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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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#mental health mindset overcoming challenges

Limiting and Mistaken Beliefs – The Truth!

Before covid hit in January 2020 which seems so long ago now, a football player and I connected because he was at a cross roads. 

He was playing in the lower leagues and was thinking about giving it all up.  Here’s what he said:-

“My frustrations are the management staff not explaining why i’m not playing, bad man management, not making individuals more confident or not giving advice on how we can improve and generally not saying a word to a player but only a few key players.

A thought that distracts me every now and then thinking “am i wasting my time here”? Being a player that moved back to the UK just for this opportunity.”

He was down and wanted to make a decision. 

Although he loved the game of football he felt he wasn’t valued or understood by the manager which left him feeling uncertain and unsure about the value he brought to his team but also in his self worth. 

Football was his passion and because his self worth was low, he felt part of his identity was missing, leaving him confused. 

I know from playing and coaching experience what the relationship between a player and coach should be.  It should be one of openness, integrity and mutual respect where both can bring some value to the relationship. 

But some coaches aren’t aware of this and some players aren’t aware of this either which means when there’s something wrong, there’s a tendency to skip over the issue and hope things work out. 

But this player was ready to give up and our conversation was the last resort. 

From listening to him in depth, I explained in depth the relationship between player and manager and told him, through nobody’s fault, there was simply a gap in communication filled with assumptions from both sides. The player assumes one thing and the manager assumes something else and when you assume, there’s a good chance you’re wrong. 

When you assume you make an ASSume out of assUme and assuME.

So I came up with a simple sentence for him to ask his manager. 

The purpose of this sentence was to remove his limiting beliefs around what was possible and to remove his mistaken belief that the coach didn’t see him of any value, and help the player gain clarity but also allow the coach to understand his perspective.

Before I tell you the sentence, let me tell you what happened.

After a couple of false starts due to nerves getting the better of him, he managed to speak with the manager which released his frustrations quickly.  He felt energised and his self-worth improved almost immediately.  The coach’s perspective changed and a new line of communication was opened.

The love for the game was restored!

Sometimes we can hold in our thoughts through fear of being rejected or criticised and when we do that, the anxiety just grows and grows until the only solution we see is to get out of there.

But when you learn you have a choice and you can take back control quickly, things, like they did with this football player, can turn around quickly.

The sentence he used was

“What I can do differently to help the team?”

If you found some value in this post, I invite you to comment and subscribe for my weekly blogs, released every Friday at 10.00am GMT

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How Can You Help Me? My Journey

The Journey Part 19 – Growth and Change for you and I

“To uncover your true potential you must first find your own limits and then you have to have the courage to blow past them.”

Picabo Street

Without growth and change we become stagnant

The interest I have to help others grows, as do my skills when I listen to others and yesterday I received some great news that has made me want to up my game.

Yesterday I was approached by the director of an online community of around 40,000 people from all over the world with an interest in personal growth, professional development and mental wellness asking if they could use my blog to publish within an article and promote on their new website!

This could lead to more blogs being posted to a wider audience.

Sharing my insights, experience and tips to help others is something I enjoy doing, knowing if you can take just one golden nugget from my words, then they have been worth writing and so I agreed.

This new information led me to research how to improve my blogging skills because now, the game has changed and I want to learn and grow from the best and so I discovered a guy called Jeff Goins who really knows his blogs and from hereon-in, I’ll be making small steps in different directions to grow as a blog writer.

