' point of view - it's important that your relationship to your client is not clouded by your own emotional entanglements. You're not going to be as effective if you end up having an emotional or sexual relationship with your clients, and you will soon get a reputation and lose credibility.

Keep your relationship professional by clearly establishing personal boundaries and a conduct of behaviour that clearly signals to the client what is and is not acceptable - for both you and your client. This includes simple things avoiding physical contact, and if required, (for example, in assisting with or demonstrating a particular exercise or stretch), asking for permission to touch them before doing so; politely asserting, immediately, that any touching of yourself by them is unacceptable in a professional personal training relationship; saving 'flirting' for outside of work times; and so on. Needless to say, the above suggestions are doubly important when dealing with married clients!

Of course, you may choose to become involved in a relationship with a client - however, ensure it is by considered choice rather impulse reaction, and if you do, you'd be better off deleting them from your client list, and seeing them in a non-professional capacity.

In the long run, professional trainers who keep their relationship with clients strictly professional earn the respect of both clients and colleagues, and can provide that 'neutral' emotional perspective that is so necessary to truly offer counselling assistance if required.

2. Exhibit a COMMAND PRESENCE
Command presence is such a sense of complete confidence in what you're doing, that your clients are literally dragged along by the force of your own personality and willpower. I'm sure you've seen it in great speakers, teachers, actors and public figures - something about them affects the people around them.

You can deliberately cultivate this in yourself as a personal trainer by making yourself someone worthy of respect. Set high standards for yourself, and demonstrate these standards in your own behaviour. Walk, speak, and act like a mentor - because that's precisely what you are to your clients.

When you do this, often the specific 'techniques' or 'approaches' you use are really irrelevant - what makes them work is the simple presence of you.

3. Identify and Refer Serious Issues
It's important to be alert for signs of more serious problems which may require referral to a qualified professional. These can be broken down into two simple categories: high energy and low energy problems.

High energy problems may indicate overstress and include symptoms such as insomnia or sleeping too much; poor appetite or overeating; confusion; circular thinking; and an inability to relax. Low energy problems may indicate depression and even suicidal tendencies and include symptoms such as low energy and lack of motivation; apathetic attitude towards life/work/family; and accident prone.

A helpful idea is to have a list of professionals and services to refer your clients to, and this might include : masseuse; GP; naturopath/homoeopath; domestic violence unit; chiropractor; drug and alcohol unit; and psychotherapist.

4. Stay on Track - Using the S.U.C.C.E.S. Model
Another way to ensure you maintain a truly professional approach with your clients is to stay on track. Even if there is no temptation of emotional entanglements, still many personal trainers lose clients simply because they either haven't identified precisely what the client wants initially, or the larger goal gets forgotten in the day to day training routines over time. Problems occur for people because they either 'don't know' what they really want, or they haven't taken the time to flesh out their desired outcome thoroughly enough.

Identifying, describing and committing to a desired goal is half the battle - and it's far easier to maintain interest and motivation when a client has a clear picture of where they are going, and demonstrable progress steps along the way.

The following SUCCESS model provides an easy to use, and very effective way of clarifying a client's, (or your own), desired goals, and is especially useful for working with elite level performance. The process is just as powerful whether you're dealing with other behavioural issues (such as wanting to give up smoking, be more relaxed in public speaking, cope more satisfactorily with change at work, etc), as it is with fitness or weight loss/gain goals.

I use it in my work with elite athletes, sports teams and corporate training. It is the first step I take in working with my clients, and I find it to be the single most powerful tool in achieving peak performance.

The model comes from the human technology of Neuro-Linguistic Programming [NLP], and you can recognise that while this outline provides a useful introduction, mastery of its use also requires some professional training in NLP - in particular, meta-model questioning skills. The model is modified from McClendon & Associates NLP Practitioner Training Course, and I highly recommend their NLP training and certification courses as among the very best available.

To clearly see and get a feeling for how you can use this with your clients, I suggest you go through the SUCCESS model with a desired goal of your own right now, and explain it to yourself in your own mind as you go through each step.

So, what do you want to achieve for yourself in the next year or so? Pick something you'd like to change, do, learn, or have.

Here are the steps:

S. STATED POSITIVELY. I want to .....
The first step is to elicit a precise, positively stated desired outcome.
What is important here is to ensure that the goal is phrased in positive terms - ie. what they want, not what they want to avoid, or don't want. For instance, someone stating a goal such as: 'I don't want to feel tired all the time', or 'I don't want to smoke or overeat any more', or 'I want to not get nervous before important matches', will want to rephrase them to be something like: 'I want to feel alive and energetic', or 'I want to eat healthily and be a non-smoker', or 'I want to remain calm and confident before important matches'.

Clarity and precision is also important, and goals such as 'I want to get fitter', or 'I want to lose weight', or 'I want to play better golf', or 'I want to be a better speaker', and so on require further clarification, to: 'I want to be fit enough to easily complete the Gold Coast half marathon next year', or 'I want to maintain an athletic, trim build and weight of 75kg', or 'I want to reduce my golf handicap from 18 to 10', and 'I want to prepare and rehearse my talks well, remain calm and confident, speak clearly, and hold eye contact with my audience.'

U. UNDENIABLE REALITY : I know this to be true when ..... (sensory-based description)
The next step is to identify how the person will know when they have achieved their goal, emphasising a sensory-based description of this knowledge.

While this might at first seem obvious, it becomes a little more challenging when dealing with desired emotional states or behaviours. Consequently, it becomes necessary to identify in sensory specific terms, precisely what the person will see, hear and feel when they will have achieved their goal. A simple example for achieving a desired weight goal might be: 'I see the bathroom scales reading 75kg when I step onto them; I feel light and energetic; and I hear my friends and work colleagues telling me how great I'm looking'.

An example of a desired change to your telephone manner might be: 'I hear myself using a helpful, polite tone to the customer; I picture myself providing a standard of service and helpfulness that meets and then exceeds their expectations and I imagine them smiling and content; and I feel relaxed and confident, knowing I can help the customer and the satisfaction of being truly helpful and service oriented.'

This is a really important step, because you will identify the specific behaviours you want in either yourself or your client in order to achieve success.

Too often in desired change situations the emphasis is placed on the outcome, rather than the means by which you will achieve the outcome - and it's the process that provides the specific information and direction for you or your staff to follow.

C. CONTEXTS : The places and times I want this are .....
The next step is to identify in what specific situations and contexts the person wants to experience the behaviour/feeling.

It's important to recognise that even positive emotional states like confidence and relaxed, might not be appropriate in all circumstances - for instance, would you want to feel confident and relaxed walking alone late at night in a dark alley in a known criminal area? A more useful feeling state might be cautious alertness wouldn't it?

By doing the process with several specific situations your client will then generalise the behaviours to other areas by themselves.

Note, it's quite common for a person to also identify contexts that are related to work or other personal areas in addition to those that specifically relate to their fitness or sports goals. Some simple examples relating to positive eating habits might be: 'when I open the fridge', or 'when I feel bored', or 'when I eat out at restaurants with my friends', or 'when I'm visiting my parents'.

C. CONGRUENT WITH PERSONAL VALUES : I want this because .....
The next step is to ensure that the desired outcome is in line with their personal values and higher level goals.

Sometimes, a person can want something that either goes against another strongly held value, or they may want it for a self destructive reason - for instance, someone wanting to follow a strict dietary regimen 'to punish myself'.
Asking for what purpose the desired outcome is, can ensure you help the person work toward constructive goals and those that are in harmony with their important values and beliefs.

An example from someone who is aiming for a higher sports performance might be: 'I want to achieve more and do it with ease to give me a feeling of satisfaction and contentment and self worth'. An example from someone wanting to improve their telephone manner might be : 'I want it because it will help me advance in my career, and increase my volume of telephone sales.'

E. ECOLOGICAL : Does any part of me object to being/doing/having this?
This step is to check that the desired change is in harmony with all 'parts' of your client.

This leads on from the issue of values outlined in the previous step, and is a simple check to ensure that there is no inner resistance from the client to the desired change. This is important, as one of the main reasons for 'backsliding' in effecting positive behavioural change, is that if there is a 'part' of the person that didn't really want to change, then it may sabotage the process.

It is more common than not to have some objections - and this makes sense when you think about it. If the person whole heartedly wanted to be that way, they already would be in the first place! They are the way they are now, precisely because the way they are now is doing something of a perceived positive nature for them.

