My Journey

The Journey To Become The Most Sought After Sports Mental Performance Specialist Part 7

The red beads of a glass timer fall from one sphere to the next

“No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away.”

Terry Pratchett

The death of a player

The basketball community is a tight knit one and in 2017, one coach I knew, hinted at the suicide of a junior player.

The death of anyone is a sombre experience but when someone takes their own life, I feel the pain of those connect with that person. I have no idea where this emotion came from because I don’t know anyone that committed suicide so perhaps I see it as a waste of a life when I have learned there are always other choices.

But I have to remind myself, the person that died, in that moment only knew of one choice. They couldn’t see any other way to deal with the situation they found themselves.

I do know people that have been taken to the edge and looked at the chasm beneath but decided to give life another go.

I believe it takes more strength to walk away from the act than to actually follow through with it but what message does that say to the loved ones left behind? I don’t have personal experience about the topic so you may ask how I can have such a strong view and you’d be right to ask.

What I’ve learned is each person lives their own unique life and very rarely will even the closest person, know what’s going on in their mind, which leads me to promote the importance and value of understanding one’s mind, so you can build resilience and strength so when challenges present themselves, you know how to think differently so you can act differently.

The teachings of the mind is something that needs to be taught in school because stress and anxiety in teenagers is rising for various reasons that I won’t go into here but suffice to say, I’ve listened to professionals in education and as someone working with disadvantaged youths, I hear a lot about anxiety.

In February 2019 The rate for suicides between children and young people between 15-19 is now three per 100,000 in England, whereas ten years ago it was one per 100,000. Click here for more information

I know an NLP Master Practitioner up in Scotland that delivers sessions to secondary school pupils and it’s my personal opinion, he should be asked to do a lot more to promote NLP in schools because learning the stools and strategies helps young people understand, their thoughts in a positive way.

With the death of the player, I chose to create a CIC or Community Interest Company and offer clubs the opportunity to get the tools to help coaches empower and raise the confidence in their players/humans so the rate of suicides in basketball teams doesn’t increase but self-worth does increase.

I delivered a pilot scheme with one of the local junior teams, but with little interest in continuing the program and a change in coaching personnel it faded. Disappointed I put it to one side. I had yet to master the skills needed to market and promote services in the way to attract the right attention. I allowed myself to become distracted which led to me shifting my focus to football.

I began to reach out to people in football to find out more about mental health and build some connections, speaking with former professional players, coaches and managers. One former player from Manchester United, agreed with what I was trying to do with the CIC and my other work, as did other former players and some of the stories I heard about the treatment of players left me flabbergasted! I was learning more about the professional football game from those who had experienced it first hand.

The program doesn’t just help raise the issue of mental health, but it creates a safe environment that players are encouraged to share their ideas, concerns and examples of what they can do differently with purpose and without being judged, around any topic from mental health to training to meals.

It uses a model called The Inner Circle model, derived from principles from Harvard Business School, NLP and emotional intelligence and if you know any coach wanting to improve the performance and culture of their team, they need to sign up and access the resources.

The program is player centric and right now any coach can find out more here

It’s at this point I need to recap my work all of which I’ve delivered for no personal monetary gain:-

  • NLP Practitioner acquired
  • Helped a pro basketball player improve quickly
  • Designed and delivered a research program based on an Emotional Intelligence program, Evaluating Truth and Credibility.
  • Successfully helped a former GB basketball player understand the concepts and improve
  • Helped a football (soccer) player in New York improve so much she won an MVP and began teaching her academy kids the principles
  • Worked and achieved a degree in Sports Development
  • Founded a CIC called Youth Sport Solutions (I really need to do something with this and if you are involved in a sports academy or a youth team please get in touch)

Around December 2018, I was contemplating bringing a National league basketball mens team back to Bury. The thought was sparked from a conversation I had with a friend about his idea that didn’t materialise, so I had to make a choice. Do it or don’t do it.

I chose to do it and after finding two other people who wanted to help, the three of us became volunteer directors of a National League basketball team. We won the league in our first year, attracted high calibre players through my strategy.

We were on target to win the league (mathematically, no-one could catch us) and then Covid-19 decided to show it’s face.

In November 2019 I scratched an itch I should have scratched back in 2011 after my NLP Practitioner course, and embarked on my NLP Master Practitioner course, partly to prove to myself I could still study and learn and also to give myself more credibility as I felt I was gaining some momentum in football.

I joined a community that gave me hope, that allowed me to connect with like-minded people and instil hope in others.

In my quest to become the leading Sports Mental Performance Specialist, I had the experience and confidence, I just needed one break…

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