I listened to a podcast he was a guest on which can be found here, to help me understand how blogging can help others and generate money, and learned the following golden nuggets:-

Nuggets from Jeff Goins

  • Writing a blog is, in itself a practice and is every growing
  • Writing blogs can lead to Ebooks, webinars, training and tools to share with your audience
  • Run your own race! Be specific in which race you’re running and use a combination of tools, strategy and principles. The tools and strategy may change but the principles set the foundation
  • One of those principles is give before you ask (Heard from Gary Vaynerchuk). Give, Give, Give, ask.
  • Be generous with your audience
  • Make it about them and sometimes, someone may make it about you
  • You can give away your success without asking for anything in return
  • Spread your goodwill
  • Listen to what the people who have done this, have to say and learn
  • Lead magnet rewarding someone for their attention. Start listening!
  • Become a student – Be willing without arguing.
  • The oldest things that have worked for a long time are the strategies that will continue to work.
  • Connect with influential people.
  • Can I write a guest post for you? Can I share this tip with your audience?
  • Case study strategy – Be humble enough to say I don’t know and can I be a case study for your suggestions and insights? People who share advice rarely hear from those who are applying the tips. So when you become the case study of the giants that come before you, you can find yourself in front of the audience.
  • Masterminds – running masterminds growing together. Live events and conferences. Workshops.
  • Do a step by step process for your audience
  • Why Blog? To Spread an idea and to market a product or service I have to sell

What Does This New Direction Mean For You?

Firstly who are you? Are you my ideal audience or are you just a curious window shopper?

There are two audiences I wish to share my knowledge with:-

  1. Professional athletes wanting to overcome a tough time and move on from anxiety to improve quickly
  2. Team Owners/Directors wanting change to improve the results

Taking one of the nuggets above, there are some principles, tools and strategies I would like to share with you and if they resonate with you, then I know we can help each other

Principles Of Values

  • Accountability – Being accountable means taking ownership for successes and mistakes
  • Balance – Knowing what to put down, what to invite in and what to adjust
  • Calm – Letting go of anxiety, stress and bad feelings towards others and appreciating yourself and those you value around you

Principles Of Growth

  • Have a valid reason to want things to improve or change
  • Have an open mind to learning new concepts and perspectives
  • Have an ability to put these new concepts and perspectives into action

Tools for you

There are four areas in which I have experience and expertise I need to share with those wanting to improve…(Click the link to find out more of each tool)

  • 1-2-1 mental performance coaching for the professional athlete. When an athlete is struggling or wanting to remove stress and anxiety, I am trained in helping an athlete connect with their reality, create a vision and use psychological techniques to help them move forward quickly
  • Consultations for teams/clubs. As a director of a national league basketball team that attracted top talent and won promotion in the first year, there are strategies I want to share with the aspiring team or club wanting to win and help them implement them should they need support
  • Blogs. Writing blogs is a great way to share my expertise for free to anyone who has a desire to learn and grow in sports and also to find out a little bit about what drives me. I can categories them so it’s easier for the reader to find a topic.
  • Resources. These free resources give you some strategies to use immediately to help you understand what you can do right now for change and improvements. Why wait! These will grow and change as I learn more from learning from clients and as they learn from me.

Strategy

This I need to work on!

I have the principles in place, I have the tools and now I need a strategy to get me results.

What results am I after?

Sharing as much as I can to those people I feel can benefit and when they are ready, they will let me know and I can support them on a more personal level.

Jeff has a few tricks up his sleeve to generate income that include an Ebook, Masterminds, Workshops, Live events, webinars and training to help the audience through investing their money and it’s some of these strategies I need to learn and begin to roll out.

Perhaps if you’re a former or current professional athlete or a Director of a team/club and have a great audience perhaps I could write a blog for you around mindset and how to quickly change your perspective for improved results?

Yes, you guessed it, that’s a strategy I’m open to trying.

The NEAT System

One strategy I have up my sleeve is a system. A system that incorporates principles and allows me to connect with the right people. That system is called The NEAT System and if you’re still reading this, then you believe in the system.

The system is based on the principles you can’t help all the people all the time and even though I may identify people as needing my help, until their desire to want to improve, becomes greater than their desire to stay the same, the NEAT System or any other system won’t be of any interest to them.

So I need a way to save them time and save me time and therefore energy and allowing me to focus on those who really resonate with what I offer.

As my journey continues, I would like to extend an invitation to subscribe to my blog so you’re notified when I next post and also make suggestions on what you’d like me to write about that can help you as a professional athlete or team owner/director.