So when you come across objections, the trick is to identify the positive intention behind the objection, and find at least three other more useful way of achieving that same intention. For example, a common objection to giving up smoking is that smoking currently gives the person a way of feeling relaxed and at ease, so in designing a positive change for such a client, you would want to teach them three or four other ways of feeling relaxed and at ease. Likewise, a common positive intention for being overweight is that it gives the person a sense of protection or solidity, and so in your personal training you would want to teach them three or four other ways of feeling safe and solid.

It is recommended that at least three other behaviours are provided for the person to allow them a range of choice in selecting how they want to behave in a given context.

S. SELF INITIATED AND MAINTAINED : How can I take charge of doing this myself?
The final step is to ensure that your client can initiate and maintain the desired change themselves.

The most effective work is done with clients who eventually don't need you isn't it? This ability of a personal trainer to train so well that your clients no longer need you is an indicator of the very best trainers - because you empower others to positively and successfully take charge of their own lives.

The most effective, positive changes occur when the responsibility for that change comes from within the individual themselves, rather than being imposed from outside. So establishing self control of the new behaviours in your clients is essential to the S.U.C.C.E.S. process.

An example for an elite athlete might be: 'Develop a pre-performance mental routine. Control negative self talk in stress situations. Use posture, movements and emotional triggers to generate positive states prior to big matches'.

Likewise, an example for someone who wants to control over anxiety in public speaking might be : 'Develop a pre-performance mental routine of visualising and thinking about the desired positive outcome. Stop negative self talk, and use a confident posture, movements and emotional triggers to generate positive states prior to the presentations'.

Another helpful hint is to establish the old behaviour as the trigger for beginning the new one! So the feeling of desire for a cigarette now becomes a trigger to engage in some deep breaths or a quick walk to relax and let go of stress; the feeling of nervousness and unconfidence before dealing with an angry staff member or customer now becomes the trigger for active listening to their grievance, building positive rapport and feeling confident about finding a positive solution.

S.U.C.C.E.S ACHIEVEMENT / CHANGE MODEL

S = STATED POSITIVELY : I want to .....
Example : feel confident and relaxed; be determined and aggressive; to produce my best; to be positive, at ease and looking forward to it; sleep well the night before; etc.

U = UNDENIABLE REALITY : I know this to be true when ..... (sensory description)
Example : Feeling .... I feel taller; relaxed around my shoulders with even breathing; I experience a sense of strength throughout my whole body; I move in a way that shows I mean business and am on a mission; there is a warmth over my whole body; and face relaxed.
Seeing .... I clearly see everything around me; and I picture myself doing what I'd like to do successfully. The pictures are in front of me about 5 - 6 meters away, bigger than life and in dynamic lifelike colour, bright and with movement and action.
Hearing .... I hear all the sounds around me, and experience internal silence.

C = CONTEXTS : The places and times I want this are .....
Example : # Before major tennis events - state or national titles.
# When I have to play someone I don't know.
# If I'm given a new task and deadline by the boss.
# When I'm around my older sister or her associates.

C = CONGRUENT WITH PERSONAL VALUES : I want this because .....
Example : - I want to achieve more and do it with ease to give me a feeling of satisfaction and contentment and self worth.

E = ECOLOGICAL : Does any part of me object to being/doing/having this?

S = SELF INITIATED : How can I take charge of doing this myself?
Example : Develop a pre-performance mental routine. Control negative self talk in stress situations. Use posture, movements and emotional triggers to generate positive states prior to big matches.

 

About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

Coaching the Mind - PART 1
The Next Step for Personal Training


by Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc(Hons)


INTRODUCTION
Personal trainers are often called on to work with elite sportspeople to provide personalised fitness and strength programs for improving their performance, but with a little more thought and preparation your PT business can offer much more to the elite sportsperson. Specifically, when you recognise that most sportspeople - even at the highest level - are only training half of themselves, it's easy to understand how you can offer a more complete, holistic training service.

Consider the following case studies - what would you do in each of them?

PT Case Study # 1
A young golf professional comes to you for help in designing a fitness program for him. He's motivated and a pleasure to train, and within six months has improved to the point where he has been in contention in major tournaments on a number of occasions ..... however, he consistently folds under the pressure and is now walking and talking like someone who's lost their confidence. What would you do at your next session?

PT Case Study # 2
The mother of an elite tennis player asks you for some assistance with a diet and exercise program for her 15 year old daughter (currently ranked in the top five for her age). After working with her for a month, you discover she suffers from excessive pre-match anxiety - to the point of being physically ill, but she refuses to see a "shrink", and doesn't see it as a problem. What do you do at your next session with her?
PT Case Study # 3
The coach of a footy team that has just scraped into the finals has asked you to provide a training program to get the team fit and ready for their first match. Despite being fit and strong, you hear the players talking negatively about their chances against the more favoured team. What would you do?

Scenarios such as those above are common. Personal trainers, coaches and teachers continually face issues outside of their traditional training. Few would feel competent to handle any of the above situations with confidence, however with a little extra training, there is a lot you can do. In fact, many people see the future of personal training lies in expanding the range of skills and services, and offering your clients a more complete service. A service that isn't just fitness training, or even 'life' coaching, but encompasses much more; a service that incorporates personal performance coaching - coaching the mind and emotions of your clients.

Imagine if you had the skills to help that young golfer overcome his self doubt, and he went on to win the Australian Open or the US Masters? What if you helped the coach of a top footy team prepare his players mentally and emotionally as well as just physically - so they ran out on the field feeling confident and in the peak performance zone. Imagine taking an upcoming young tennis player and sharing their journey from local club competition to satellite events through to a Grand Slam final appearance!

What if you offered some assistance with mental and emotional preparation for your elite athletes, as well as the strength and aerobic fitness work? Athletes are not just bodies are they?

Thoughts and feelings affect sports performances - even more so than physical factors .... yet, how much do you know about training this half of your clients? But then, why would an experienced PT such as yourself bother with the extra training and effort involved in a more complete service to your clients?

Is extra money a good enough incentive? Recognise that elite level sportspeople spend millions of dollars a year worldwide on sports related services in an attempt to gain that competitive edge over their rivals - and this is on the increase. Further, elite level sportspeople - particularly in golf, tennis and football - earn enough to pay handsomely for your services, and are willing to do so on a long term basis. How often have you had clients for a few sessions, then never hear from them again?

How about the prestige associated with working with the best athletes in the world? Does that turn it on for you?

The opportunity is here, now.

There is a huge market of elite level sportspeople needing this more complete personal performance coaching service. I believe it is the next logical step in the evolution of personal training.

Would working with clients who genuinely want to improve do it for you? Have you ever had the experience of 'backsliding' clients? Or clients who 'say' that they want to lose weight, or get fitter, but keep missing appointments, or who lose their motivation? Elite athletes are professional sportspeople - playing sport is their livelihood, their business, so they are more committed and motivated. They are a joy to work with - particularly if you're used to working a lot with 'average' 9 to 5'ers.
So have I excited you about a huge potential new client base, and a new way of working with your old client base yet? Stay with me, because the next question you're going to ask is "How can I do it?"

Which is of course, brings us to the next step - how to understand the unique needs of elite sportspeople, and how to develop your skills in five key areas of this new approach to Personal Training.

How to deal with the Mind Matters of Personal Training. I will be discussing these five key areas and how to apply them in the next article. Stay tuned!

 

About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

Mentally Tough for Tennis
Take the Sportsmind Test


By Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc.(Hons) B.Ed.


Choose one response per question, and answer every question even though the situation may never have happened to you. Read each description and imagine it happening to you; then choose the response that is closest to how you would think.

P+

1. Situation: You are asked to join the state squad :

A: I am good enough to play at state level.

B: It was lucky break to be chosen for the team.

 

2. Situation: You win an important match :

A: I was feeling unbeatable that day.

B: I always put a lot of effort into my training.

 

3. Situation: You do exceptionally well in an interview for a coaching position :

A: I always perform well in interviews.

B: I felt very relaxed and confident in the interview.

 

4. Situation: You play a match without a single double fault :

A: I was concentrating well that day.

B: I am a consistent server.

 

5. Situation: You organise a social tennis day, and everyone enjoys it :

A: I'm a good organiser.

B: I was really switched on that day.

 

P -

6. Situation: You forget an important appointment after a week's break :

A: My mind was still on holiday that day.

B: I always forget when my routine is disrupted.

 

7. Situation: You get angry with the umpire during a game :

A: That umpire is biased against me.

B: He / She didn't umpire fairly in the game.

