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mindset motivation

What is an elite sports mind?

This is my opinion drawn fromy years experience of playing, coaching and helping athletes and there are some commonalities and obvious things like working smart, earing the right food, training with purpose

But an elite sports mind doesn’t have to belong to an athlete that’s an elite performer

Of course the elite level is the best of the best but you don’t suddenly become the best

There are steps you need to take and you have to start somewhere

So where do you start? What do you have to know to help you create that Elite Sports mind?

There are many variables and factors that drive someone towards or away from building this mindset so let me share with you the three key variables that I believe helps anyone create that Elite Sports mind

  • Have a need or desire to improve
  • Have an open mind to learning new strategy and perspectives
  • Have the ability to put your new learnings into action

Growth occurs when you’re ready to grow

Growth occurs when you’re ready to challenge your current beliefs and values

Growth occurs when you come out of your comfort zone by thinking and acting differently

Have you got an elite sports mind?

Categories
Leadership overcoming challenges

Can introverts in sports be great leaders?

Look around at any sport team and you’ll notice a player that stands out

There will be a player that is leading

And although not each leader has the same personality, they have something in common that makes them great leadership material

There are three qualities great leaders posses and I want to share those with you now

  • A drive to improve
  • A desire to make their team mates better
  • An ability to step up when it matters
  • An ability to communicate effectively
  • A high level of awareness

Leading is a role not suited to everyone, and some even go as far as to avoid stepping into the leadership spotlight but those that embrace the role do so with the purpose to be responsible for when things go wrong and to share the wealth when things go right

I used to be really shy and the thought of leading sent shivers down my spine. There were others that were louder than I, some better skilled than I and some that were more suited than I, but in those days, I did a couple of things really well…listen and observe.

Perhaps my introverted self allowed me to become a master of listening and observing, just as the stereotypical introvert would, but that ‘training’ served me well because at some point I would step into that leadership role.

I was self critical because I believed, through observation and listening, to be a great leader you had to be the best, you had to be loud and you had to give orders and there was something that didn’t sit right with me, so as the reluctant leader, I forged a way forward in my own way.

Listening and observing came naturally to me so all I had to figure out was how to transfer those skills into leadership skills.

So I asked questions. I asked players what they thought needed to change and what was working well. I’d read books on leadership and the mind and taken some courses and when I learned introverts can be leaders and leadership qualities do include listening and observing, I felt a sense of comfort.

The true secret to leading is to understand each individual on your team and learn what makes them tick and what motivates them to succeed and that involves asking questions and listening, then simply helping them understand what they need to do differently for them to thrive

I don’t believe you have to shout and criticise to get results

I don’t believe belittling someone is a way of motivation

I don’t believe the leader should take credit for all great results

Leading in sports is fun yet challenging and is a role that can be filled by an introvert that listens and observes so if you are the kind of person that likes the idea of leading but doesn’t have the confidence because you’re not loud or the best, think again!

You may just be the leader your team needs!

Do you know someone who wants to be a great leader?

Are you someone who wants to learn how to lead?

I’ve recently launched a new website called Purposeful Thinking which can be found by clicking here and If you want to chat about leadership, book a call

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Uncategorized

The value of accountability

Over the last few weeks I’ve been spending time coaching a client, researching to develop an app and launching a new campaign around mental health.

I’ve been busy!

But my busyness has been on my terms, they are things I felt compelled to do and I enjoyed doing them

My client told me he’s finally found a sense of freedom

I’m in conversations with two organisations about my app development and learned so much terminology including PWA’s (Progressive Web Apps) that I’ve been told are coming more to the forefront

My new campaign around mental health can be found on Instagram Bouncebacktoyou. I’m a basketball dude and have had some friends do a short video and I’ve posted some carousel photos

Making a positive difference is important to me and I hope you, as the reader is gaining some insights to the content I put out there and would love your feedback and comments.

Check out my Instagram page and if you’d like to contribute a video and help raise awareness let me know and let’s do it!

Categories
#mental health Inner Voice mindset overcoming challenges

Pro athlete improves wellbeing by 100%

What was it that led to you connecting with Mike? 

I’ve known Mike over the years as someone who has always tried to help when he can, I believe that I needed his advice and knowledge to push me in the right direction at a point in my life when I was ready to make a change for the better. 

