Categories
motivation

Learn To Motivate Yourself Like Michael Jordan

The Last Dance is the docuseries currently showing on Netflix which gives new insights into the final NBA season of the Chicago Bulls Championship winning team.

The team that some dubbed The Beatles” was one of the most, if not, the most dominant team in sports history at the time, and watching the behind the scenes footage is spellbinding!

Titled The Last Dance, coined, because everyone knew this was the last time this current group of players would be together due to management decisions, which you get to learn more about in the programmes.

But it was the conversations and sound bites around Michael Jordan’s mindset that had me transfixed and the way in which he motives himself to play better is extraordinary, but possible to learn and I wanted to share this idea so you, the athlete can give it a go and see how it affects your performance.

During lockdown, you can at least, practice training your mind to think along these lines.

Jordan was known for his competitive nature and two stories stand out for me.

A player for Washington, LeBradford Smith had a great game scoring 37 points against Jordan while Jordan had an off game.

The story goes that Smith said something to MJ (no spoilers) that motivated him for the next game between the two teams the next night. Watch episode 8 to find out what happened.

In another story, a friend of Jordan, a coach from an opposing team, didn’t acknowledge Jordan in a restaurant, an act Jordan took offence to. Jordan had a word with himself and then went out to demolish the team his friend coached.

There are different ways in which you can motivate yourself and the uniqueness of Jordan was to instil an emotion so strong, he would do whatever it takes to perform at a higher level than the opponent.

He needed a reason to go out and kick their butt!

So he would create a reason using anything from newspaper articles to a look or comment to light his fire.

So let’s get down to the psychology of this mindset.

I am not MJ’s mind so I don’t know exactly what he thinks, but I can apply theory to help you create the same mindset.

Your thoughts are made up of movies or pictures, words and sounds and from these thoughts, you create an emotion.

So let’s reverse engineer this and start with an emotion asking ourselves, what emotion do you need to create to improve your play against your opponent?

Hatred, revenge, a sense to prove them wrong. A sense to prove to yourself you can beat them?

In MJ’s cause, he talks about revenge being used as a motivator and it’s this motivation that allows him to keep challenging himself to improve and stay on top of his game and be better than his competitors.

The other question is can you bring yourself to think negatively about an opponent?

Of course you can and you can do it no matter level you play at!

You can do it now. Think of an opponent that’s got the better of you in the past, and attach a sense of revenge to that thought.

Now you think about their weaknesses. What can you exploit? What can you take advantage of?

You now start to create a new vision, a new thought which you continue to think about that allows your mind to adjust and when you get the opportunity, you play with that emotion attached to the game.

Improving your performance is much more than improving your physical and technical ability and this exercise gives you an idea of how quickly you can improve your performance just by changing your thoughts.


Mike is a Master Mental Performance Specialist helping athletes all around the world to improve their performance quickly. Subscribe below to be notified of new blogs.

Categories
mindset

How to improve your football performance quickly during Covid-19 lockdown – The answer isn’t what you expect!

As a professional or high level sports person, I want you to consider your current reality in terms of your performance.

Before lockdown, was your performance where you wanted it to be?

Do you look at others thinking you’re better than them but for some reason, things aren’t working out for you?

Are you a football (soccer) player that’s hit a slump and is struggling to hit the target?

Are you a defender but attackers are getting the better of you?

You’re current reality is only a blip and can be overcome quickly.

You don’t need to spend hours in the gym

You don’t need to practice more

All you need is an open mind to learning, and before your dismiss this concept, let me tell you a story or two about how quickly you’re able to improve.

A few years ago I worked with a pro basketball player. He was averaging around 5 points a game.

He was in a slump by his own admission.

Something needed to change.

Did he have to spend hours shooting the ball?

Did he have to work on his technical ability?

Did he have to practice under extreme circumstances?

Nope!

All he had to do was have a shift in perception.

I helped him create that shift in mental perception in about 45 minutes all the while he was sat comfortably in the privacy of his own home, which led to him exploding in his next game for 20 points and hitting an unprecedented 100% from the field!

Click here to read his own thoughts in a newspaper column.

Imagine how a struggling striker, unable to hit a strike rate that’s expected of them, can benefit from these techniques?


Defenders – Here’s a story for you.

I worked with a player in the USA, a semi-professional who was only curious about my new ground-breaking program.

So we worked together over 6 weeks, talking for an hour. Again she was in the comfort of her own home and we talked over Skype (way before the Zoom explosion!)

Her curiosity and ability to have an open mind to learning allowed her to win her first ever MVP!

Imagine as a professional player, how this improvement can help your career?

To improve quickly doesn’t involve strenuous physical workouts

To improve quickly doesn’t involve training more specifically

To improve quickly involves shifting your mindset.

I want to help you shift your mindset and in this period of lockdown, now is the perfect time for professional players to focus on developing their mental strength using two proven strategies.

If you have an interest in player development either as a sports psychologist, player liaison officer, manager or team mate, or owner, then I invite you to tell me what you think needs to improve for players you know, then let’s have a chat.

Apply for your consultation at https://elitesportsminds23.org

Do it now in the comfort of your own home over Zoom, in preperation for when the season starts again and you’ll get a head start over the competition.

Take it easy

Mike

Categories
Tips

Top Ten Tips to win at professional sports

Many like the idea of being a professional sports person, the money, the competition and in some cases the fame and the rewards that come with that, yet there are many that don’t know what it takes to win.

