Friday, 19 October 2012

Sports Coaches Conference Talk

Recently I was asked to do a talk about 'The basics of coaching effectively by recognising different learning styles' for a sports coaches conference organised by SMART Way Forward and held at Bisham Abbey - one of Sport Englands National Sports Centres. I had an amazing day meeting and networking with the other speakers and attendees who ranged from those who had Olympic medal success to those just starting on their sports coaching careers. My actual talk was an interactive session and lasted about an hour - Here I have put in just the main points and it takes just under 10 minutes!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

How having a winning sports mindset can work in your business

The London 2012 Olympics was the first major sporting competition that I can recall that actually looked at how the mind can effect sports performance and talked about it so openly.  I thought this was great as coaching the mind is not just for when you have an issue it is very much about enhancing performance.  There were some great pieces on Sports Psychology and some great quotes from those that have been there and done it!

So what can we learn from these beliefs held by elite athletes that we can take into our own sporting or business arena.

'I don't own winning, I wanted to win' - Carl Lewis

'Top athletes perceive pressure as a privilege' - Tom Bates

'...pressure so high at that point, all things being equal it's the person who handles that moment and the pressure at that particular time best, that's going to have their best performance' - Michael Johnson

'I'm about to go to battle' - Michael Johnson

'Four years preparation for a few moments of action' - Matthew Syed

'Control the controllables' - Sir Matthew Pinsent

'You can only control how you perform' - Michael Johnson

'Thoughts become things and what we think affects the way we feel and the way we feel ultimately affects the way that we behave and ultimately in the sporting context - performance' - Tom Bates

'Find something that works for you' - Jonathan Edwards

'That minute difference between victory and defeat on the biggest stage of all is often to be found not in skill or effort but in the recesses of the mind' - Matthew Syed

Take a moment to think about a situation or activity you have coming up where you want to be at your best.  Pick a quote and think about your situation as if you hold that thought to be true - what does it tell you now about how you see and feel about the situation - what will you do differently?  What will you do the same?

Whether you are an athlete or in business, competing in any arena you needs to have mind and body working together and mental coaching techniques will help you achieve your goals and perform in the most competitive of environments.

The model below I use with athletes so they can see the different areas that coaching can work with - these are as relevant for business as they are for sport.

Now you may think overcoming injury is not very relevant to business but if someone feels injured this can have as devastating an effect on their work as an athlete being physically injured.

So what sports winning mentality will you have today?

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

How to Turn Inspiration into Participation....

With so many people feeling inspired by the Olympics you may be wondering where to start, so here is an extract from my e-book 'How to get off the Sofa and Start Running'.

Getting your mind in your run
"There are people who have no bodies, only heads. And many athletes have no heads, only bodies. A champion is a man who has trained his body and his mind"
- Coach Sam Dee The Olympian

However much your body might want to go for a run, if your mind isn’t interested it’s unlikely that you will get out the door.

We can be very good at talking ourselves out of doing something and so when you first start running it’s really good to think of some outcomes that you want to achieve.

You can break these down from your long term outcome and then smaller ones in order to keep you on track.

For instance a long term outcome maybe to take part in a race, do a particular time, fit into a particular pair of jeans.

Your short term outcomes can then be to run 3 times a week, to do a certain amount of mileage in a week, or spend a certain amount of time running each week.

Our brains work really well when it knows what we want to achieve and so if you have a good outcome in place this can help on those days it seems more tricky to get out the door!

To create a great outcome think about what you want to achieve and then build up a movie of it in your mind, what can you see happening when you have this outcome, what can you hear and how do you feel.  The more detail you can put into this visualisation the more compelling it becomes and the more likely you are to achieve it.

By building this vision at the beginning it can mean that on those odd days when you can’t be bothered you can bring this vision to the fore and it will help you get out the door.

I have a philosophy that on any given day running can be 10% physical and 90% mental.  If you are going to spend time training your body to do what you want it to do, surely the same thinking goes for training your brain!

