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#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

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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

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Inner Voice mindset overcoming challenges

What do you say to yourself under pressure?

What you say to yourself matters.  Henry Ford said:

whether you think you can or whether you think you cannot, you’re right. 

In sports there are 3 defining challenging moments you’ll experience – pressure losing and mistakes. It’s inevitable.  You’re not going to win every competition so knowing what to do in these 3 key moments will either propel you forward or drag you back. 

In this blog let’s consider handling pressure. 

Your mind drives your performance and actions. Imagine a finely tuned car, a super car ready to race and show the world what it’s capable of.  It’s shiny exterior and powerful engine is ready for action. 

But it needs a driver. It needs someone that understands the car like the back of their hand, someone whos in synch with the electronics and workings. 

But the driver is nervous. 

He’s cracked under pressure before and now with this brilliant car he feels even more pressure.  There’s expectations from the team owner, his coach, the sponsors for him to win.  

But he wants to give it a go. He says to himself this time will be different.  This time he will win. 

When we experience pressure one of two things will happen. 

You either feel stress and anxiety or you thrive 

Some people love pressure. They step up and take responsibility for what’s about to happen and can deal with the success or failure that follows. 

Some shy away from pressure leaving the decisions to others. 

When I was 15 a long time ago our school basketball team had come from 19 points down to tie the game in the national school final with just a few seconds remaining. 

I drove to the basket, jumped and was fouled and hit the floor. 2 free throws to come but as I went to get up off the floor, I couldn’t!  My legs were tight and I had no idea what was going on! 

Turns out I had cramp. I’d never had cramp before so I was panicked but after my assistant coach helped me I stood up and composed myself. If I missed it would leave the door open for the opponents. If I made them, we’d have the advantage. I went to the free throw line and nailed both go give us a 2 point lead which helped us win the game. 

This was my first experience with pressure and I was balanced calm and focused and carried that perspective forward ever since. 

Pressure is a perspective of your situation and those that thrive welcome those moments.

How do you perceive pressure? 

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esports Inner Voice mindset motivation

Creating your ideal vision

YOUR IDEAL VISION 

Looking to the future gives us something to focus on and work towards.

Imagine a ship with no destination, the crew and captain may be completing tasks and surviving but to what end, for what purpose are they simply sailing around with no destination?

Do you remember learning to fasten your shoe laces?  Probably not, as it’s a skill learned when you were around the ages of 6 or 7 and now you complete that skill without thinking twice, but there was a time when you found the motivation to learn that skill.

But for what purpose? 

Although you can understand the point of learning to fasten your shoe laces, ask yourself this question – For what purpose do I want to improve?

Your answer may surprise you or a least spark some interesting internal dialogue around why you do what you do.

We all have our motivation for wanting to improve and when you really connect with your purpose, you will jump into improving with an almighty splash and begin to feel and see results quickly, but if you’re unsure as to why you want to improve, improving won’t come easily to you.

In The recent docuseries the Last Dance about the Chicago Bulls, NBA team of the 90’s, Michael Jordan, arguably the best player that ever lived, told a story about how a young player had got the better of him in a game, scoring 37 points.  It was said that after the game the player, LeBradford Smith uttered something to Jordan like “good game’, Jordan took this small comment as fuel to motivate him for the next game and said he would score his opponents full game total of 37 by half time next time they met.  Jordan went to score 36 and proved a point.

But here’s where his motivation goes to another level.  The comment Smith made, was never made!  Jordan allegedly made up the story, meaning it wasn’t the verbal comment made by Smith that lit his fire, which in itself would be a good mindset, but it was simply his inner voice, creating a scenario that fuelled the fire.

Can you imagine!  The desire to win and improve so badly was simply created by imagining another player said something disrespectful to him!  Now that’s on another level but it is possible to create motivation from anything and it doesn’t have to come from an external source.

In this instance, Jordan’s vision was to beat the same team that beat them the night before and get revenge on a young player.

He simply needed to tell himself the right words.

When creating your ideal vision, think short term, as in next few days, medium term, next few weeks and long terms, next few months/years and keep it realistic.

You can’t tell yourself you’ll be the best in the world if your diet is poor, you are constantly tired and you aren’t even close to being great.

But it’s important to get into good habits so you can achieve your short term, medium term and long term vision.

It’s habits that will help drive you forward.

