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mindset

Alternative to using a sports psychologist

What’s an alternative to using a sports psychologist?

“I expected a better personal performance but nothing this drastic!  This is the first time in my 10-plus-year career, I’ve scored 20 points and not missed a single shot”

Let me give you the back-story to this quote.

In 2013, A professional basketball player wrote a weekly column in a newspaper and one week he wrote about his struggles and his inability to create the change he wanted.

He was known as a scorer, had represented England but had lost his scoring touch and had no idea why.

Being a basketball guy with a new set of skills to try, I reached out to him offering my time to listen to him and to see if we could create a change.

We arranged a time to talk on the phone.  He spoke openly and honestly, and as I listened, I pulled out my new bag of tricks at relevant moments, asking specific questions, which allowed him to consider new perspectives to try on and I remember him pausing for a moment after I suggested something particular about miscommunication and in hindsight, this was his breakthrough moment.

Our call lasted around 45 minutes and I for one, had no idea what would happen at his next game which was the night after.

I didn’t make contact with him after the game but remember having a conversation with him and he telling me he would love to write about his experience and give me a mention in his article, which you can read here.

In his own words, he told of his drastic turnaround and unbelievable performance.  I was really happy for him and pleased the money I’d invested in my personal development had helped someone overcome their struggles.

What method did I use to help him? Was it therapy, counselling? Was this an alternative to sports psychology?

Other alternatives to sports psychologists

Therapy – Therapy is working with the client who seeks relief from psychological or physical symptoms and deals with the client’s mental health. Coaching deals with the client’s mental growth

Training – The trainer by definition is the expert, and the training course is likely to be targeted on specific skills for immediate results

Consultancy – A consultant provides expertise and solves business problems, or develops a business as a whole. A consultant deals with the overall organisation or specific parts of it and not individuals within it

Teaching – Teaching passes knowledge from teacher to student. The teacher knows something the student does not. The opposite is true in coaching. The client is the expert and the client has the answers, not the coach

Mentoring – Mentoring is when a senior colleague, seen as more knowledgeable and worldly wise gives advice and provides a role model. A mentor is a sponsor with great professional experience in their client’s field of work

Counselling – Counselling is working with a client who feels uncomfortable, or dissatisfied with their life. They are seeking guidance and advice

What method had I used? 

In the 1970’s two men at the University of California, Santa Cruz, John Grinder, a linguist, and Richard Bandler, an information scientist and mathematician developed Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)

Bandler modelled the methods used by Virgina Satir (1916-1988), American author, social worker, and internationally esteemed family therapist; co-founder of the Mental Research Institute (MRI) in Palo Alto, California.

Bandler also modelled the work of Fritz Perls, (1893–1970), who developed a form of psychotherapy that he known as gestalt therapy. Influenced by Perls’ work, Bandler formed study groups and gave workshops, that were cantered around gestalt therapy.

Bandler and Grinder teamed up, to study the principles that governed the language structure of gestalt therapy. They wanted to define the techniques and skills used by successful therapist.

What was the difference that made the difference?

Bandler and Grinder did whatever worked and removed didn’t work. They studied the work, writings and recordings of Perls and Satir, to extract the essence that made these two therapists exceptional.  (Source)

The NLP strategies I used with the basketball allowed him to understand his reality and what he needed to do differently then take action, all of which he did brilliantly. 

The added value of emotional intelligence

Around the same time with a new open mind to learning and a thirst to learn more, I enrolled on an emotional Intelligence course called Evaluating Truth and Credibility, delivered by The Emotional Intelligence Academy

The course was aimed at helping you understand and identify misalignments in communication between body language and verbal content with the aim to spot when someone is lying or trying to cover up the truth.  I found it fascinating and as the course went on, my mind sought out possibilities to use these concepts in sports, specifically basketball, after all basketball players attempt to trick the opponents and use fakes to gain an advantage.

Having completed the course and now with a heightened, weird sense of wanting to stare at people, I and the director of the Academy, had a conversation about moving my idea forward.  He suggested establishing a test condition with players playing 1 on 1 and gathering film to analyse and break down.  We needed evidence and scientific data to support the theory that players can improve quickly when they learn how to read body language and facial expressions.

The research

For the next 3 months I travelled around the North West of England filming players from professional to amateur, banking 1000 clips of 200 players.  Now the easy part was done, I had to watch these clips over and over and spot commonalities, removing what was useless and using what was useful in an attempt to extract data and then create some kind of program.

Thankfully one of the Director’s son’s Jordan, gave me a helping hand every now and again with the use of the studio and the huge screen they used when analysing facial expressions, making spotting the tells, a lot easier than staring at a 15″ screen.

Now I had a program, what could I do with it? 

Not long afterwards, I had an opportunity to work with another former England player.  I coached him to integrate the new tools into his defensive game which allowed him to improve right there, on the basketball camp he and I were coaching on.

So now with NLP and emotional intelligence training under my belt, I set myself the challenge of creating a new practice to help people overcome struggles and improve performance.

The positives and negatives

Using the best bits of both practices and removing what was useless, I went on to help a female soccer player/psychologist in New York win her first ever MVP in 25 years which again spurred me on to connect with more athletes.

