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Top 7 tips to improve sports performance

Being an athlete requires some level of dedication but dedication doesn’t necessarily equate to improving.

I see many athletes, going through the motions and ‘competing’ yet they don’t improve and I always ask the question why do they play, and over the years there’s some commonalities I’ve learned that stop a person from improving.

Here are my top 7 tips to improving your sports performance

  1. Have a need or desire to improve – I’ve learned some athletes are content being where they are and their current performance level and that’s fine. Each to their own so to speak but these people don’t have a need or desire to improve. They have a desire or need to stay the same and until that desire or need to improve, becomes greater than the desire or need to improve, good luck to them!
  2. Have an open mind to learning new concepts and perspectives – If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got, said Henry Ford, the automotive tycoon. When you go through the same training routines at the same level of effort, having the same attitude towards training and playing, you will always get the same outcomes. Improving involves pushing yourself to come out of your comfort boundaries which means learning how to think and act differently.
  3. Take action – It’s one thing to learn new concepts and strategy and a whole new ball game when you actually take action. I see some athletes learning new strategy then when the moment comes, they fail to take action. There are a few reasons why this happens
  4. Perspective; don’t fear the change, embrace the opportunity – When you learn a new concept or perspective, one reason that stops a person from taking action is fear. Some people don’t like change because it takes them away from what they know and what’s comfortable, yet no-one ever improved by staying comfortable in their own bubble. Change should be seen as an opportunity and with this opportunity comes excitement
  5. Know the power of self-talk – As we just realised, the perspective of approaching a new situation can elicit fear or excitement which ties in with the power of self-talk. What you say begins a series of thought processes and your synapses begin to fire which release emotions. When you talk about fear and negativity, your body and mind will begin to act in a way to protect itself, to keep it safe, but when you talk about opportunity and excitement, your mind and body will begin to act in a way that helps you grow and improve. But beware, if improving your self-talk is new to you, your old thinking habits may try to hijack you and drag you backwards. Stay strong and practice positive self-talk
  6. Know your coach probably doesn’t have the solutions to your need to improve – This harsh reality is common for many competitors and although there are some coaches that understand what it takes to improve, many are too focused on strategy, techniques and plays, leaving players frustrated. As a player you have a right to understand what the coach wants from you and it’s reasonable to ask your coach questions. Some coaches believe they are the be all and end all of communication, placing themselves onto a pedestal, creating an environment where the coach tells the player what to do and the player complies with their instructions. This style of coaching is becoming obsolete as a new breed of coach understands the value of listening to players and understanding their perspective. The question you can ask any coach to help you improve is “what can I do to help the team?” The answer will prompt a new thought from the coach and the answer he gives you will give you clarity on your next moves
  7. Don’t follow the crowd for the sake of it – To improve means doing things differently and if that means doing things that the crowd don’t do, then go and do it. As a younger basketball player I took on many of the tips I’m sharing with you now and at only 5′ 7″ in a game full of much taller, stronger players, I had to do things differently but it was this different approach that led me to be voted the MVP of the England U19 basketball team at a tournament in Etten Leur, Holland. Learn to be bold and set your own standards

BONUS

As you learn and grow, you will make mistakes but know a mistake is just an act that didn’t give you the expected outcome at that moment in time. Go again and make the necessary adjustments.

Are you ready to improve but want some support?

Here at Elite Sports Minds 23 we have created the NEAT System – a proven system that gets results. To find out more click here

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The Recipe For Success – Revealed!

Here at Elite Sports Minds 23 we have deliberately and purposefully created a model that any aspiring athlete can implement right now to give them the best chance for success.

The key to succeeding involves many factors and principles and you should take note that it’s your thoughts that drive you forward.

There is a recipe for success, just as there’s a recipe for baking a cake.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The principles are similar in the sense you have a list of ingredients and a method to follow and when you use the correct ingredients in the right amounts and follow the method, you’ll end up with a great cake.

Here are list of ingredients that help you move towards success…

  • Have a desire or need to want to improve
  • Have an open mind to learning new concepts and perspectives
  • Have an ability to take action

These are the base ingredients you need to have before you are ready to start to use the other ingredients because without a solid base or foundation, everything else you do will come crashing down.