 

8. Situation: You put on a lot of weight over Christmas and have trouble getting back

to your peak weight and fitness :

A: The diet I tried didn't work.

B: It's always hard to get back into training after a break.

 

9. Situation: Your coach says something that hurts your feelings :

A: He / She is always very cutting with criticism.

B: He / She was in a grumpy mood and took it out on me.

 

10. Situation: You repeatedly double fault throughout an important match :

A: I wasn't concentrating enough on my serving that day.

B: I always get tense in important matches.

 

V +

11. Situation: You save a stranger from drowning in the surf:

A: I stay calm in a crisis.

B: I'm trained in surf rescue.

 

12. Situation: The coach asks your advice on a new training program :

A: I know some innovative training techniques.

B: I have a good understanding of tennis training..

 

13. Situation: You contest for club president, and win :

A: I always give everything my best shot.

B: I put a lot of effort into speaking to all the club members.

 

14. Situation: Your coach tells you you are at peak fitness level :

A: I stuck to my training program.

B: I'm very fitness conscious.

 

15. Situation: A friend comments on your confidence :

A: I am a confident person.

B: I've been playing well lately.

 

V -

16. Situation: You play poorly in a mixed doubles competition :

A: The competition was fierce that day, and we got a couple of rough calls.

B: We don't always play well together as a team.

 

17. Situation: The coach says you're not concentrating :

A: I'm not as focused as everyone else.

B: I have been slacking off a bit lately.

 

18. Situation: You fail to make the state squad :

A: I haven't been playing well for the past few weeks.

B: I'm not as good as the other players.

 

19. Situation: You are in charge of a training session while your coach is sick, and

no one enjoys the training :

A: I'm not very good at coaching.

B: I didn't put much thought into the coaching session.

 

20. Situation: You miss a 'sitter' at a vital stage in a match.

A: I took my eyes off the ball.

B: I always miss easy shots when I have too much time to think.

The Sportsmind Test

Researchers have found that for sporting success - particularly in tennis - it's important to have an unshakeable positive mental attitude. An attitude of optimism - of expecting to do well, and a thinking process that continually strives for solutions, rather than dwelling on problems or difficulties.

Optimism has been found to be significant in business, educational and sporting success. People who are the most optimistic are usually the most successful - so one way of describing mental toughness is through a measure of your optimism.

The questionnaire you completed offers a simple measure of your mental toughness by measuring your personal optimism.

Marking

Evaluate your answers using the following system:

1. Start by looking at every odd numbered question, and mark an 'A' choice with 1 point and a 'B' choice with 0 points. (Eg, if in question 1 you chose response 'A', you would get 1 point for that question)

2. Now look at every even numbered question, and mark an 'A' choice with 0 points and a 'B' choice with 1 point. (Eg. if in question 2 you chose response 'A', you would get no points for that question)

3. Next, look at the subheadings : P+, P-, V+ and V- and add your individual question scores to get a total for each of these categories. There are five questions for each category.

4. Finally, add up your total '+' and total '-' scores.

Interpretation

Your scores mean the following:

If your total '-' score is

* 3 or below, is optimistic;

* 4 - 6, is average;

* 7 or above, is pessimistic.

This is your response to 'negative' events.

If your total '+' score is

* 8 - 10 is optimistic;

* 6 - 7, is average;

* 5 or below, is pessimistic.

This is your response to 'positive' events.

Optimism and Mental Toughness

Optimism is understood by evaluating what is known as your 'explanatory style' - or how you explain to yourself 'why' events happen to you. All of us ask this question about the events that happen in our lives - but often this questioning process is not overtly conscious. We are all making 'attributions' about events, good and bad, and attribution theory suggests that the specific 'explanations' which you make significantly affect our behaviour and performance.

Pessimistic explanations lead to feelings of helplessness, while optimistic explanations provide feelings of self empowerment. In essence, how you explain to yourself 'why' events happen, (and particularly how you explain why negative events happen), determines how you face up to those events and how helpless, or empowered, you feel in the situation.

Which is essentially measuring how mentally tough you are - what we are measuring here is your quitting response, how much of a fighter you are; how likely you are to give up when the going gets tough. How persistentyou are.

Naturally when something negative happens to us, (for example, losing an important match; or a relationship break-up; or making a costly mistake; whatever), all or us - no matter how positive we are - feel momentarily 'helpless'.

However, after that momentary helplessness, how you respond to the situation from then on is determined by the explanations you make to yourself .

If you tend to explain the negative event in an optimistic way, you'll be more likely to pick yourself up and do what needs to be done, than if you explain the event in a pessimistic way.

Persistence is really important to tennis success, isn't it? There will inevitably be numerous trials, setbacks and obstacles along the way - no truly great player had an 'easy' road, did they?

So your personal explanatory style affects how you deal with those trials and setbacks, and identifies how persistent you are - how much of a fighter you are.

The questionnaire you completed provides an indication of your explanatory style about both negative and positive events, and while the most significant is your response to negative events (it's easy to be optimistic when things are going well), still your responses to positive events are also significant. Do realise that the questionnaire is NOT meant to be an accurate diagnostic tool, but rather to provide a very rough guide to, and a personal appreciation of, your personal explanatory style.

Researchers have discovered that an individual's level of optimism significantly influences their performance in all areas of life. Optimism has been shown to be of significance in career performance, school and college results, sports performances, political fortunes, and even personal health and longevity.

Optimists are more likely to win when running for public office; generally have better health and immune function; achieve higher grades at school and college; succeed more often on the sporting field; and even live longer.

Pessimists are more frequently depressed; fail more frequently, even when success is attainable; exhibit more and more protracted periods of illness and injury; generally don't achieve their potential in their careers or sport that their talents warrant; and die younger.

Your personal performance in all areas of life is profoundly influenced by your explanatory style - by the explanations you're making about 'why' things happen to you. The more optimistic your explanations, the more likely you are to succeed .

We have always known of the importance of being positive and having a positive mental attitude - now modern psychological research has given us a greater understanding as to how and why this is so.

It's also useful to recognise that optimism is a learned behaviour - and everyone can improve their level of optimism and positivity, and through this improve their tennis!

Find out more about optimism, and other mental training techniques for tennis online at www.sportsmind.com.au



About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

Coaching the Mind - PART 2
The Next Step for Personal Training


by Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc(Hons)


In the last article I introduced - and hopefully excited you about - the potential for personal trainers to increase their income and client base working with elite level sportspeople. I mentioned that these clients have unique needs, and personal trainers wanting to work with elite sportspeople, want to develop skills in five key areas - what I term the Mind Matters of Personal Training.

A WINNING ATTITUDE
The first of these keys is to encourage a winning attitude in your clients. Now someone with a winning attitude is not someone who is merely obsessed with victory, but rather someone who has : a solution oriented focus; asks the right questions of themselves; and has powerful, positive self talk.

A solution oriented focus is all about looking for the answers, rather than focusing on the problems. You can encourage this in what you do with your clients, and how you communicate with them.

Rather than dwelling on 'problems', encourage them to consider solutions - how did they overcome a similar situation previously? What do they need to do to move forward?

Which leads into asking the right questions doesn't it? How often have you heard why(n)ing questions from your clients? Why can't I lose weight? What's wrong with me? Why am I so unfit? Why can't I get motivated?

The trouble with these kinds of questions is that even if you get the answer, you're still not left with a solution! This, of course, is the problem with traditional psychotherapy! Who cares where the 'problem' comes from - what your clients want is to know how to get out of it! So help them out by encouraging them to ask 'How' questions. How can I do such and such, and enjoy the process? How can I stay motivated? What can I do to achieve this step towards my goal? How can I stay on my healthy diet and exercise program?

Of course, this is supported by encouraging powerful, positive self talk in your clients. Of course you can do it! Stick with it! You'll make it! You deserve success. You've got what it takes. Perservere. Persist. All champions do.
POSITIVE MOTIVATION AND HIGH ACHIEVEMENT STRATEGIES
Goal setting is an obvious characteristic of elite sportspeople, and you've no doubt heard about goal setting ad nauseam! So I won't belabour the obvious here, but rather note a couple of things about goals of which you may not be aware.

Firstly, do you understand how and why goals work?

There is a part of the brain known as the RAS (reticular activating system) which, in simple terms, controls what we pay attention to. It does this unconsciously, based on what we have consciously decided is important to us.