My journey took an unexpected route because I was finding there were many former and current athletes struggling with issues that affected their performance and wellbeing.  Unable to reach out for help, they tolerated their situation and some lost out on some great opportunities such as the football player who was on the verge of signing for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), but missed out because he didn’t have the opportunity to reach out and explore how and why his mind was talking him out of taking that opportunity.

The more people I spoke with, the more I learned.  The more I learned, the more I adapted what I now call the Neuro Emotional Awareness Training (NEAT) program.

Using the same principles but different delivery methods to suit the client, here are some of the success stories over the years:

Powerful words from clients

“MY WELLBEING IS 100% BETTER. I’ve tried sports psychologists, I’ve read over 15 self-improvement books, I’m constantly trying to understand my mind and the minds of those who are successful, but the biggest lesson I’ve learned from working with Mike is that my biggest asset is myself and I can tap into that without any special tactics or interventions when I let go of the habits and social constructs I’ve aligned myself with“ Pro basketball player


“I’ve never experienced coaching like this before? Mostly in books I’ve read they give you techniques like visualisation, positive self-talk and body language etc which I find useful, but in this program I actually get to know who I am and what I stand for: I’ve started to realise what are the things that distract me, and the people who negatively influence me. I’ve actually learned to be aware of my thoughts“ Football (soccer) player – Finland


“Definitely since I first spoke to you I haven’t felt any negative thoughts or anxiety completely at all which is fantastic!”  Football player – UK


“I expected a better personal performance but nothing this drastic! This is the first time in my 10-plus-year career I’ve scored 20 points and not missed a single shot.”  Pro Basketball Player – UK


“I am continuing to apply the technique without much thought needed. “I won my first ever MVP!”  Soccer player – USA


“Yes, can definitely recommend with golfers or other sportsmen, it can help anybody improve in their sport”  Pro golfer – UK


“The amount I’ve improved the last month is CRAZY! Your help is honestly incredible”  esports FIFA Pro – UK


The value in talking

Their words keep me driving forward and wanting to help others who are struggling but to those athletes struggling I say this:

Of those who have struggled in the past, the majority have said they wished they had spoken up sooner and sought help sooner, which could have helped them avoid avoid therapy or counselling

It can be difficult to reach out to your coach, agent, or team psychologist because there is the association with the club and that association can be enough to put someone off from asking for help because you might be fearful of being exposed as weak or fear being judged or criticised for asking for help, which in turn jeopardises your career and livelihood.

As you can see, we are much different than sports psychologists

Our alternative to a sports psychologist

As an individual, one alternative to using a sports psychologist is accessing the NEAT system from the comfort of your own home, in your own time WITHOUT the fear of being judged or criticised and without the fear of your words or experiences getting back to anyone because our primary goal is to help you for your sake.  We will only share your experiences if you give us permission, if you think your experiences can teach others.

Get in touch if:

  • You’re struggling and feel like quitting
  • You feel alone
  • You feel you can’t live up to expectations
  • You don’t trust some of your friends
  • You’ve struggled with confidence in your head

When you get in touch and I listen to your thoughts, I can offer you:

  • The space to be confident
  • Confidential and discreet 1-2-1 coaching
  • Non-judgemental service without criticising
  • Accessible and flexible contact methods
  • Proof that the coaching works from past successes

Should you decide to hire our company to help you, know that:

  • Together we will remove your struggles and rediscover your love for the game
  • Together we will form a partnership of trust
  • Together we will learn what your expectations are
  • Together we will help your mind find balance and calm
  • Together we will improve your status

How we can help sporting organisations

As a professional sporting organisation, we understand success on and off the field of play is essential to your brand, your fans and investors and when a player’s performance drops, losses can come quickly, putting everyone under pressure and as a former high level player and professional coach, I know more than most, what that pressure feels like. 

As a sporting organisation, by hiring us, you instantly remove the distraction of managing the mental performance of the player, and let us do the hard work for you, so you can focus on what you do best. 

Will coaching be used as a replacement for sports psychologists?

Sports psychology and coaching are two very different methods of engagement, each with their merits and strategies. Exploring coaching options when sports psychology is drawing a blank would be the smart option and vice versa. You have to find a way that works for you based on past results and experiences.

What can you do now?

Explore your options, and there is no better way to explore your option than speaking with a professional.

Visit us at elitesportsminds23 or drop us a message

Categories
esports overcoming challenges

How to improve performance in esports

Cakes and esports?

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Yes there is a link between cakes and esports and not the obvious one you might be thinking. We are talking about recipes and when it comes to improving performance, it’s all about the recipes, so let’s look at what you need to do.

Follow a recipe of course!

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You’ve got your ingredients for a cake but now what do you do with them? How do you transform these individual items into something really tasty?