So before you move on, can you honestly say you agree and are able to build the base ingredients into your life?

The next 7 ingredients are the ones that add flavour and substance to your career.

Let’s explore each one to help you understand how to use each ingredient

Reality

Your reality is where you exist. Your reality is your perception of where and who you are. Those that are failing often live in the past or think too far ahead meaning they are stuck on past glories or perceive them to be better than they actually are.

When you accept your reality, you accept your faults, your strengths, your weaknesses but most of all, you accept where you are with confidence knowing you can now make truthful moves forward

Vision

When you create your vision, you give yourself clarity and a realistic goal to strive towards. The goal has to be consistent without wavering but knowing when you reach that goal, you can choose to create a new vision or goal and continue to move forward.

Communication

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

This is a biggy! This is the ingredient you need to master because communication is how we are judged.

We demonstrate internal and external communication, verbal and non-verbal and it’s how we communicate that determines our outcomes.

One aspect of communication that many people overlook is the power of a simple word or gesture at the right time. Sometimes the most powerful and influential communication techniques involve saying nothing.

Expectations

There are two perspectives when it comes to expectations – your expectations and the expectations others put on you. When it comes to success you must set your expectations in a way that motivates you, rather than limit your potential and the expectations others put on you must be considered by you and you have a choice whether to take on that expectation by understanding your strengths and ability to adapt.

Unrealistic expectations put on self or by others can be found in another recipe called “The recipe For Failure”

Values

When you live a life that are in line with your values, life can feel great but when you live a life outside your values, life can suck!

For example, my three values are accountability, balance and calm, meaning when I’m accountable, balanced and calm, I’m enjoying life but when i’m unable to be accountable, imbalanced and anxious, life for me becomes a struggle.

To figure out what your key three values are, create a list of ten then whittle them down to three and feel the difference when you get clarity.

When you hear the expression, be true to yourself, it’s your values you need to connect with that allow you to be true to yourself.

Beliefs

As you navigate life, you begin to form beliefs about how the world works and how you fit in and communicate with the world and people around you.

When it comes to sports, it’s usually your coaches and team mates that mould your beliefs.

But there’s something you need to know.

A belief is formed from a situation that happened some time ago. To work towards your success, you must challenge your beliefs to see if they’re still relevant to your new situations.

If you feel there’s something holding you back, it’s usually because you have a limiting or mistaken belief that’s influencing your behaviours.

Is it right to hold onto a belief you formed years ago, even if your new situation demands a new belief?

Relationships

Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

We are social creatures by nature and forming relationships is part of our DNA and help us integrate into communities.

But successful relationships need work and communication forms a big part of whether relationships fail or succeed.

Imagine you’re not playing and not enjoying your sport. You feel confused and unsure and this leaves you wanting something to change but you don’t know how, but at the same time the other person, the manager, has no idea how you’re feeling or what you’re thinking.

They get a feeling there’s something not quite right because your performance has dipped but rather than approach the issue, both of you accept this is how the relationship is. You both accept your position in the relationship and do nothing to improve it.

To succeed, relationships have to have a certain level of honesty, integrity and respect built on a common goal or vision.

What You Can Do Right Now

If there is a sense of something not being right or there seems to be a struggle for you, I’d suggest you consider each one of these ingredients and figure out which part of your life needs attention.

If you’re succeeding, you’ll know there is an alignment with all the ingredients and you’ll be enjoying your sporting career and life.

If you want to know more about this recipe or how you can build the recipe into your club or team, get in touch and let’s communicate.

Live With Purpose

Mike

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Professional footballers, don’t suffer, learn to thrive!

Making change when things aren’t working out sounds simple right?

But when you find yourself in a dark place or a place of confusion and doubt, making change should be the first thing you do.

Yet many people struggle to make that change, even when the situation demands it to happen.

This exact moment is where mental health issues are born.

They are born then reside in this place of uncertainty, and begin to grow when procrastination and an inability to make a new choice, fail to materialise.