When I say win, I’m not just talking about the end result on the scoreboard, but how to navigate the ups and downs that being a professional sports person can bring.

Over the years, I’ve gathered a lot of information from books, experiences and players and come up with this top ten list that any player can take right now, and begin to implement to see results almost immediately.

Are you ready?

Are you sure you want to start to win?

Ok, great then let’s do this!

  1. Have an open mind to learning – Up to this point, you’ll have a perspective, down from your experiences, but it’s important to remember there are other perspectives out there that have value
  2. Ask questions – I was speaking to one football player a few weeks ago who told me he felt lost and under-appreciated. He talked, I listened, and concluded the manager didn’t appreciate him because he was keeping himself to himself. We came up with a plan to ask a specific question and as soon as he asked that question, he felt the anxiety lift almost immediately. The question he asked was “What can I do to help this team improve?”
  3. Consider a plant based diet – There have been many studies, programs and positivity around athletes having a plant based diet. One thing that stood out for me was the blood samples taken from meat eaters and the plant based diet athletes. The plasma in the meat eaters was cloudy that meant the oxygenated blood struggled to flow and be distributed around the body. The plant-based diet athlete’s plasma was clear and flowed more effectively around the body.
  4. Social media is to be used sparingly and not to voice your anger and frustrations towards others
  5. Look after your mental health and wellbeing – There will be times you will be asked to do things that aren’t in line with your beliefs and values and this can affect your mental health in a negative way. Consider your options before saying yes because too many incidents of doing things that don’t feel right, will lead you down path that can be difficult to come back from. Know there are specialists that can help you overcome these issues, I included, and have tools and strategy that can help you quicker than you imagine. Asking for help isn’t a weakness, it’s a smart move to make sure you the person and athlete thrive in a very hostile environment
  6. Engage with a trustworthy person to manage your finances – There are a lot of fraudsters out there that want your money. They will promise you a high return in an investment opportunity and if the rate is high, it’s more likely to be a con.
  7. Train smart – The manager and coach will be judging you in training. Aim to be the first one there and the last one to leave. Be humble enough to help set up or clear up after a session. This is what you get paid for , so put the work in and good things will happen
  8. Play with a passion – The TV camera’s and the fans will be watching and hoping you play well. They are indirectly investing their money and time into you and they want to see someone play with passion. Theres nothing worse to see a player playing half arsed in a losing effort. In addition when your career ends, you can look back and be proud of what you accomplished because you did the best you could with what you had.
  9. Rest and recover – Your body needs rest and recovery after a competition, so make sure you do all the right things to make sure you recover well and quickly. The last thing you want is an injury that never heals properly and your career from the moment, is one of pain and anguish because you know you’ll never again be the athlete you were before the injury.
  10. Enjoy it – Your time as an athlete is limited compared with other careers, so enjoy the time as a professional athlete.

If any of these tips resonate with you, please take action and give yourself the best chance of succeeding as a professional.

Stay safe

Mike

Categories
Uncategorized

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

Categories
Uncategorized

Kobe Bryant – The loss of a champion

“who’s this cocky kid who wants to be like Jordan?”

This was my first thought when I first saw kobe play.

Jordan was my idol. He was the one that set the standard. Now this kid comes along copying his every move.

Put him in his place MJ!

But kobe was tenacious!

He wasn’t backing down!

If anything he was getting better and he was seemingly doing anything possible to be the best!

He teamed up with Shaq and won three NBA titles before their relationship turned sour.

Kobe went on to win two more without the big fella.

Just before I carry on I have to remind myself to be mindful…

Being mindful, this blog could easily turn into an MJ / Kobe comparison, I remind myself to focus on the purpose of this post which is to celebrate kobe after learning of his tragic death just yesterday. There have been plenty of comparisons and now isn’t the time.

I never met kobe but at the 2012 Olympics in London I was privileged to be sitting courtside as a Games Maker, absorbing his aura and watching his every move in the final versus Spain.

I analysed and watched intently as he weaved, cut, jumped and shot and helped his team to the gold medal.

There were moments, I appreciated like his uncanny ability to know what to do just at the right time.

He knew when he had to control that moment and give his team the best chance of winning.

It was this emotional intelligence that set him aside from others. It was this I came to respect.

I watched his final game on TV, the kobe show, and saw how much love he had from within the basketball community.

His competitive nature was on full view as he willed his team to victory with 60 points.

In retirement he won a Oscar for his animated short film, Dear Basketball, showing he was much more than a player.

He was engaging in the community and giving back to the game. 
He was embracing retirement from playing.

Then it happened

Not only has the game lost an ambassador for the game of basketball, but the world has a lost a decent human being. His 13 year old daughter was with him at the time and I can only hope they embraced with a deep love and understanding at the moment.

What now?

I’m still trying to come to terms with this loss and how it affects me as a person, as a player, a coach, a father…

The world still moves, basketball will still be played and there will be much love poured from the souls of those who knew of kobe.

His legacy firmly established in the basketball community, we all have our memories of this amazing player and person.

He was a true champion in the strongest sense of the word.

My head is full of swirling images and mini movies of his past. My inner voice is asking lots of questions I can’t possibly answer and my stomach has a knot that aches and this, about 24 hours after the event, is how I deal with the loss.

I can’t bring myself to watch highlights of his stellar career yet because it feels too soon, yet I do know the time will come when I allow myself to enjoy the moments this champion brought to us all.

Rest In Peace Black Mamba.