Unless you’re trained and have done it before, the likely hood is you’ll follow a recipe and a method that involves weighing, measuring, mixing and heating and if things go to plan, your cake will be completed, ready to eat (and share if you really want to) in the shape of an X-box or PS or something that you can enjoy

Recipe for your mind

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Imagine for a moment the cake represents your ideal outcome. Whether that’s finding confidence, or improving performance or overcoming an issue that’s been bugging you for a while, you want a different outcome than the one you’re currently getting

Just like the recipe for the cake there is a recipe for the mind and the ingredients include how you see, hear and feel and when you learn how to mix them in the right way, your ideal outcome will be achieved quickly

The hard part is convincing yourself, you are ready to try mixing the ingredients up differently and this is hard because to do that, you must first understand how and why you think. Have you got the time and open mind to learn new perspectives?

Changing your recipe

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Over your life you’ve created beliefs, values and habits, rightly or wrongly but somewhere down the line, you decided you want to change things; you want things to be better for you. Perhaps you feel tired all the time, perhaps you have had enough of losing or perhaps you want to try something new? whatever different outcome you want, you have to think and act differently.

The thought of changing can be enough to put some people off from trying, but it’s important to know changing takes courage and determination and will lead to different outcomes, and by coming out of your comfort zone for just a few moments, you will begin to feel a change. Then you ride that momentum and embrace what’s happening

New outcomes achieved!

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Just like baking that cake of yours, getting the right outcome takes time to perfect. When I was younger, every Christmas I would bake a chocolate log, a Swiss role covered in chocolate. I’d make about five of them for my relatives and I was that skilled, I could do it without a recipe because I got into the zone and just did it. But to get to that level took time. Yes I made mistakes but quickly ate up the evidence before my mum saw

You deserve to find new outcomes if the ones you’re achieving now, aren’t providing you with what you need or desire, so embrace change, embrace your ability to do things differently and start to bake a new cake!


Are you an esports pro or CEO of an esports organsation?

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Categories
esports mindset Tips

What to do after a mistake

Mistakes happen!

There is no player in the world that doesn’t make mistakes but many people get upset after a mistake, get angry or even turn off the game! Have you experienced one of those?

There are three things you need to learn which will not only improve your performance but grow your confidence as a person when you need it most

Whatever the mistake is, you quickly accept it happened and immediately bring your thoughts back into the moment. Focus on the present and allow any thoughts about what just happened, to leave your mind quickly

Your inner-voice is powerful and it’s this you need to practice. Tell yourself “I’m doing my best” rather than “WTF happened then!” or “I won’t win now!”

These words will bring a calm to your mind and a calm mind is a focused mind

Tell yourself a mistake is simply a way to learn. You learn by repetition, but also by pushing your boundaries and even when you make a mistake during a simple move, you still tell yourself, you can learn from it.

Some really beat themselves up after a mistake that should never happen but remember we all make mistakes and the key is to refocus quickly

This recipe is one you need to learn in order to improve and stay ahead of the competition and remember, the more you practice, the better you get.

You owe it to yourself to keep improving, to grow and develop as a gamer because there a revery few people out there who will guide you in ways you need to be guided. You have a level of accountability to give yourself the best chance you can

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Uncategorized

Have Fun!

Why Are You Doing What You’re Doing?

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Gaming is amazing! Playing for fun and enjoyment connects you with people all around the world and helps build confidence and social skills and there has been some positive things written about gaming and you deserve to enjoy what you do. remember you started to game for fun and it’s important to remember that

When Things Get Competitive

Perhaps casual gaming turned into something more serious when you started to win. Others began to pay attention to you and offer you opportunities that excited you and raised your curiosity

When the competitive element is added, others can bring a sense of seriousness into the mix as their expectations to win, can sometimes affect your perspective because once winning and money are added to the equation, the purpose of gaming changes

Getting Real

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There is a mental shift when gaming shifts from ‘just for fun’, to ‘competing for prizes’ and some people can’t handle that shift and I wonder how these young teenagers do cope with the changes because it’s hard enough as a young teenager dealing with life changes without the added pressure of trying to live up to the expectations of others and unless you have a natural ability to stay grounded or receive training, when things get real, some can be overwhelmed and begin to fall apart

Is Being A Pro For You?

Being a pro isn’t for everyone and there’s no shame in admitting or accepting you’ve gone as far as you choose to go, yet the prizes, rewards and association with others can drive you to learn new strategy and perspectives, have an open mind to learning and improve quickly to stay ahead of the competition

I was speaking with someone in the British Esports Association earlier and he was telling me the bright lights and dreams of becoming a pro and earning millions, suck young gamers in, but there is little to help them manage the expectation so many are left very disappointed, overwhelmed and flapping around spending hours trying to make it when they don’t have a chance, but they cling to a dream

Have Fun

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Gaming is fun! Having a strategy is very important for your wellbeing and you need to be able to reflect and take stock of where you are and consider if you’re having fun as a professional gamer. If you’re not having fun you really need to ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing

There will be challenging times, there will be times when you lose, there will be times when you’re distracted, there will be times of success, there will be times of celebration and the roller coaster of ups and downs are part of being a professional gamer and if you can accept this and look after yourself, then you’re on the right path to success


Elite Sports Minds 23 offers insights such as this one but we also deliver services to help the esports industry focus on delivering a player centric approach to improve performance and value by recognising winning is simply an outcome of lots of things falling right and we know what needs to happen to win and want to share those insights with you

Please comment, share and like and remember…have fun!