People think they can handle it or think things will work themselves out yet this is often not the case.

I’m sure you can think of one case where a professional football player struggled to make change when things weren’t working outa and things didn’t go well for them?

Trying to deal with counter-productive situations, when you don’t have the right perspective and mental tools, lead to a change in behaviour and an inability to see what needs to be done, as the darkness envelopes and clouds the mind, leaving that person confused, unsure and a sense of lost self-worth and drive.

Let’s put this into context with professional football players.

Uncertainty, confusion and a loss of drive and self-worth will lead to their careers being cut short. Then what?

REAL FOOTBALLER PROBLEMS

Over the last few months, I’ve connected with and spoken in depth with former professional players that all had a story to tell me, and one player in particular hadn’t shared his story with anyone else and his situation happened five years ago.

If only at the time of his decision did he have someone to help him and think clearly, his playing career would have turned out a lot more fruitful.

His story is just one of many hundreds that are the reality for many former players and it’s this pain and frustration that, to me, doesn’t need to happen which is why I’m asking current professional players to talk to me so they don’t have a horrific story to tell in a few years.

My speciality is helping people see their situation from a new perspective, overcome procrastination quickly and make new choices that create opportunity.

YOU CAN HELP…

Do you know a premier league footballer?

Perhaps they are struggling, perhaps not, but it’s not your job to decide, but you can point them in the right direction.

Either way, by reading this blog or watching the video, may spark an interest in learning how they can help their career, help their family and friends and ultimately, themselves.

Let’s help and support them before it’s too late for them.

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Sports Psychology – Imagery and Visualisation

Unfortunately Android doesn’t support WordPress Embeds from Youtube so please click here to watch the video

While professional and amateur sports are shut down, these times are ideal to practice working on your mental performance because let’s be honest, how often, compared with your physical and technical performance, do you work on your mental performance?

I thought so!

Here’s a good reason to practice…

We are driven by our thoughts. Our thoughts lead to our behaviours.

A thought is made up of visual, auditory and kinaesthetic communication, meaning what you see, hear, say and feel affect your behaviour or performance in your sports.

“I can’t do it”

“They are better than me”

“The ref didn’t call that!”

The above are all negative examples of self talk.

How do you think you’re going to play when you think of these?

“I’m going to analyse them and figure out their weakness”

“I notice when they are off the ball, they get distracted. I can exploit that”

“I know when I hustle, I’m more likely to gain an advantage”

These are Specific positive examples of self talk as opposed to “C’mon!” and “Let’s do this!”

These are more likely to lead to a positive outcome.

Combining these audiable examples with visions or images of you playing well, will impact on your performance either positively.

What outcome would you rather have?

I messaged a footballer client a couple of days ago with the suggestion to practice visualisation and imagery as in the past he was overly critical of himself.

He tried it but there was conflict because when he tried to use imagery and visualisation he subconsciously introduced negative self-talk.

I suggested he work on creating positive self-talk by using submodalities to create a new ‘recipe’

Simply replacing the negative words and phrases with positive ones and when he is able to over-ride the negative self-talk easily, he can then introduce imagery and visualisation.

Are you overly-critical of your performance? Do you hold onto negativity for too long?

Contact me for a consultation by clicking here

Please like and share this to your network as you never know who can benefit from knowing these strategies.

Mike

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Pressure! Learn to make the right decision using this little trick

Those moments of pressure can engulf an athlete and no matter how much physical training they did, if the mind isn’t trained to deal with pressure moments, they are likely to make a mistake.

Learn this simple trick now to allow your mind to make the right decision

When you’ve watched the video, please subscribe for weekly videos and hit the notification button.

Stay safe

Mike

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How Does A Mental Performance Coach Help Professional Football Players?

When a professional footballer in the Premier league or Championship is struggling, they have to do something differently, quickly!

Here are what some players said about my program…

“Just read it Mike. I love it, there is all the stuff ive been wanting to learn about.”

“All because of you helped me to increase my strength as both mentally and physically to carryon trying out things”

“Definitely since I first spoke to you I haven’t felt any negative thoughts or anxiety completely at all which is fantastic! but was definitely down to releasing those problems verbally.”