For example, I recently decided to purchase a new car, and after a few weeks of looking around had decided on a particular brand and model. In the next few weeks prior to my purchasing the new vehicle, I saw that particular kind of car everywhere - whereas previously I had never even noticed them! I'm sure something similar has happened to you - either when choosing bricks or tiles for a new house, a new piece of business equipment, or whatever.

As soon as we consciously decide some particular thing is important to us, then our RAS filters the environment around us, unconsciously, and triggers our attention to items related to that particular thing. Without clear goals, this process cannot happen, and so the individual without goals doesn't notice the opportunities that someone with goals does automatically.

The other important thing about goals is that for someone to actively work towards a particular goal, they have to have a powerful enough reason. Particularly in elite level sport! Every athlete gets to a point in their training when they ask themselves "Why am I doing this?" If they don't have clear, unambiguous and powerful reasons to answer that question, then they will give up, and do something else.

So you can aid your clients be pre-asking this question, and having them list a number of clear reasons for you. Then, whenever their motivation is flagging, you can say: "Remember X? Remember what you're doing this for!"

Having clear, powerful reasons makes the difference between someone who is 'playing' sport, and a sports professional. Having powerful reasons makes the difference between someone who takes action on their goals and dreams, and someone who remains a dreamer.

BUILDING POSITIVE SELF CONCEPT
Self belief, in my opinion, is the single most essential characterising trait of the champion athlete. However, like motivation, concentration, a positive attitude, and so on, it's a learned behaviour - and one which you can help build in your clients.

Without doubt the biggest influence upon self belief and self confidence is the ability to cope with mistakes, failures, poor performances, and outright rejection in your life. Everyone can believe in themselves when things are going well! It's only when the chips are down and your back is to the wall that your underlying self belief is really tested, and either found wanting, or is strengthened by the adversity.

Obviously, positive self belief is closely linked to, and supported by, positive self talk. However, there is one key area that is often overlooked in building self belief, and that is one's attitude to errors, and there is an excellent strategy that I've developed which I call the ARIA technique which is extremely valuable that you can teach to your clients.

I'll explain this in detail in the next article, together with the other two key areas : Emotional Management and Visualisation Techniques. [If you can't wait then you can refer to the Sportsmind book, pages 33 - 35

 

About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

Mental Strategies for an Optimum Tennis Warmup
WARM ... WARMER ... WARMEST


By Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc.(Hons) B.Ed.


Some Fallacies about 'Warming Up'

By now, most serious tennis professionals and up-to-date coaches and sports trainers have heard about the potential problems with 'static stretching' prior to sports performances. Contrary to the consistent, mandatory advice of many years, it has now been proven scientifically that extended static stretching prior to intense physical activity actually leads to a decrease in muscle performance, and even a greater potential for injuries.

Wiemann & Klee (2004), Jones (2004), and others have clearly demonstrated that static stretching can cause damage to myofibrils in muscles, and hence intense (stretching to maximum tolerable tension) muscle stretching before a sports performance leads to reduced performance and a higher risk of injury. It is now suggested that the best results are obtained by engaging in a general aerobic warm-up (e.g.. a five minute jog), followed by low intensity exercises similar in nature to those to be used in the actual performance. Any stretching should be submaximal and dynamic - not intense and static.

Further, when speaking of the warm-up few people even consider the mental and emotional aspects of preparing oneself for competition - attention is almost always focused just on the physical body.

So what is the best advice for the warm-up to get the best out of yourself? How can you warm up mentally and emotionally - as well as physically? What can you do now with the time that used to spent on stretching in the warm-up?

First, let's consider when the actual warm-up really begins. Many people think of the warm-up as the ten minutes prior to a game commencing, or perhaps the thirty minutes prior to that. However I believe games are won and lost on the day before, and the morning of competition, as well as during the actual time of competing! I suggest that you want to see the warm-up as starting the day before, and to initiate a series of actions that you repeat as a regular routine in order to get the best out of yourself on a consistent basis.

Having a planned, positive routine established which you follow consistently gives you a sense of familiarity and confidence, no matter where the venue is, or whatever the surface.

To establish the best routine for yourself, think back to the times you played your very best .... what did you do the day before? What did you eat? What did you think about? How did you direct your emotions? What did you have for breakfast on the morning of the match? How did you warm up? What were you thinking then?

Obviously, you will want to tailor a warm-up routine specifically to suit you, but here are a range of tips and ideas that may be helpful. Note that not all the suggestions may be suitable for everyone, and it is not suggested that you do all of these things - select those that work for you, and establish them as a routine for consistent success.

The Day Before

* First thing in the morning, do a light aerobic and general muscle toning workout : for example a 15 - 20 minute cycle or jog, followed by easy abdominal and general upper body exercises with light weights, and gentle, submaximal stretching. Drink plenty of water - before and after. [I recommend starting every day with a glass of purified water before you do anything thing else!]

* Follow this with a soak in a bath, or spa, and a light massage (no deep tissue work). A thorough 20 - 30 minute self massage of your legs, abdomen, chest, arms, and especially your feet and hands - is cheap, and simple to do. While you're massaging yourself (or being massaged), imagine your muscles strong and powerful and ready to perform tomorrow. Picture each muscle group being massaged, and imagine the blood vessels supplying it with oxygen and nutrients and taking away waste products. Visualise your neuro-muscular system working as an efficient unit, quickly responding to the demands you will put it to, and easily coping with the work load. Say to yourself that you are fit and ready; think of your body as fit, strong, and flexible.

* Sometime during the day, (if you don't have to go to work), spend a couple of hours relaxing and reading / listening to / watching a motivational book / CD / video. For example, watch replays of great tennis matches - particularly players who's style is similar to your own, and with whom you identify. As you do this, remind yourself regularly of the strengths of your own game, and imagine yourself playing like your role model.

* In the afternoon or evening, spend 30 minutes drawing up a game plan for tomorrow. Focus on yourself and how you want to play, rather than the opposition. Replay and relive in your mind some of your very best performances - times in competition or training when you played your very best. Remember specific highlights, and feel strong and powerful, and deliberately visualise playing the same way, and doing similar shots tomorrow.

* Well before bedtime, take 20 - 30 minutes to go through a relaxation and visualisation exercise in which you imagine and feel yourself living out your game plan at the actual venue of the match. Imagine not just the physical aspects of positive stroke making and skill, but also how you want to feel in the match : confident, determined, courageous - and enjoying it! I recommend this is done well prior to going to sleep, since you don't want to become obsessed with the game and think about it all night! Do it once, then forget about it. [ There are many types of relaxation techniques and visualisation exercises that can be used for enhancing various aspects of sports performance, and I will write a more detailed article on Visualisation techniques shortly. Also, I have a range of six excellent tapes that cover Motivation, Positive Attitude, Concentration, and so on. See www.sportsmind.com.au for details ]

* Prepare your gear for tomorrow, then get a great night's sleep, by hitting the sack early. If you're a bit nervous, a short walk outside for 15 - 20 minutes before bed clears the head, and is far better than watching the idiot box (TV)!

The Day of the Match

* Rise early, have a drink of pure water, and do 10 - 15 mins of deep breathing and positive affirmations in fresh air - preferably in a park. Affirmations are short positive phrases and statements used to build self belief and confidence, and to commit to the process goals you want to attain. For example: "I will get 70% or better of my first serves in court today"; "I'm fit and strong and ready"; "I can do it. I'm going to play to my best today."; and so on. [The Sportsmind book and training manual explain how to write your own affirmations, and have sample lists of positive affirmations that you can use - again see www.sportsmind.com.au for details]

Most people feel better doing this outside in the fresh air, but of course if you prefer you can do them in your room, or even as you're driving to the venue.

* After breakfast, while you're checking your gear, play some of your favourite, up-beat music to get you excited and ready (e.g.. theme music from 'Rocky I or II', or from 'Chariots of Fire', etc. Think to yourself as you're listening that you're ready, you feel great, and you're really looking forward to the competition - you're going to play well, and enjoy yourself.

* Driving to the venue, again either say positive affirmations to yourself or listen to positive mood music.

* Thirty minutes before the match, go somewhere by yourself and spend five minutes quieting your mind of all self talk, and simply visualise (without words) playing well, staying focused and determined and positive. As the match time approaches it's important to switch yourself from 'thinking' to 'playing' mode. Positive self talk is essential in the match build up, but too much thinking is detrimental to playing from the 'zone' - where we simply 'play' unconsciously, without much conscious thought.