Had you tried using other methods to help you in the past and what were they? 
I’ve tried sports psychologists, I’ve read over 15 self improvement books, I’m constantly trying to understand my mind and the minds of those who are successful, but the biggest lesson I’ve learnt from working with Mike is that my biggest asset is myself and I can tap into that without any special tactics or interventions when I let go of the habits and social constructs I’ve alienged my self with. 


What reservations, if any did you have around the coaching? Be honest. 
I don’t have any reservations really, I believe he does a great job of communicating bit also at balancing listening with talking to me. Sometimes I just need an ear to speak to and vent my thoughts out loud. 

What 3 factors about the coaching delivery style stood out for you
1) The simplistic nature of the conversation, not using fancy words or over complicated explanations. 
2) His calm nature when speaking made me feel at ease even when before the call I was quite stressed. 
3) His availability, it’s something that goes under appreciated but with my ever changing schedule around training Vs personal life it was great to be able to be so flexible with timings. 

The coaching is aimed at improving performance and wellbeing.  How did the coaching affect your performance and wellbeing? 
My performance was always something that I judged by stats, now I judged it by my mental state. If I’m in a good mental state it doesn’t matter how i play because my experience will be what I want it to be regardless of the stats. My well being is 100% better because each day I’m just being myself and there’s no bugger comfort in a world filled with false high expectations and fakery. 


If you were to recommend Mike to other professional athletes, what would you tell them to expect?
To find their true self by removing the unnecessary baggage the world around them has added to their backs.

Do you know a professional athlete who would benefit from this coaching?

Drop Mike a message and start a conversation

Categories
#mental health Leadership mindset overcoming challenges

The Secret To Getting The Best Out Of A Player

There’s a secret that few organisations understand, because either their focus is on other things they feel demand more attention or they have yet to understand the value and power of this secret.

I’ve been using this secret for over ten years with outstanding results yet when I presented the idea to other organisations, they either ignored them, believed things should be done as they have always been done or had their eyes on other methods to get the best out of a player.

Let me share the secret with you because whether you believe it or not, or whether you have other methods to help a player, at least I have done my bit in passing it on.  With the idea simply sitting in my head, who benefits from that?

There’s a powerful lesson I learned many years ago which forms a huge part of this secret and it’s at this point I have to tell you, you won’t suddenly start winning once you know this secret, but the player will learn to be the best they can be and it’s also important to know, and I’m sure you do, there are various levels of ability and no two players are the same, yet this secret allows any player of any ability to be the best they can be.

Many organisations get the formula wrong.  They go for the best players, and when they struggle, they simply replace them.  I understand why organisations do this, but there is so much more to winning than getting the best players together and crossing your fingers.  Even when you have the best players together, you’re not guaranteed to win but start to use this secret and you’ll feel and see the results.

Our performance is driven by our emotions.  Our emotions are driven by our thoughts, therefore our thoughts drive our performance.

No that wasn’t the secret, but it is an inight. The insight isn’t to simply know this, but to learn the details that exist in the thoughts, break them down, and remove any challenge or internal barrier that stops the player from being their best.

I’m trained in identifying these details and breaking them down and recognising the real challenge and barriers that exist.  I’m also trained in breaking down those barriers and challenges, and creating new ways of thinking with purpose for improved results.

As a leader in an esports organisation, perhaps you’re a former player that naturally progressed into a leadership role, do you believe you know what it takes to get the best out of a player based on what you’ve read?

It’s OK if you don’t.  You’ve spent your life gaming without really thinking about why you think and do what you do.  There is no shame in not knowing how to get the best out of a player but there is shame in not doing anything about it.  There is shame in not consulting or taking advice from someone who knows.  Your players and yourself deserve to know how to be your best because when you’re not at your best, all those around you will suffer.

The secret to getting the best out of a person isn’t to force them to try harder, train more hours, push them to their limits.  The secret is to actively listen and teach them how to think with purpose.

Thanks for listening and remember to Take action, Reflect, Adjust and repeat 

Play with purpose

Categories
#mental health Become who you want to be esports mindset motivation overcoming challenges

Your past does not define whom you can become!

Who you are today is a culmination of experiences and perspectives and most of the time, how you are is OK.  You do OK.  But when it comes to professional sports, being OK isn’t good enough.  You have to be excellent or at least be striving for excellence but reaching that level takes determination, guts and smart work, but what happens to your focus when something negative happens in your life.  Perhaps a death, an injury, a fall out with a family member or even succumbing to pressure and stress.