Watch the video below to find out how you can benefit

Not a footballer? Please share with a player you know would benefit.

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Why You Should Consider Hiring Me

Believe it or not success doesn’t happen by accident and in the same breath, failure doesn’t happen by accident either!

There are things that have to happen either accidentally or on purpose.

Failure and success means something different to you but if you are experiencing any of the following, now is the time to hire me.

  • Confusion as to your role in the team
  • Frustrations from feeling left out
  • Life events not working out for you
  • Anxiety
  • Always feeling pressure
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • You want things to improve and you’ve tried everything else
  • You want to be the best you can be
  • Loss of trust
  • Clash with team mates
  • Not feeling valued…

The program I deliver is unique and gets results. Here are what some players said about the program…

“Just read it Mike. I love it, there is all the stuff ive been wanting to learn about.”

“All because of you helped me to increase my strength as both mentally and physically to carryon trying out things”

“Hi Mike, thank you so much for all the help🙏🏾🙏🏾”

“I have done some mental training, but i think Mike can help you with different kinds of methods”

“Definitely since I first spoke with you, I haven’t had any negative thoughts or anxiety completely which is fantastic!”

Knowing what deliberate actions to take to move away from failure and towards success will help you.

If you know a #footballer in the #premierleague or #championship that wants more to improve performance quickly in this competitive football world to enhance their chances of a long and successful career ask them to get in touch.

Please message me for your private and confidential consultation or click here to apply

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What I did, driving 6 hours to Dorset

On Saturday I drove 6 hours, from Manchester to Dorset to meet up with a special bunch of people.

I met these people in 2012 at The London Olympics in our roles as Games Maker Volunteers for the basketball events.

Our love for the game and passion for taking part in a once in a lifetime opportunity drew us all together and every year for the last 8 years we have nominated a host who organises a basketball game against a local team, a night out and accommodation and it’s only fair each volunteer gets to host, hence the reason for travelling to Dorset.

There’s another Games Maker that lives in the same town as me, and used to play on the same team so it made sense to share a car for this long trip and with a long trip comes topics of conversation.

I turned the topic to my brand name, The Mental Performance Guy and from a marketing perspective, it didn’t really send the right message to potential clients.

So I ummed and Ahhed about it with my friend, considering options and new names, and decided Elite Sports Minds 23 would be more attractive to potential clients.

Why?

Let’s break this down…

Elite as in the highest level

Sports as in, it’s sports people I want to attract

Minds as in, it’s the mind of the elite sports person I am an expert in helping

23….? My favourite basketball player was and still is Michael Jordan. He wore….you guessed it 23. Arguably the best player in the game, he had amazing individual talent yet he only started to win when he changed his mindset and accepted a new perspective.

So Elite Sports Minds 23 is a reflection of the area of expertise I deliver with a personal touch.

So what do I do?

The mind of an elite sports person is challenged in many ways including facing adversity, change of environment, training, competing, results….

I help athletes, not only understand there are always choices and new perspectives to consider when they need to overcome adversity or improve performance quickly, but I take them on a journey of self-exploration and understanding so they become resilient and able to make the right choices at the right time.

Now I’m changing my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts to reflect this change.

You can find me at

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/elitesportsminds23/

Twitter https://twitter.com/Mikenichols1973

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/elitesportsminds23/

Hope to see you there.

Mike

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Professional Footballers – The hard truth you need to deal with.

In the highly competitive environment which is professional football, there are some actions that will help you get noticed and there are some actions that will leave you on the bench.

That’s pretty easy to understand right, but there is a bitter pill that’s harder to swallow.

Sometimes things will happen out of your control that you don’t agree with, that don’t seem fair, that make you realise you fucked up and even seem unbelievable.

And when I say unbelievable, I heard one story from a former player, that blew my mind it was so wrong!

It made me realise that there are people in football that corrupt the game so they can thrive.

The players are pawns in a game of chess and at times can feel they have no control in what happens to them and the love for the game they once loved, is slowly withdrawn as they fall into a negative spin of deceit and uncertainty.