* Before walking on court, use a positive 'trigger' for accessing powerful resource feelings of confidence, strength, self belief, joy, etc. [ I will explain how to build a positive emotion 'trigger' in the next issue - or check out my Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings book ] From now on you want to be totally in feeling - quiet your internal dialogue, and get into the rhythm of your shot making; fully feel your balance, the temperature of the air, your breathing full and deep and regular, the feel of your hand gripping the racquet. Since the brain cannot process an external and an internal stimulus at the same time, by deliberately focusing on external feeling sensations such as described, you take away the opportunity for yourself to feel internal nervousness, doubt, or fear.

Now you're truly warmed up and ready ... go out and play well!

References

Jones, M (2004) The Effects of Static Stretching on Performance, pp.27 inModern Athlete & Coach Vol 42 - 1

Wiemann, K & Klee, A (2004) The Significance of Stretching in the Warm Up Before Maximum Performance, pp.24-26 inModern Athlete & Coach Vol 42 - 1



About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

Coaching the Mind - PART 3
The Next Step for Personal Training


by Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc(Hons)


BUILDING POSITIVE SELF CONCEPT
Self belief, in my opinion, is the single most essential characterising trait of the champion athlete. However, like motivation, concentration, a positive attitude, and so on, it's a learned behaviour - and one which you can help build in your clients.

Without doubt the biggest influence upon self belief and self confidence is the ability to cope with mistakes, failures, poor performances, and outright rejection in your life. Everyone can believe in themselves when things are going well! It's only when the chips are down and your back is to the wall that your underlying self belief is really tested, and either found wanting, or is strengthened by the adversity.

So teach your clients some strategies for dealing with the 'down' times. One way to do this is to encourage a positive self talk through the use of positive affirmation statements - short, powerful phrases about what you want to be true for you. For example, "I'm motivated and enthusiastic about training now", or "I enjoy feeding my body healthful foods every day", or "It's easy for me to be calm and focused under pressure now", and so on.

Of course, this is supported by your talk to your clients: Of course you can do it! Stick with it! You'll make it! You deserve success. You've got what it takes. Persevere. Persist. All champions do.

EMOTION MANAGEMENT
One of the most important concepts in performance psychology that every athlete wants to know about, and master, is the idea of emotional state. You know, and have experienced many different states : anger; sadness; boredom; jealousy; happiness; determination; excitement; and so on. Yet states don't just 'jump' on you out of the blue, do they? You don't suddenly experience anxiety, rage, or loneliness, for no reason do you?

States are effects - they are a consequence of something you're doing in your mind. How you think affects how you feel. Teach your clients to control their thoughts to take charge of their emotions.
One simple technique I use with my athletes is called the 'present moment' technique., and it's an effective way to help maintain focus and concentration.

The technique is simply to take ten seconds paying attention to some external visual aspects of your surroundings; ten seconds to your breathing; and then ten seconds visualising success from an 'in-body' perspective.

VISUALISATION TECHINQUES
Visualisation is a common skill we all use all the time; to achieve anything, to do anything, we first 'see' ourselves doing it. So visualisation is not something strange or difficult, but something we all constantly use in order to function in the world ..... we all can visualise. The trouble is, many people use visualisation negatively - they imagine all the bad things that could happen, and then hope they don't!

The important thing to realise is that we human beings are a lot like guided missiles - we move in the direction of our regular and consistent thoughts and imaginings; we move toward what we picture in our mind - particularly what we picture with vividness and strong feeling. Whenever we associate a vivid picture with a strong feeling, it has a magnetic attraction.

So you want to encourage your clients to have a positive focus, and you want to encourage them to practice their visualisation skills. There is overwhelming scientific evidence which demonstrates the undeniable fact that regular visualisation can improve sports performances - and it works because visualisation has a measurable, physiological effect on our body. When you visualise doing a movement, play, stroke, shot, or performance, there is a measurable response by the specific muscles used in that activity in response to your imagined movements.

Neurologically, your body can't tell the difference between a 'real' experience, and a vividly imagined one, and this makes it possible to 'program in' desired shots, strokes, plays, movements, behaviours, and even emotional responses prior to doing them. In other words you can 'groove in' to your body at a cellular level, a 'muscle memory' of what you want your body to do.

For more details on any of the above Mind Matters for PT's consult the Sportsmind or Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings books.

 

About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

Mind Matters for Sport Educators


by Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)


There is a difference between a truly positive attitude and just saying positive affirmations. This difference is having an understanding of the building blocks of behaviour, and the ability to encourage successful learning states in yourself and in the people you're teaching. The most useful and effective behavioural change model for educators comes from the field of Neuro-Linguistic Programming [NLP], and teachers and trainers who have a working knowledge of NLP are just that much more successful in their work.

Introduction
Most educators have a lot of knowledge and skill in the specific aspects of their chosen areas of expertise, and many also are up to date in their knowledge of teaching and learning theory and practice, however an important aspect of education that is often not recognised is that, particularly in sport education, successful learning often involves behavioural change.

Whether you're working with an elite athlete or sports team preparing for an important competition performance; providing a new routine for a referee; or implementing a new administrative system; the most successful coaches and sport educators are not those who have an intuitive understanding of human behaviour and behavioural change techniques.

Behavioural Change is 90% Mental
It's often said that you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. Likewise, it seems like you can provide your people with the most researched and effective approach, but you can't make them follow it. Or can you?

Some people suggest that successful behavioural change is 90% mental, yet few educators - in sport or elsewhere - understand the psychological basics of personal motivation, and positive behavioural change. Understanding the psychological processes of successful behavioural change - and how to initiate it your people - is of significant benefit to educators, because those who don't usually experience resistance to change that can take the form of unmotivation to deliberate sabotage or open hostility. Education courses devote very little time to this important area, and even traditional 'psychology' courses offer few practical tools and techniques for educators.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming - What is it?
The field of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP, offers a huge range of very powerful and easily-applied techniques and educational approaches that encourage positive behavioural change in both individuals and teams.
NLP is a powerful human performance and behavioural change technology based on modelling excellence - identifying the motivation and thinking strategies of highly successful people, and providing practical tools for teaching these to others. NLP has demonstrated success in the areas of management, education, and counselling, and new SPORTS-NLP applications have recently been designed for sports performance and coaching contexts. SPORTS-NLP techniques provide verifiable, sensory based descriptions of an individual's subjective experience, and practical tools and specific techniques for improving motivation, persistence and performance.
Building Blocks of SPORTS-NLP
There are three core building blocks of NLP that are of significant use in sports education and training : VAK Strategies; Preferred Learning Style; and Anchoring Techniques.

VAK Strategies
One of the main concepts underlying NLP is that all human behaviours - including motivation, desire, decision making, concentration, creativity, and so on - are a result of sequences of 'thoughts'. All thoughts are represented in terms of one of the five senses, with the primary building blocks of thinking being the Visual (V), Auditory (A), and Kinaesthetic (K) senses. So every behaviour can generally be described as a sequence of Visual, Auditory, and Kinaesthetic steps - and this is called a mental processing strategy.

For example, a very simple motivation strategy might be :

Visual (Picture my goal) --- Auditory (Tell myself to go for it) --- Kinaesthetic (Feel good about it) --- Do it!

We all have specific strategies for motivation; for learning; for decision making; for creativity; for belief; and for memory. Some strategies are much more effective than others, and being able to identify an individual's strategies - and change them if they are ineffective - can greatly assist you in helping them achieve their learning outcomes.

There are important criteria in such behavioural strategies which identify whether or not a particular strategy is 'well formed'. Strategies which adhere to these criteria are more effective in securing a successful outcome - be it in making a good decision; learning a new skill; motivating yourself to do a task; or whatever. For example, it's easy to recognise that obtaining information from all our senses would be important - you can see things you can't hear, you can feel things you can't see, and you can hear things you can't feel. Consequently it would make sense to include all sensory systems in one's strategies. However, it is clearly observable that not everyone does this - some people make decisions just on how they 'feel' (kinaesthetic) about something; others attempt to learn by simple rote repetition (auditory); or attempt to motivate themselves without any clear images of the desired outcome. (visual).

Preferred Learning Style
Most educators are probably familiar by now with the concept of visual, auditory, and kinaesthetic learners. [This information - though rarely credited by most people who refer to it - came from the work of NLP researchers Richard Bandler and John Grinder] Some people learn best if they can see the information, if they can map it out in their mind and have a clear image of what is to be learned. Others prefer to learn through listening to talks and lectures, by discussing salient point and debating different opinions. Still others learn best through doing, by jumping in and having a go and working through things a step at a time until they have a handle on it.