And that’s not just for running…..

If you want to read the whole book which includes a 12 week plan you can order through:-

Thursday, 12 July 2012

5 top tips for being mentally prepared when endurance cycling

Northampton Road Cycling Club have 6 members taking on the challenge of cycling from John O'Groats to Lands End over 9 days in August 2012 - here are 5 top tips I put together for them to prepare themselves mentally.

1. Before you start each day together or individually visualise the days cycling ahead - what will you
 - See
- Hear (both inside your head as well as externally i.e. what will you be saying to yourself)
- Feel (again both internally and externally)
and imagine how you will feel when you have accomplished that days cycling.

2. Acknowledge that there will be easy times and tough times.  Remember to enjoy the easy parts and knowing that there will be tough times means you can prepare mentally for them and they won't come as a big shock to the system!

3. Be careful of using the word don't.  i.e. 'don't stop' - our brain deletes the negative 'don't' and just understands the 'stopping' this is what it tells the body to do and you end up stopping!  Give yourself a positive mantra to repeat instead.

4. As cyclists you physically work as a team - make sure you also mentally work as a team.  Take it in turns to be navigator, cheerleader, the one who points out the amazing places you're cycling past!

5. Give yourself a pat on the back both mentally and physically at the end of each day - have a reward.

Most of all enjoy it!

If you want to find out more about their challenge then check out their website Northampton Road Cycling Club

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Leadership Lessons from another perspective...

On LinkedIn recently they have picked up a series of 5 Leadership Lessons from The Godfather, Star Trek and Hans Solo (my personal favourite but I was always more Star Wars than Star Trek!)

So I thought were else can we learn from, and while looking up for inspiration stumbled over the cat! So here are my 5 top Leadership Lessons from the Cat.

1 - Take the pill with the cheese

If you or your team have got something unpalatable you need to do then make sure you plan in a reward for once it's done

2 - Continually paw owner in face until they get up and feed you.

While I'm not advocating any sort of violence - persistence is key. If you believe in something then keep going, you only fail if you stop - Think Edison and 1000 ways not to invent the light bulb!

3 - Stare at owner until you have eye contact then immediately stare at bowl that requires fresh food (even if what's there has only been in the bowl for 10 mins...)

Communicate your message in a way that works for the person you are working with so that it makes sense to them.

4 - Stare randomly into space

Give yourself space to think - if you're stuck with a problem then let it go from your conscious mind and you'll be surprised how easily and quickly the answer you're looking for will come to you

5 - Press random combinations of keys while walking across the laptop

You'll be amazed at what short cuts there are to your programs and what different combinations can do - then finding out how they work is a great learning process and once done not forgotten - so what are your short cut keys?

Hope you enjoyed this bit of fun before Easter and have a great few days off.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Networking on the Move

It's always great when you have an idea and other people like it! And so it was with Networking on the Move. After a conversation at a Business Beacon networking meeting with Pam Woods we both decided that getting people together for a walk and gentle easy exercises (for those that wanted) is a great way to start the day and Energise peoples bodies, brains and business.

Our muscles need oxygen rich blood to really work properly and the brain is no different. Getting outside and moving means that everyone gets to talk and really start to get to know each other in a much more powerful way than just hearing a one minute pitch! It means we can understand each other and our businesses on a completely different level and therefore it's not about what we can sell to each other but how we can help promote and build relationships with each other - and people buy from people!

What is also important to me is that people also get to find out how to keep fit and healthy in an easy way, no need for lots of expensive equipment or gym fees and feel really invigorated for the day . Good health = Good Business - but that's a blog for another day!