Categories
Leadership

Are You A Leader In Football Experiencing A Crisis?

What Is A Crisis?

A crisis can lead you to a dark place

The term crisis can be defined as

“A crucial or decisive point or situation, especially a difficult or unstable situation involving an impending change”

When we put this into the context of sports leadership, the term ‘Crisis’ will relate to a situation unique to that person. Let’s consider three situations:-

Where losing four games in a row could be considered a crisis for one club, another club may view this as part of the long term plan and is perfectly in line with expectations.

Being heavily in debt after a signing failed to live up to expectations may be a crisis to one person, whereas another may consider it just part of the game.

And if you’re a CEO or Director, the lack of wins leading to a relegation battle could be considered a crisis, whereas someone else may see this as a blessing in disguise.

I understand many people in crisis will either try to figure it out themselves, or their behaviour will change and perhaps become erratic as they turn to drink, gambling, or something else, as their minds struggle to deal with the crisis and deflect responsibility through these actions.

In some cases they will hit rock bottom before putting one hand on the ladder and slowly climbing up, but when it comes to getting through a crisis, there is no rule to say you have to hit rock bottom before you can decide to start moving upwards.

False Sense Of Reality

Reality through distorted lenses

Many people believe the root of a crisis is an act, event or what someone said.

For example, a poor business deal, a player getting injured or another team beating you against the odds.

This is where confusion starts because things happen out of your control yet you use energy and time trying to justify why this happened, and it isn’t fair.

There’s a powerful reality I need to share with you because I know deep down you care.

I know deep down you care about your team, the staff, the fans and of course yourself.

I’ve seen in the media and in articles the physical and mental pain caused when people are in crisis, unable to find a way forward and I don’t want that to happen to you.

You might be asking why I give a damn.

I have my reasons, some personal to me that I’m not willing to share, but I do want you to know, you are not the first and you won’t be the last to experience crisis.

The reality I need to you to understand is this…

Your Way Forward

The real root of the crisis isn’t what happened or what was said, but your PERCEPTION of the issue, not the issue itself.

Whether you are in crisis or not all depends on your perspectives and expectations.

I’m going to throw something out there for you to consider..

A crisis in leadership is only a crisis if you allow yourself to perceive it to be a crisis.

With a crisis comes stress.

Stress is only an emotion, just the same as hapiness, sadness and contentment and these emotions are all brought on by your perception of a situation.

Caring Enough To Move Forward

Find a balance right for you

If you care about the club, the staff, the fans and yourself, there is hope for you to move out of the crisis quickly and regain balance, and even if you have lost that passion for the game, there are still options for you to consider. You just haven’t explored them all yet.

But if you’re just in in for the money, then that’s a different conversation altogether.

Do you know a leader in football that seems to be struggling?

Do you know a leader in football who’s behaviour has been erratic?

I urge you to forward them this article and allow them to see there are options to consider.

If you like this article and would like to access more of my content please subscribe below and be notified when I write.

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Uncategorized

THE REAL REASON WHY PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL PLAYERS SUFFER FROM NEGATIVE MENTAL HEALTH

Lack of honest communication between some managers and players

Dishonest communication between clubs and players

Poor management

Distractions off the field (You know what I’m talking about!)

Social Media attacks

Racism

A feeling of low self-esteem

Not enough praise

Too much criticism

Inability to express thoughts

Fear

Guilt

Lack of integrity…

I could go on but I’ve made my point.

Although this list isn’t exhausted, this is what I’ve found when speaking to former and some current players.

So why do players tolerate this negativity?

Let me tell you

Playing professional football is their livelihood. It’s their identity, in some cases it’s all they know.

So the thought of losing their livelihood, identity and only way of knowing how to live, would be more devastating than tolerating the list above.

Tolerating the above can seem the easier option and sometimes there’s a sense of “I’m a professional football player and these things should be tolerated”

Yet so many players do suffer from negative mental health because the choice to walk away is almost impossible for them so they tolerate up to a point before the cracks begin to show.