Many athletes over the years have spoken about their struggles, Frank Bruno, Kevin Love, Michael Phelps, just to name 3 but a quick google search will bring you up a list even longer with no surprise.

So what can you do?  What can you do to move away from the struggles quickly and get yourself back on track.

Let me share this story with you

For many many years, a man had taken the same path to work.  He saw the same people, saw the same shops and felt the same way.  He was familiar with this routine and familiarity gave him a sense of comfort and this comfort gave him happiness.  He had no reason to change his route, he had no reason to walk faster, yet one day something changed but he didn’t know what.  His thoughts began to niggle at him.

This niggle grew into an itch and after several days, his happiness has turned into anxiety.  Instead of smiling at the people he walked past, he was on edge and avoided eye contact and had thoughts of changing something but he didn’t know what or how.  He was so familiar with his journey that thinking about changing it, only brought on a fear, so he tolerated and tolerated until one day he decided not to get up.

Sometimes when we feel the need for change, we fear what might happen if we did change, and the sense of familiarity pulls us back from growing and we continue to tolerate, even when you know something needs to change.

But these past events do not define who we can become.  Past events do not have to hold you down and stop you from achieving by doing and thinking differently.

You always have a choice to move away from negativity and choose to walk a new path and doing it is as simple as changing the direction in which you walk, who you talk with and recognising when you want change.  You have to hold yourself accountable.  You have to make new decisions because it’s very unlikely someone else will recongnise you want to change and help you.

So if you feel something needs to change, create that change for yourself!

Thanks for reading and remember to Take action, Reflect, Adjust and repeat 

Play with purpose

Categories
#mental health Become who you want to be Inner Voice Leadership motivation overcoming challenges

Is It Time To Introduce Emotional Intelligence Into Sports Coaching?

The effects of bullying can linger for a long time, depending on the strength of the emotion attached to the words or behaviours associated with the bullying and even through elite athletes can be perceived to be resilient, they are also human and experience emotions just as regular people do, yet the impact can be felt on a much deeper level due to the situation of being a professional athlete.

There are some perceptions that believe the elite athlete must be able to overcome bullying behaviours, and ‘man up’ because to be the best you must demonstrate a hard shell and an almost invincible like exterior, and not to show weakness.  Isn’t that right?

Of course it isn’t!

Maybe the bullies don’t know they are demonstrating bullying behaviours or maybe they are trying to instil resilience in their teammates.  Who knows, but one thing is for sure, there should be no place in professional sports for bullying and if a bullying culture does exist, maybe it’s time to create change?

How do you create change?

Firstly when someone is feeling bullied, it’s imperative they have an outlet to air their thoughts but who do they turn to?

They can’t turn to their manager, because as one former premier league footballer told me, it was the manager that was the bully!  This player, who will remain unnamed, told me the coach used the phrase ‘grow some balls!’  This incident happened a good few years ago and I’d like to think in the time between then and now, there’s been some new coaching techniques being taught to up and coming managers that focus on learning about emotional intelligence and how to recognise when to use it.  But what is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict. Emotional intelligence helps you build stronger relationships, succeed in sports, and achieve your career and personal goals. It can also help you to connect with your feelings, turn intention into action, and make informed decisions about what matters most to you.

The aim of professional sports, to me, is simple – from the athlete perspective, be the best you can be, or from a coach/manager perspective, create an environment in which you and your team can be the best they can be.

By learning about emotional intelligence, being the best you can be, will come a lot faster and easier than compared with someone who uses their raw personality and technical ability to coach or play yet this important factor of coaching and playing is rarely touched upon in coaching programmes.

I understand there’s a gap in the coaching market which is why I offer confidential, discreet coaching for those professional athletes wanting to be their best but are unable to open up to anyone else.

I understand elite athletes are human and experience feelings and emotions but there is often a conflict between the emotions and what’s expected of them, which can leave some athletes confused and anxious and unable to shake the fear.

I make my services available to athletes so they can thrive.

You deserve to thrive!

Thanks for reading and remember to Take action, Reflect, Adjust and repeat 

Play with purpose

Categories
esports Leadership motivation

The Real Impact Of Not Listening

You’re in a room full of people all wearing hats. You look around and listen to the conversations and notice 5 people have green hats on, 5 people have blue hats on and 2 have red hats on. How many people are in the room?

While you’re working that out let me remind you you’re also listening to the conversations in the room with great interest. 