Of course, most people can learn in all of the above ways - however, most of us tend to have a preference for one or other of the visual, auditory or kinaesthetic presentation styles. Interestingly, an individuals preferred learning style is very easy to identify - simply pay attention to the kinds of words they use.

For instance someone who is very visually oriented will often use words or phrases such as : "I see what you mean"; "I'm not clear on that"; "Let's look at this from another perspective"; "From my point of view"; etc. Someone who is very auditorily oriented will often use words or phrases such as : "I hear what you're saying"; "I think such and such"; "You're not listening to me"; "Let's talk about this"; "Sounds good to me"; etc. Someone who is very kinaesthetically oriented will often use words or phrases such as : "I don't grasp what you mean"; "I'm not comfortable that, it just doesn't feel right to me"; "Let's just do it and work from there"; "I want to move forward a step at a time"; "That sits well with me"; etc.

The consequences to educators of such sensory preference are profound: if you're just communicating in one way, you may not be reaching two-thirds of your audience!

Anchoring Techniques
Anchoring is another name for the sophisticated stimulus-response conditioning techniques used in NLP. Anchoring techniques can be used by an educator, covertly or overtly, to disrupt negative emotional states and to lock in positive resource states in students. Self anchoring techniques can also taught to your people, to encourage positive states in training, competition performance, and other areas where you want them to experience powerful, positive emotional states and feel more confident and 'in control'.

Anchors can be established in any of the five sensory systems, with the most commonly used in teaching being visual and auditory anchors. You, yourself, can in fact become a positive visual anchor for your people - just seeing you can help shift them into a positive learning state !

SPORTS-NLP Training
For sport educators and coaches wanting to obtain training in SPORTS-NLP, the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research offers a programs of study in SPORTS-NLP varying from one to three weeks. Courses can also be undertaken by correspondence, and have been accredited with the Australian Fitness Accreditation Council for Continuing Education Credit (CEC) points.

 

About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

Decision Making in Tennis
QUESTIONS ARE THE ANSWER


By Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc.(Hons) B.Ed.


Importance of Decision Making in Tennis

Tennis is a game of decisions - all throughout the match a player is making decisions which affect the outcome of the game. Some of these decisions are made consciously .... for example :

Do I serve the ball to his backhand or forehand?;

Do I chip and charge or stay back?;

Do I go for a winner or play it safe?

However, many of the most important and significant decisions are not made consciously at all, and many players are totally unaware of the pre-programmed patterns of decision making that are limiting their performance.

In this article I take a look at some of the conscious and unconscious decisions players make, and make some suggestions for improving both conscious and unconscious decision making to improve YOUR game.

Three Important Decisions

It's crucial to understand that both as tennis players, and as ordinary human beings, we all are making decisions about three things which affect us enormously :

decisions about focus; decisions about what things mean; and decisions about what to do right now.

At every instant you're making a decision about what to focus your attention upon, then once your attention is focused on a particular event or set of circumstances the next decision you make is "What does this mean? Is it good, bad or unimportant either way?" This is then followed by the decision about "What do I do now?".

Let's consider an example. The first decision, "What do I focus on?", most people readily understand and appreciate it's importance on the surface.

At each moment, what you decide to pay attention to, and what you decide to focus your thinking on, affects how you feel, and what you do. A person who is focused on watching the ball is obviously going to perform more consistently than another player thinking about someone watching them from the grandstand, or who's mind is on their hot date after the game!

The best players in any sport have learned how to manage this crucial triple decision making process to get the best out of themselves.

However let's probe a little deeper into this process. Consider another example. It's five games all on your serve, and after leading 40 : 0, you double fault twice, and then two scorching unplayable returns from your opponent puts them into advantage with the potential to break your serve, and potentially be serving for the set.

However, you've been serving well so far all match and so walk up confidently, and serve what appears to be a clear ace - only to have it called a fault by the linesperson.

Now ...... what you decide to focus your attention on at that moment determines how you feel and how you perform!

What do many people choose to focus on in such an instance? The injustice of the call, perhaps thinking things like: "There goes the first set now"; or "I hate having to depend on my second serve under pressure; I never play it well."; or "I always play poorly near the end of a game"; or even "There goes this match"! Or perhaps their attention gets captured by thoughts of "I should have ........ in the previous game I should have put away that easy volley, and I would be the one putting pressure on them now", or "I should have served to his backhand like I was going to" ..... etc. etc.

In order to do better at something, it's useful to ask the question, "What do the top people focus on at any point in time, and in particular circumstances?". In this instance, invariably champion players focus on their strongly desired goal, and committed standard of performance. They choose to focus their attention on the excellent serves they have done in the game already, and on previous good serves from situations similar to this, and imagine successfully serving a strong second serve and winning the point - rather than dwelling on the misfortune of the poor line call.

Your Consistent Focus is What is Important

I like to suggest that we human beings are a lot like guided missiles - we move toward whatever we regularly and consistently focus on and picture in our imagination and thoughts, with feeling.

It's not what you think about occasionally that's important, but what you're consistently and regularly focusing your attention upon that influences your life, and performance .

Think for a minute about when you were a child - didn't you imagine yourself playing tennis as you watched your heroes play on TV, and think to yourself, "I'm going to do that!" Likewise, we first imagine ourselves into every new job, relationship, activity and performance, before we do it in reality.

So realise that your decisions about what you focus your attention upon are directing your life.

Ask your self, right now, "What have I been thinking about most today, and this week? What has my focus been upon? What have I spent most of my time thinking about?"

It's interesting to note that for many people, their focus is often on what otherpeople are doing : the latest office gossip; which celebrities have been sleeping with whom; the racing form; or details of the recent performances of their favourite sports stars.

Champions tend to be much more concerned with themselvesand their life to focus for too long on other people.

Every thought has one of only two consequences - it either moves you closer to your dreams, or it takes you further away. There are no other choices, and no 'idle' thoughts! What you decide to focus upon and think about moves you in that direction.

However, many people allow their focus to be distracted and controlled by other people and events, rather than being directed by their own dreams and desires.

For many people, life is like a river, and they're just floating along with the current - current fashions and fads, current events and current problems. The trouble is that sometimes that current can smash you into the rocks or over the waterfall - so it's a good idea to have a direction in mind for where you want to go, and regularly and consistently focus your thinking on that.

Directing Your Focus

What this means in practice is to develop the discipline to consistently focus your attention and thinking on what you want.

For many people, thoughts are things that happen to them - I hear it all the time! "I can't help it; I always do it" they say, as if someone else was actually putting the thoughts in their head! That's garbage!

No-one is in charge of your thinking but you; no-one but you directs your thoughts, so quit whingeing and bitching or making excuses - and learn to discipline your mind!

All mental training MUST begin with the discipline of training your focus, and realising that YOU control and direct your thoughts. Thinking positively doesn't always guarantee success, but when has thinking negatively ever done you any good?

PART 2

Thoughts are essentially decisions you're making - each moment, you make decisions about what to focus your attention upon, and once you focus your attention, you then make a decision about what a particular thing or event means to you. For every event in your life, in order to understand and respond to it, you have to give a meaning to it. The important thing to realise is that these meanings are arbitrary - the meanings you give to events become the meanings of these events for you.

There is nothing that is inherently 'good' or 'bad' - it all depends on what you choose to make of it. A wonderful example of this was given by Denis Waitley in his New Dynamics of Winningaudio tape, in which he tells the story of running late for an airline flight, and arriving just as they closed the flight. Despite his angry demands and pleas to the staff at the airport to hold the plane and let him on, they refuse. He decides to make a complaint to the management, and while he is waiting to do so, the news comes that the plane has crashed on take-off, killing everyone on board.

What was seen by him just a few moments ago as something to get angry and complain about, suddenly in an instant becomes something he is incredibly grateful for. I'm sure you can think of similar situations that have happened to you, in which something happened that you initially judged negatively, but which actually turned out to be to your benefit?

Of course, this doesn't mean that we decide to just blindly accept anything and everything that happens to us as 'good', and have no sense of discrimination, and no

For me, having a strong positive mental attitude is a process of deliberately looking for solutions - the good in any situation, while holding an expectation for the best.

Nor is a positive mental attitude just affirming positive things to yourself - it's mostly about how you handle the setbacks, defeats, challenges, and downright failures that happen to us all. Anyone can be positive and confident when things are going well, but only someone with a truly positive mental attitude can walk off the playing field after a loss, or poorer than expected performance, with their head held high thinking about the positive aspects of their performance, and what they will do over the coming weeks to turn things around.