And when a player is showing cracks, rather than the club spending money and time into helping them, they put them to one side and look to replace that player as quick as possible.

They are now damaged.

The asset turns into a liability and in the quest to win, they dispense of the liability as quick as possible.

This is the state of football today.

This is what actually happens in some cases.

The thing is I understand why this happens.

Clubs want to win, they want the best players and there’s such a diverse market of players out there, any player can be replaced should they not be performing.

But I have a question.

When a player is struggling, rather than cast him aside and spend millions on a transfer or even selling the player as a liability, losing money and time in that quest to be a winner, what if there was a way to improve that player quickly and at least retain their value?


Einstein once said

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”.

All players have the potential to be genius’s with the right surroundings and support yet I believe many players are fish in a tree, put there, under false pretences.

I’m sure you can think of at least one player that’s played well for one club, yet as soon as they move to another club, they have played crap?

An article by Jamie Spencer that you can find here lists the worse 27 signings in the last few years.

Here are three that really interest me:-

Andy Carroll (Liverpool) – Liverpool had already broken their transfer record on winter deadline day in 2011 to buy £23m Luis Suarez from Ajax, but smashed it to pieces mere hours later to land Newcastle striker Andy Carroll for £35m.

The Geordie target man had only 18 months of regular first-team football under his belt at that time and represented a huge panic buy for the Reds. Carroll scored four Premier League during his only full season and was eventually sold to West Ham in 2013 for a £20m loss.


Angel Di Maria (Man Utd) – Angel Di Maria wasn’t the only one at fault for his dismal season at Manchester United in 2014/15. He was played out of position and often restricted by manager Louis van Gaal, while an attempted break-in at his house irreparably unsettled the Argentine and his family.

United fans thought they were getting a superstar when the £59.7m deal was completed as Di Maria had been named Man of the Match in the Champions League final for Real Madrid only a few months early. But after a strong start, he never looked prepared to put any effort in.


Winston Bogarde (Chelsea) – Winston Bogarde’s four-year spell at Chelsea is infamous because the Dutchman, who had previously won the Champions League with Ajax and played for Barcelona, spent most of his time at the club simply training and collecting lucrative wages, without actually playing.

Claudio Ranieri had been hired shortly after Bogarde’s arrival and didn’t want him. But the defender had signed a contract worth €15m over four years and didn’t believe he could earn as good a salary anywhere else. So he stuck around until 2004 to take every penny he was owed.


Let’s look at some contributing factors to these failures:-

  • Panic buying
  • £20 million loss
  • Played out of position
  • Restricted playing time
  • Previous man of the match in the champions league final but never looked prepared to put effort in
  • Never played a game

These decisions are not only stupid, but a waste of resources, money, time, and human effort.

In the quest to win, the people who make these decisions are blinded from making purposeful decisions and end up making stupid ones!


Winning clearly isn’t about panic buying, playing someone out of position or limiting someone’s minutes.

Winning is about having a clear vision and sticking to it.

So how about this for a radical idea –

Firstly establish your culture

Secondly find players that match your culture and support them through thick and thin to build trust and familiarity which in turn breeds a winning attitude

Thirdly don’t have your hand forced by others you want to please

The simple rule is this

“Treat your players well and good things will happen”

Players are not robots

They are not gambling chips to be used on a whim

Players will be at their best when they feel valued and understood

Players need support in tough times

The manager that understands this will do well

The players that play within this culture will perform well

The club will begin to win

If you are a #premierleague #footballer or a #championship player and you feel like a fish out of water, I need to speak with you.

I can help

If you are a manager with a player that isn’t performing as expected, I need to speak with you.

I can help

Now at this point, I’m sure you are creating excuses in your thoughts not to get in touch and if you are having those thoughts, let me ask you one simple question

If the solution to your problems exists, but you can’t accept the solution because you’re stuck in your ways, would you be willing to spend ten minutes listening to a new perspective that will help you believe the solution is right for you?