Then what happens?

The player gets moved around, lied to and left out.

Their mental health begins to suffer because as much as they try to find the answers, they can’t.

A player struggling with negative mental health is more likely to be left on the sidelines as they are considered a liability!

To me, that attitude is Bullshit!

When a player is suffering from negative mental health, the player needs to be find solutions fast with the support of someone neutral with only the player’s best interest at heart.

Did you know that a person can often overcome mental health quickly when a new perspective is given and accepted?

Did you know the performance of a player can quickly improve when a new perspective is given and accepted?

Did you know a player can thrive and even improve performance and therefore increase their value when they are given a new perspective and accepted?

Of course you didn’t because this simple way of helping players isn’t well known or accepted.

I really don’t care if you are a superstar or an unknown.

To me, you are a person first and people that struggle need help.

They need a new perspective to consider.

I believe we all have the capability to change perspectives.

I believe all people have the solutions inside their minds, if only they know how to access them.

Some players can figure it out by themselves.

But some can’t and it’s those that I am targeting with this post.

I’m an expert at offering new perspectives so a person can begin to thrive and leave negative mental health behind and begin to perform better on and off the pitch.

Do you know a player that needs a new perspective?

Please share and like if this resonates with you

Take it easy

Mike

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The difference between winning and losing can be just one thought!

Many years ago as a 16 year old basketball player, my team, Bolton was playing Leicester in the semi-final of the National Cup. The winner would go on to play powerhouse London Royals.

The semi final was a tough affair, with both teams giving their all but it’s the last few seconds that remind me of the difference between winning and losing.

Down by two with just a few seconds remaining, we could either tie the game or go ahead.

The ball was passed to me at the top of the key, near the three point line.

I saw the clock ticking down

This was it!

This was my moment!

As two defenders came towards me I launched a shot!

It missed…badly!

I remember my team mates throwing their arms up in frustration and disbelief!

What had I done!

I’d just lost the game!

This exact moment was the fine line between winning and losing and I ended up on the wrong side!

Over the years, I redeemed myself, hitting a couple of game winners and game tying shots, but I had to learn how to think differently.

One of the things I teach and coach players that come to me, is how to create a calm focused mind in the times when it matters because it’s been proven a calm, focused mind is more likely to make the right choice at the right time, when the pressure is on.

Back when I missed that shot, my mind was racing with so many thoughts, I wasn’t focused on the moment.

I was already thinking ahead when in fact I should have been playing in the moment and if I had been playing in the moment, I would have seen an open team mate.

Whether you’re playing E-sports or live sports at a competitive level, it’s important to learn how to be calm and focused at key moments, because whether you win or lose, can depend largely on the thought you have at that specific moment.

There are many emotions that affect an athlete’s behaviour and decisions including confidence, frustration, anger, jealousy, calmness, fear, disgust, happiness, contempt and it’s important that you know, as an athlete, your actions are led by your emotions.

So how do you train yourself to have a calm mind in key moments?

I’ll share a strategy with you now

Visualisation – Think of the last time you had a chance to win the game. Recall the emotions and feelings and behaviours you demonstrated at that time. Really connect with what you saw, heard and felt.

If the outcome was in your favour, recall that vision in all it’s glory and remind yourself at that time you made the right decision and all the thoughts, feelings and emotions you felt at that time were the right ones. Tell yourself, to repeat this feat, you can recall these emotions again.

If the outcome wasn’t in your favour, ask yourself what emotion would you replace with the one you felt and replay the scenario over in your head and attach that new emotion but with the outcome changing to be in your favour.

Emotional awareness is a powerful trait to have as an athlete and just as you train your body to be a peak performer, you can train your mind to focus at the right time.

With competition levels increasing, it’s important you gain a psychological edge over your opponents, because trust me, there are others out there, wanting to improve quickly.

You will either be left behind or you’ll stay ahead of the field.

You have a choice, you always have a choice on how you approach competition, all you have to do is think what you want…

If this post has intrigued you and you want to know more, please get in touch and let’s connect.

Mike