Also pay attention to the kinds of questions you're asking yourself - use questions that seek solutions rather than dissect problems. " How can I achieve X and enjoy the process?" is far more useful than " Why is this happening?", or "What am I doing wrong?"

In the next issue I will discuss the other two, less conscious, decision making processes that influence your confidence, self belief and performance consistency.

In the next issue I will discuss the other two, less conscious, decision making processes that influence your confidence, self belief and performance consistency.



About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

Positive Sportsmanship
Coaching Handout


By Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc.(Hons) B.Ed.

1. CHAMPIONS IN YOUR LIFE
Identify someone who was / is a good sportsperson and who you respect. It may be a team mate, a coach, a friend - but pick someone who you personally know and are familiar with. Describe their personal qualities and character. What was it about the behaviour and performance of this person that inspired, motivated and influenced you?

What personal changes and achievements did you accomplish under the influence of this person?

2. THE POWER OF INTENTION & THE MEANING OF WINNING
"A while ago we were playing a game of 'Stuck in the Mud' with the juniors at the Dojo. I noticed that if the children were left to play the game they quickly organised around the principle of trying to stay free themselves. Following this principle they were all quite quickly tagged by the chasers. I asked them to change their method and focus only on freeing others who had been tagged. Using this principle the majority stayed free permanently. Since that time I have repeated this experiment always with the same result. I believe there is a very important lesson in this principle and that it relates to the manner in which outcomes can change under no greater influence than a difference in INTENTION. This warrants considerable thought."
David Dangerfield, 3rd Dan Black Belt of the Aikido Institute.

"Success is the peace of mind that is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming. Furthermore only one person can ultimately judge the level of your success - you."
John Wooden, famous basketball coach.

"It's great to win, but its also great fun just to be in the thick of any truly well and hard-fought contest against opponents you respect, whatever the outcome."
Jack Nicklaus, winner 4 US Opens, 3 British Opens and a record 6 Masters titles.

"Even when I went to the playground, I never picked the best players. I picked guys with less talent, but who were willing to work hard, who had the desire to be great."
Earvin "Magic" Johnson, NBA player

"If you can react the same way to winning and losing, that's a big accomplishment. That quality is important because it stays with you the rest of your life, and there's going to be a life after tennis that's a lot longer than your tennis life."
Chris Evert, champion tennis player.

It's interesting to note that Chris Evert's winning percentage .8996, (ie she won nearly 9 out of every 10 matches she played against the best in the world), is the highest in the history of professional tennis. Yet she says that it's important to see winning and losing in the same way. It's interesting to recognise that probably the greatest golfer ever, and the greatest woman tennis player of all time - both have a broader intent when they play. That winning for them is not just about winning the game. Read the biographies or some of the quotes from any of the greatest sports champions of any generation, and you will find that they actually see their sport in a much broader way than just 'winning'. I believe when you hold a broader intent - then you win more anyway - and because of that attitude, you also win even if you lose the match! Many of the problems we see in sport today - performance enhancing drugs, gambling corruption, excessive violence, eating disorders, and so on are a result of a having just a narrow, winning intention, rather than a broader appreciation that sees sport as personal development.

Copyright J. Hodges 2000. For more coaching resources and handouts call 07 5445 7994

Having read the previous quotes, what do you think? What does 'winning' mean to you? How do you define success? Relate your answers to the first question on champions in your life.

MY VISION OF SPORTSMANSHIP
This exercise is designed to give you a chance to imagine a personal, positive vision of sportsmanship for your team - whether you are a player, coach or parent - and to identify specific behaviours that you can do to encourage positive sportsmanship in the team.

A vision is an ideal, an inspiration towards which we want to strive because it matches our values and beliefs. Without a vision, individuals, teams, and even nations begin the slide into mediocrity and apathy. However a vision that is too general, and that is not grounded in clearly achievable behaviours remains an unreachable dream. Ensure you think of specific behaviours that characterise and support your vision.

1. Describe your vision of the relationship between coach and players, and between members of the team.

2. Describe how you would like individuals and the team as a whole to respond to defeats.

3. Describe how you would like individuals and the team as a whole to respond to victories.

4. Describe your vision of the relationship between players, coaches and officials.

5. Describe your vision of the role of parents and supporters.

Copyright J. Hodges 2000. For more coaching resources and handouts call 07 5445 7994




About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

Don't Just Set Goals


By Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc.(Hons) B.Ed.


Establish Positive Achievement Routines and LOVE the Training

In sports coaching the concept of goal setting has taken on the status of an immutable 'truth' - something so accepted as to be rarely, if ever, questioned. For many years I also not only personally practised goal 'setting', but also widely preached its virtues.

However, I've recently developed a new approach to high achievement which is both more effective and much easier to understand and implement for both players and coaches.

Problems with Goal 'Setting'

You see, the problem with goal 'setting' is two-fold. Firstly, what happens when, (as often happens), you don't get the goal you set? For example, I'm sure Leyton Hewitt had 'set the goal' of winning Wimbledon this year - yet he was defeated in the first round! Here is an individual who is an accomplished player and highly experienced in elite achievement - yet he didn't get his goal!

Haven't you had the same kind of disappointing experience? Haven't you 'set' yourself goals - whether it was to increase your fitness level; or to change your diet and lose some weight; or to win a particular match; or get a particular job; or attain a certain result in your studies .... and you didn't do it!

Tell me how did you feel afterwards? What was the end result of your goal setting? Loss of confidence in your abilities. Erosion of your self belief. Perhaps not wanting to try again - giving up?

Yet we're told, "Don't give up!" The answer is simply to try again - to set yet more goals.

Don't worry - the problem isn't you! The fault is with the process. Goal 'setting' is not the answer!

The second fatal flaw with goal setting is that it encourages an unhealthy and unrealistic emphasis on outcomes and results.

Too often an athlete's happiness, self worth, and even identity are dependent on achieving the goal, the result ... and when (as inevitably happens) an individual doesn't get the goal, win the event, achieve the result - they feel cheated, disappointed, and can lose heart, and even fall prey to depression.

Further, goal 'setting' too often leads the individual to associate all the pleasure and joy with the final attainment - as if life were a result, rather than an on-going process! This often then consigns the actual 'process' of achieving the goal to the role of a 'sacrifice' - something to be suffered through in order to attain eventual happiness!

What this unhealthy obsession with the end result creates then is an emptiness, even in the athletes who get to the top, after the 'magic moment' of successful attainment is over, as they look around after years of 'sacrifice' and wonder, "Is this all there is? Is this what I gave up my life for?"

The Solution

If goal 'setting' isn't the answer, what is? Is it possible to achieve at the highest level with a different kind of process? I believe so, and I believe this new process is both more effective and leads to long term joy and fulfilment - rather than infrequent, fleeting pleasures.

The 'goal' is to happily achieve; rather than achieve to be happy.

This new process - which I term the Sportsmind Routine Achievement approach - involves two radical changes in thinking.

Firstly, the understanding that achievement is a process, not an end result. In order to achieve any goal, there must be a process involved; and this process involves specific routines.

The key to successful and satisfying achievement then, lies in identifying the routine, which if followed, will inevitably lead you to the desired 'goal'. This is done by simply asking the question : "What routine, or set of routines, - if adhered to consistently and conscientiously - would inevitably lead to the successful attainment of goal X"

The task then is to simply focus on doing, and enjoying, the routines - confident that your training will lead you where you want to be.

Secondly, associate the greatest pleasure with the training - not the end result. Love your training - otherwise you're going to be spending most of your time not enjoying your life, and I see so many sportspeople who dislike training, and only do it because they feel they 'have to' in order to get the goals they want! This is exactly the same as the many people working in jobs they hate! Why spend your life doing something you hate? Either change your attitude to training, or go and do something that you do like!

The way to do this is to continually ask yourself about your training, "How can I enjoy this more? What can I do to make this even more fun and enjoyable for me?" Remind yourself regularly while you train, "I LOVE tennis (or golf, or whatever) ... I LOVE training. I'm so lucky to be doing this - some people have to actually WORK for a living; I get to PLAY!".

Achievement as a Personal Management Process

Having made these two important points, let me now say it IS important to have goals!

However, achieving significant goals in sport, particularly at an elite level, involves more than just the process of setting them.