Listening is a skill that few have mastered but many lack the understanding or purpose of listening so let me suggest why listening is a skill you need to master and you’ll be surprised at how easy it can be. 

Let’s imagine for a moment you’ve got something you just have to share with someone. Something inside your head is urging you to share this emotionally charged news so you call your friend and begin to talk enthusiastically, sharing as much as you can. 

When you’ve exhaled all the news you stop and wait for a response, hoping for some kind of recognition or acceptance. 

In sports it’s very common for coaches or managers to talk at the players and expect them to carry out those instructions.  The coach talks, the player listens. 

Yet some of the better coaches approach communication from a different perspective often giving the players the opportunity to talk, and for the coach to listen. Why is this a good strategy?  

When a coach is only giving instructions they are missing part of the bigger picture.  Through listening to the players, the missing piece is found and solutions to improving performance can be found quickly.

And by the way, the answer to the question of how many people are in the room is 13.  5 plus 5 plus 2 plus 1 (you) 

Thanks for listening and remember to Take action, Reflect, Adjust and repeat 

Play with purpose

Categories
#mental health mindset overcoming challenges Tips

Are you setting unrealistic expectations?

An expectation is something you expect to achieve, a goal or something to aspire to which in the competitive world of sports, plays a huge part in performance yet in my experience of working with players at high levels there is a common denominator that limits the growth and potential of players.

Unrealistic expectations set by others.

When someone else sets your expectations or the player hears the expectations from others so often they begin to believe them, the only outcome can be failure and it was this situation I found myself hearing from a current client.

This player had played at the highest level, representing his country yet inside he felt he was failing because he wasn’t able to live up to the expectation of others.

The unrealistic expectations he’s heard forever, left him questioning his ability and performance at the end of each game and this had gone on for many years.

He sees himself as a failure in some ways even though he’s doing well in some areas.

We talked and we were able to reframe his thinking and his understanding of expectations and the value of setting his own expectations because when you set your own expectations and achieve them, there is a greater sense of accomplishment and success than when others set you unrealistic expectations.

This reframing of his mindset frees him from the sense of failure of not living up the the unrealistic expectations which does two things:

Allows him to play more freely and with purpose

Heightens his well being

Many players are suffering due to unrealistic expectations placed on them, yet they tolerate them because they think being a professional sports player involves tolerating the hard times because that’s what it takes to win.

Bullshit!

Coaches get it wrong when they set players unrealistic expectations, because they are simply setting them up to fail which can lead to some players dropping out of the game, losing motivation and in some instances worse, and who wins in these situations.

If you’re a coach, I urge you to talk to your players about expectations and the value in allowing them to set their own.

If you’re a player then I urge you to learn to set your own expectations and shut out the noise that others place on you.

Thanks for reading and remember to Take action, Reflect, Adjust and repeat 

Play with purpose

Categories
Become who you want to be esports Inner Voice mindset overcoming challenges

Purposeful Thinking

When things go wrong you hear things like, time is a great healer, it will work itself out or you’ll get through it and although there is a tiny bit of truth in these words, they land more on hope rather than a determination to create change.  I’ve never understood why you would want to place your hope into things changing because hope relies on external factors falling into place to create change.  Its almost like you’re placing your fate in the hands of an unknown entity and crossing your fingers for the best. 

To create real change for you, you have to take control and learn how to think with purpose. You wouldn’t see a fire in your garden and hope it would go out.  You would take action.  You wouldn’t look at your fuel gauge in your car and hope it would fill itself up.  You would take action.  You wouldn’t break your ankle and hope it would heal. You’d take action. So why would you hope things get better for you without taking action?

Purposeful action is you taking action to create change for yourself. To improve. 

Your inner voice drives your performance and knowing what to say and when will give you leverage like you wouldn’t believe. 

Many people fail to recognise their inner strength, almost like they are ashamed of what they could accomplish if they only thought differently.  Connecting with your inner strength relies on looking inwards and judging yourself in a positive manner and for some, the act of placing positivity onto themselves can feel awkward or egotistical, but these people are wrong. 

Accepting your inner strength takes courage and an acceptance and acknowledgement that the person inside deserves to be heard to help you become the best you can be. 

You owe it to yourself to learn how to think with purpose to achieve the results you truly desire.

Thanks for reading and remember to Take action, Reflect, Adjust and repeat 

Play with purpose