And so the first Networking on the move was launched on 21st March at Bedford Priory Marina. We meet every third Wednesday of the month at 8.00am for the walk, exercises and business discussions which is then followed by some light refreshment in the Beefeater, finishing about 9.30am

Remember to book on by following the link

Graham Childs Michael Darvell, Pam Woods, John Guinn, Me

'Networking on the move is an excellent innovation. It was good to be out in the fresh air with plenty of opportunity to chat and gain useful pointers from Annie to stay fit in simple ways. The walk left me feeling energised for the day ahead but was by no means too strenuous - even for someone like me who doesn't go near the gym!'

Michael Darvell of Darvell Consultancy Ltd

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

What leap will you take this year?

Well February is nearly at an end and this year we have an extra day! So will you spend it doing all the things you normally do in a day or are you going to do something different with it, what leap will you take that may be fun, exciting, different even frivolous.

Traditionally this was the day that If you're female you get to do the asking for your partners hand in marriage. Although beware Bachelors as in those olden days a man was expected to pay a penalty such as a gown or money if he refused.

If you're born on 29th February do you pick the day before or day after to celebrate on those 3 years in between your birthday? Astrologers have said those born on this day have unusual talents and personalities reflecting their special status!

The reason we have a leap year is because we need to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth's revolutions around the sun. It takes the Earth 365.242199 (apparently that's approximate!) days to circle once around the sun, but our calendar has only 365 days in a year so we need to catch up with the extra quarter (approx.) each year

So back to my original question - What leap will you take this year? Is there something you've only given about a quarter of yourself to and you need to give it all of you. What have you been putting off as it feels a bit risky to do, it might be easy to do, but has been easy not to do. Take the leap, stop thinking about what part of it might not work or might go wrong and think about how much you can gain from giving all of your attention to it.

Not sure where to start then try one of these...

· Share your vision for your business with someone new

· Make different choices throughout the day have something different for breakfast, take a different route to work...

· Clear one hour to go for a walk and enjoy the space you get

Here's a few quotes you might like

'Leap and the net will appear' John Burroughs

'Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore' Andre Gide

'The two important things I did learn were that you are as powerful and strong as you allow yourself to be and the most difficult part of any endeavour is taking the first step making the first decision.' Robyn Davidson

'To be alive at all involves some risk' Harold Macmillan

'Go out on a limb. That's where the fruit is' Jimmy Carter

Friday, 27 January 2012

Having a Plan

It's that time of year when we all seem to start off with lots of New Year resolutions and come the end of the month some of the enthusiasm starts to dwindle and achieving our aims suddenly seems a long way off.

Well how about doing things a little differently this year.  Instead of worrying about lots of new resolutions how about remembering what you did really well last year and plan to continue doing more of it this year.  We often get caught up in having to do things differently and yet it's important to make sure we keep doing the things that have worked and will continue to work.

Why don't you take a moment to think about 3 things you did last year that really delivered results for you in your business.  Write them down, what were they, why did they work, how did you do them, what other situations could you use that type of thinking in?

When you know what has worked for you in the past and how you did it then you can start to think about what you want to achieve this year.  Starting from a positive place of already knowing you can deliver results.

Then you can start to think about want you want as your challenge for this year.  Have you made it a balanced challenge - is the outcome you want to achieve challenging enough to keep you interested and realistic enough to be achieved?

Along the way how will you know you are getting there, what are the smaller goals that will deliver the big one, if you know the small steps you can recognise them as you go and tick them off.  Then it's a case of thinking through what might get in the way of achieving your outcome, if you think about this now and how you will overcome some of the issues then when and if they do appear you can say to yourself - 'I thought that might happen and here's my plan to deal with it' thereby making what might have seemed an insurmountable wall, just a brick to step over as you continue on your path

So plan your year and outcomes remembering to keep what you have learned with you, live in the present and plan for your future.  I'll leave you with some quotes

He who fails to plan, plans to fail - Proverb

Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now - Alan Lakein

Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning - Thomas Edison

To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe - Anatole France

Good plans shape good decisions.  That's why good planning helps to make elusive dreams come true. - Anon