Achieving big goals is a personal managementprocess involving establishing a goal, breaking it down into smaller sub-goals, determining a viable action plan, implementing and enjoying this plan, evaluating progress, adjusting the plan, celebrating achievement, and finally choosing a new goal.

Goals are important to success, because without a clearly defined and desired outcome, motivation flags and there can be a loss of direction. If you don't have a specific destination in mind, you might be a good player, but you'll end up going nowhere in particular - and this is what happens to many talented athletes, simply because they don't have long term goals.

You do want to have a desired outcome and not be afraid of setting it, and going for it - however you also want to temper this outcome focus by establishing strong achievement routines, and associating great enjoyment to your day-to-day training.

For instance, consider a journey. At the beginning of the journey you think of your destination - where you want to end up. Then you get in the car and pay attention to the traffic around you; stop at lights and intersections; change gears; accelerate; turn corners; refuel when necessary; and deal with any delays and flat tyres along the way.

Now just imagine if you didn't have that destination in mind at the start - what would happen? You'd just hop in the car and start driving, and you might drive extremely well, but you'd end up going nowhere in particular.

What is different about the Sportsmind Routine Achievement approach is that we remember to enjoy the journey, and focus on what you need to do each step of the way. Remember that choosing a direction is important, but placing too much emphasis on it leads to problems.

For instance, on your journey you'll have an accident if you think too much about the hot date you're doing to visit, but if you don't want that hot date in the first place, you'll probably never get the car out of the garage!

Likewise, if you think about winning during the match, chances are your attention and concentration on the moment by moment play will suffer as you imagine the future, or regret past mistakes, instead of being in the present - and you won't perform to your potential.

Enjoy your training; love the doing of your sport - it is after all the most important part!



About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

Practical Suggestions for Achieving Your Dream


by Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc(Hons)


The key to being successful in your sport may not be as a result of a different diet, or through a new cross training regimen, or with the latest technologically advanced running shoes - it could be something as simple as how you set your goals. Some people don't set goals at all; others set them, but don't write them down; still others write them down, but don't know how to work with them effectively. The following S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goal setting principles will provide you with an easy and practical method of defining precisely what you want - which is the first step in getting there!

WHY DON'T PEOPLE SET GOALS?
Recently, I was invited to give a Sportsmind presentation to a group of aspiring young athletes who had just been selected as the best in their sport in their region, and were being inducted into an elite sports training academy. One of the first questions I asked them was how many of them had written down goals. The answer ..... five out of sixty! And these kids were supposedly the great sporting hopes for the region!

I then asked the question: "Well, why don't people set goals?" They answered with the four most common reasons:
1. The 'couldn't be bothered' response; the deadly apathetic malaise.
2. The 'don't want to appear different from peers' response - a typically Australian disease.
3. The fear of failure - if I don't set a goal, then I can't fail at getting it.
4. The fear of success - how responsible/guilty/afraid I'd feel if I was incredibly successful.

I wonder if I asked you to show me your written down goals for the next six months, twelve months, and three to five years ...... would you have anything to show me? If not, why not? Are any of the responses above applicable to you in your sport?

IMPORTANCE OF A DREAM
You know, a lot of athletes train very hard in the belief that it's hard training that leads inevitably to success. They read about (in ULTRAFIT of course!) how their idols train; they copy their gym routines and dietary habits; they do everything physically that they do, believing that if they train hard and do all the things that the top performers do - then they'll also succeed. But let me tell you it doesn't work that way. The breaks go to the people with dreams and specific goals. You want to have a dream, a goal. Somehow, the dream itself provides the motivation and the means for its own accomplishment.

The only thing that will keep you going when the going gets tough, is a dream focused into a set of specific goals. Nothing else will. The only thing that will keep you fighting to win when it's five games to one and match point against you, and it's hot and you're tired, is a dream. The only thing that will keep you out there in the cold and rain at training, when you're soaking wet and uncomfortable, is a dream. The only thing that will get you up and pushing forward to make another tackle in the last minutes of the game when you're body is aching and exhausted, is a dream.

BRINGING DREAMS TO REALITY
Having dreams is important - but lots of people have 'dreams', yet they never achieve them. How do you turn dreams into reality?

One of the keys is to understand how you got to be where you are, right now, because where you are now was at one time just a dream, wasn't it? There was a time when, for instance, you hadn't even started playing or competing in your chosen sport - and to reach the level you're at now was just a dream. Isn't it so?
So what was it that brought that dream to reality? What is it that precedes all our actions, all our behaviours, all our performances in every area of our lives? It's our decisions, isn't it?

Your decisions precede all your actions, and therefore determine who you become. Everything in your life, including your current level of performance in your sport is determined by the decisions you have made, and are making right now. The decisions you're making right now, even as you read this article, are determining what you think, how you feel, what you do, and who you become.

If you ask yourself why a particular person is currently performing better than you, then the answer is simply that they've made some different decisions. Different decisions about how they spend their time; different decisions about how they respond to setbacks or defeats; different decisions about their approach to training - but most importantly, different decisions about what they expect of themselves, and what they want to achieve in their sport.

TRUE DECISIONS
The power of a committed decision to help you improve your current performance cannot be underestimated. However, for your decisions to make a real difference in your life and in your performance, it's important that they be true decisions. Too many people don't understand what a true decision is - they use the word loosely, and so decisions for them have become just preferences.

A true decision leaves no choice for any other option. If you truly decide to give up smoking, then that's it, you no longer even consider the possibility of smoking again. If you truly decide to reduce your golf handicap by five strokes over the next twelve months, then you'll do it. If you truly decide to improve your fitness, or lose weight, or reach a higher standard in your sport, then you'll do it.

However, many people just state preferences. I think I'd like to give up cigarettes; or I'd like to improve my percentage of first services in; or I hope to make the first eleven. These are just 'wish lists' - and serious sportspeople have no time for wish lists.

So how do you tell when you've made a 'true' decision? Action always follows true decisions! For instance, if you truly decide to buy a new car, then you'll go to see a dealer, or you'll phone up to put an add in the paper to sell your old one. If you truly decide to end a relationship, then you'll confront you're partner, or you'll pack you're bags. Likewise, if you make a true decision to reach a higher standard in your sport, then you'll take some action.

S.M.A.R.T.E.R GOALS AND ACTION PLANS
There is power in knowing what you want, and in committing yourself to achieve it, and this is especially true in sport. All the top sports men and women are consistent goal setters and planners. Consider this: In six months time, in twelve months time, in five years, in ten years you're going to become some one; you're going to be performing at some standard in your sport. Why leave it to chance? Why not choose, today, who and what you want to be in six months, in twelve months, in five years and in ten years time?

So here's a little exercise for you to do. Write down, right now, the three most important things you want to achieve for yourself in the next six months, twelve months and three to five years.

 

About Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc.(AES) M.Sc.(Hons)
Jeffrey Hodges is a performance consultant to elite athletes, sporting teams and corporate clients. He is the author of the widely acclaimed "Sportsmind - An Athlete's Guide to Superperformance Through Mental & Emotional Training" and "Champion Thoughts, Champion Feelings"; creator of the Sportsmind performance enhancement workshops and audio tapes; and Director of the Sportsmind Institute for Human Performance Research.

He is a NLP Master Practitioner and Associate Trainer, and his Sportsmind programs have been endorsed by the NSW Dept Sport & Recreation, and recommended by top sportsclubs and successful athletes. Jeffrey has competed in many sports, notably Volleyball, Squash, Soccer and Golf, and currently trains in Aikido, holding a black belt.

Some of his clients to date include :
Australian Rugby Union
St. Joseph's College
Woodlands Golf Club
Financial Institutions Remuneration Group (FIRG)
Societe Generale
Qld. Swimming
Network for Fitness Professionals
North Sydney and Penrith Rugby League Clubs
Qld. Athletics Assn
NSW Netball Assn
Northern Inland Academy of Sport
Victorian Soaring Assn
Orange Agricultural College Equestrian School
Qld and NSW Departments of Sport and Recreation
Qld Academy of Sport
and the RAAF.

For more information, contact :
SPORTSMIND , 77 FLAXTON MILL ROAD
FLAXTON Qld. Australia. 4560.
PHONE 61 7 5445 7994
email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
website : www.sportsmind.com.au

From Sports Psychology Counselling & Therapy to Sports NLP Performance Coaching
the faliure of psychology and the rise of the coaching paradigm


by Jeffrey Hodges B.Sc. M.Sc(Hons)


coming soon...

What Clients Like About Sportsmind & Jeffrey Hodges

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