So now, with that new perspective, ask yourself, for what purpose do I want to improve?

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esports Inner Voice Tips

Why is that giraffe in the picture?

Knowing your creativity

Photo by David Cassolato on Pexels.com

Improving performance and wellbeing has to be led by you. You have to take the right action and be accountable for your actions as you reflect and adjust and in this blog, I want to share the most powerful aspect of improving performance and wellbeing – your thoughts because it’s your thoughts that drive you to take action/your performance/behaviour

Be aware of your surroundings

Photo by EVG Culture on Pexels.com

Let me take you through a quick fun exercise that helps you understand your thoughts

Take a few seconds to take action on each suggestion:

Look around – what do you see

Listen to the sounds around you what do you hear

Notice your body position and notice the what you’re leaning on, standing on or sitting on

Place your attention to what you can taste

Move your attention to what you can smell

Our five senses help us interpret the world around us but it’s important to understand we can’t process all five at once…Try it.

We are bombarded by about 11 bits of information per second yet we can only process about 50 bits. Think about that for a moment.  That’s a lot of information we are missing or choosing to ignore.

Why do we ignore bits of information?  Because our minds don’t think they have any purpose at that specific moment in time and it’s the exact reason why you haven’t paid attention to your big toe until now.  Spending time thinking about it serves no purpose.

You’ve been successful at connecting with your external methods of communication using your 5 senses so let’s consider your internal communication system

Your internal communication

Again, take a few seconds to take action on each suggestion

Close your eyes and think about your favourite place, a holiday, a sporting event or with friends or family. It’s entirely up to you

What images do you see?

Staying with your favourite place, what sounds can you hear?

Staying in that place, What do you feel?  Warmth, cold, Comfort?

Is there a taste that connects you to that place

Is there a smell that connects you to that place?

Your external and communication systems will form the foundation for your future learning and will help you understand why you think what you think and why you do what you do, which when it comes to improving performance and wellbeing are very relevant

Now imagine a giraffe in your favourite place! Simply pop it in there.

Did you notice the change in your facial expressions, your emotions and your ability to create thoughts?

Change your thought – change your outcome

Photo by Jonas Svidras on Pexels.com

Now you understand your thoughts on a deeper level and how you can change your thoughts, knowing how to improve your performance and wellbeing should become clearer. All you do is change your thoughts. It takes time to learn and just like training physical muscles, it takes time to adjust but with practice, you will find ways to improve quickly

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esports Inner Voice

It’s Christmas

Enjoy

Today is Christmas day and although it’s strange times, know you can appreciate the people around you and the fact you’re alive and gaming has provided you with some ups and down, successes and losses and connected you with people around the world and that in itself is pretty amazing!

What will 2021 bring? Only you know that and allow me to leave you with one little nugget of brilliance

Your thoughts drive you to wherever you focus them as long as those thoughts are realistic.

Your thoughts drive you to behave certain ways but there is a time and place to be conscious of this recipe and today you can give yourself permission to enjoy your family, the food, the company and connect with the people around you

Merry Christmas!

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Inner Voice

Athletes – Stop worrying! Be awesome!

The thoughts from an athlete impact on their behaviour and approach to training and games and in team games, how they mould and fit into the concept of ‘team’

I’m fascinated by the way players don’t work as smart as their potential could allow, meaning they perform at a mediocre level at best.

They find a comfort in knowing they don’t have to excel to perform but in the same breathe they know they aren’t the worse on the team so mediocrity is a safe place to be.

I challenge this way of thinking.

If you settle for mediocrity, you’re being judged as such and team mates won’t have a reason to push themselves and when it comes to improving as a team, you need to be pushed to take your team to the next level.

If you’re not going to push yourself you may as well just sit your ass down

These behaviours start with self talk or the inner voice telling the mind to stay safe.

OK, perhaps some athletes like being safe and receiving a salary and staying out of the limelight, but cmon, it gets boring of you’re not challenging yourself or your teamates to improve!

Self talk is an art, internally say the right things in the right tone and good things will happen for you but few athletes understand the power of developing their mind.

They develop them physical and technical abilities over years without knowing their mental strength can grow really quickly in comparison.

I’ve given some tips as to how to approach self talk for athletes.

Please comment, share subscribe and help me reach more athletes that need a little support in improving.

Stay safe click here for the link

Mike