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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

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What really happens when you deflect blame after a mistake

One of the hardest things we do as humans is accept our mistakes.

It’s so easy to deflect blame or brush it under the carpet and in our haste to deflect and blame we overlook the impact our behaviours have on ourselves and others.

Imagine the relationship between a footballer and the manager. Both have a role to do and both are trying their best yet both will make mistakes. But with football being a game of ego and performance, it is very unlikely either will admit to making mistakes.

When we blame others for our mistakes, we create a fracture in that relationship. It may be a small fracture but our actions create a crack of doubt in the mind of the other person. That crack can grow and manifest which builds resentment, dissonance and trust is thrown out of the window.

Your time at that club and in some cases, the league, can quickly come to an end.

As this crack widens, contempt grows within the other person and they become defensive and wary of helping you out in the future.

What happens to you? You create habits that are detrimental to your health.

You begin to believe you are better than others

You believe nothing is every your fault

You begin to act like a dick!

This behaviour is unconsciously picked up by others and they begin to avoid you.

You may have a sense something isn’t right but are unsure what it is.

Before you know it, things are not working any more and you feel lost and frustrated!

How can you fix this?

There are specific words you can use to fix the fracture and begin to build trust again.

It takes courage to do so I’ll make this as easy as possible for you.

If you blamed someone else for your mistake use the following sentence.

“You may not remember but I made a mistake and I blamed you. I’m sorry. Can you forgive me?”

By saying these words, it starts a new thought process for you and the other person and by nature, we do like to forgive others.

Have you recently blamed someone for your mistake?

What happened and what did you do about it?

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What is Mental Health and what can I do about it?

Embrace Mental Health!

Learn you can do something if you are suffering from low mental health

And you can help someone easily

#tellmewhatsgoingoninyourhead

Just watch this video now

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A MUST READ FOR FOOTBALL PLAYERS AND COACHES BEFORE THE JANUARY TRANSFER WINDOW CLOSES

When a team is looking for improvements, either financially or on the field, logic says transfer for a better player is the right move to go.

And in most cases this works out OK but there are some that went horribly wrong

Sol Campbell on his move to Notts County in 2009 and making only one appearance said “The only thing I’m guilty of is taking people at their word” even though he had big dreams

Manchester United paid £10 million to Crystal Palace for Wilfried Zaha with an extra £5 million to be paid if the move was successful! It wasn’t!

These players were good, if not great at their former clubs but that doesn’t always equate to success in another place so I’d like to suggest the following, before a decision is made.

When anyone moves to a new situation, there is a period of figuring things out. Each player has their personalities, beliefs, values and expectations and if any of these aren’t being met in the new environment, their performance on the pitch is going to suffer.

Imagine an introverted player coming to a new team. A quiet player but with plenty of skill and ability. Should this player be exposed to situations against his personality, there is a strong likelihood his performance will drop and the transfer be a bust.

The value of the transfer will only be judged on the performance on the field, which is influenced by the player’s life off the field.

Think about it – 90 minutes a game, perhaps two games per week and up to five hours training a day over three days – that’s around 18 hours playing football a week. What will they be doing for the other 150 hours?

There’s a lot of time to fill and if that time isn’t filled with supportive, nurturing and relaxing times, the player can be distracted by negativity and thoughts that are detrimental to their performance and mental health. The player may think the worse.

I’m sure you’ve heard the quote by Einstein that goes

“Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish in its ability to climb a tree, it will live it’s whole life believing it is stupid”

Some players get put in the wrong environment for them to thrive.

Perhaps clubs and players can spend more time forming a strategy to figure out the player’s expectations, beliefs and values, rather than just focus on the business side of the game?

Do you know a player that was a bust?

I welcome your thoughts and ideas and invite coaches to get in touch