Categories
Tips Uncategorized

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

Categories
Uncategorized

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

Categories
My Journey

The Journey To Become The Most Sought After Sports Mental Performance Specialist Part 4

“The key to success is failure”

Michael Jordan

What criminals and basketball players have in common – Not what you expect!

After the success with the basketball player and actress, I wanted more but my mentor was letting me down and wasn’t providing the mentorship I expected from such a person; I was losing faith in his ability as a mentor and I’ll always remember a conversation I had with another of his mentees, but this isn’t the place to reveal that conversation.

Instead, I focused on expanding my mind and growing my skill set.

I had graduated from University and was working part time (damn government cutting jobs!) and thought it was the perfect time to build my character and skill set and perhaps another career lay ahead of me in the field of Emotional Intelligence.

The Emotional Intelligence Academy in Manchester was intriguing to me and I went across to an information day to find out what it was all about. I met the Director, Cliff, a great bloke with piercing eyes and after hearing about the ETaC (Evaluating Truth and Credibility) course that trained people in the crime industry identify truths and expose lies by analysing facial expressions, verbal cues and body language, I decided I wanted to learn more.

The science was born from the concepts of Doctor Paul Ekman who later helped consult on a popular TV program on SKY called Lie To me starring one of my favourite actors Tim Roth.

I found it fascinating and seriously considered a new career in this field but I was subconsciously attracted to putting these principles into sport and a thought entered my head as I could see how these concepts crossed over into sports and I now understood why I was such a good player when I was younger.

I had to explore this further because basketball needed solutions…or so I thought. More about this later.

Upon completion of the course and having spent a few days with some brilliant people around the world, I suggested to Cliff I wanted to transfer these theories into sport.

He looked at me with interest and agreed but we had to come up with some proof and data.

We came up with a plan which was to film players in a one on one situation and focus the camera on the attacker. By taking this approach, we could identify ‘tells’ and ‘leaks’ which when analysed and learned could give a defender relevant and purposeful information to help them gain an advantage.

But we needed a minimum number of participants and clips to study and use as evidence and Cliff came up with the number of 200 players and 1000 clips and when I first heard this I was, taken back!

Erm. What now!

I did a quick mental calculation in my head that involved recalling how many coaches and players I knew, my reputation in basketball and concluded I could pull it off.

I messaged my contacts and had a great response from players and coaches from professional to National league and amateur and all agreed for me to pick a time slot of around 15 minutes to come down to their training sessions and set up and film.

I had a mobile phone that I did the recording on but soon discovered this wasn’t enough and so Jordan, the son of Cliff who worked at the Academy, lent me a top camera which was a blessing!

Over three months, I travelled around the North West of England filming, reacquainting myself with players and coaches and really enjoying the process.

I remember one day after I’d canned some footage, taking it to the Academy and watching it back on the huge TV screen they use to really focus on the facial expressions. Having such a huge screen really does help identifying ‘tells’!

I had 1000 clips (well, 998 as two clips became corrupted) to analyse and break down so I started the arduous task of watching, pausing, rewinding each clip and making notes of what I observed without judging and after five weeks of intense focus, I had some results and backing up my theory as to why I was such a good player – I read body language and facial expressions really well.

Jordan helped co-write an academic paper (Click here to access it) and now I had to build a training program so I could help others.

I offered it to The National Governing Body of Basketball and even had a meeting with the head of coaching but it went nowhere! I felt exasperated! After all the effort I’d put in and knowing the level of British basketball wasn’t great and something needed to be done, why dismiss this new and powerful training program?

As part of the pilot scheme, I worked with former GB player Devan Bailey who saw and felt the improvements straight away!

I questioned why, and felt British basketball had let me down on two occasions now but I was learning a valuable lesson.

Even if a solution is staring you right in the face, unless you believe there is a problem, you won’t accept or reach out for help.

Mike Nichols

Sometimes life has a way of telling you to stop doing what you’re doing and to do something else.

It was 2014. I married and was working full time in Halifax/Leeds as a trainer, delivering training for the unemployed, integrating NLP and emotional intelligence concepts into my programs of delivery and was falling into a life of routine with the exception of working with a golfer wanting help with his putting. He continued to grow and win and is now pro and has been for about a year. He kindly said he’d recommend me to other athletes who are struggling.

I spent some time completing a Mindfulness course, A tutoring course and a teaching course so up-skill myself as I felt I needed to keep my mind occupied but something was missing. I had all these new skills and wasn’t doing anything with them. I was frustrated and mad at myself.

But then I had an idea!

I was inspired!

Football is like basketball in many ways, a team sport, defence and offence, close proximity to your opponents. Plus football has the money to invest. Perhaps…just perhaps football would be my saviour!

Find out next time how a call to the USA gave me hope!

Categories
My Journey

The Journey To Become The Most Sought After Sports Mental Performance Specialist Part 3

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change”

Albert Einstein

What the actress said to the…

It was still 2013 and I’d helped a professional basketball player improve his scoring in an unbelievable manner and I was hungry for more success.

I assumed because I had helped a professional player improve, there would be people knocking on my door asking to help. This player had also played for England and England, and indeed the GB players could be doing better.

Was I under the radar, did the teams have other agenda’s to improve performance or were they skeptical of my strategies? I’ll never know!

So I reached out to other people in the world and had three successes using NLP strategies and let me share with you the one client that felt the biggest shift.

I was approached by an actress, I can’t for the life of me remember how we connected, but her issue was one I had been trained to overcome and I was eager to help her.

She made it clear, when I visited her house, she shared with her husband, he wasn’t to know she was taking these sessions and so we had to coordinate an hours time slot over six weeks. She felt he may scoff at this type of help.

She would learn her lines for auditions, yet when she stood in front of three, maybe four people involved with casting, she panicked, lost focus and forgot her lines. She was divested at this recurring outcome.

This irrational fear was limiting her potential as she was creating a negative dialogue in her mind which was creating the emotion of fear and panic, leading her to fluff her lines.

We completed the Timeline strategy which got some movement from her, but it was another conversation we had that opened up some valuable information we had to explore further and deeper.

She had a friend. The actress had an underlying issue with this friend which was creating a block and that block was linked to her forgetting her lines.

Her friend would call her and ask to pick her up for auditions, but the actress was getting sick of it; plus her friend tended to get the roles over her. She was in direct competition with her friend.

She was tired of saying yes to her friend and wanted to learn to say ‘no’.

We talked and as I learned more about the actress, we formed a plan which included a strategy to help her say ‘no’ to her friend for the first time.

You may think saying no to someone is easy. Logically it is. But when you attach a fearful thought and emotion to that action, saying no can be the hardest thing to do in the world as we fear the worse.

So we prepared a dialogue both internally and externally until she was ready and I had her back.

She picked up the phone and dialled the number. As she dialled, I could see her tense up. Her shoulders lifted, her eyes widened and she looked imbalanced.

It was ringing!

We looked at each other and I gave her a look of confidence and when her friend picked up the phone, she went straight into character.

I heard every word and as soon as she hung up, her shoulders dropped as though a burden had been lifted and a huge smile came across her face!

She text me a few days later saying she’d got a part and was ecstatic!

NLP is powerful in so many ways as this actress learned and appreciated.

There is a simple formula that many people and coaches will tell you.

An Event leads to a thought, which leads to an emotion which leads to behaviour/actions/performance.

Event – Thought – Emotion – behaviour

It’s these four words that, when you’re ready to make change in your life, you need to understand and begin to become self-aware and learn to change your thoughts.

Although I had success with the actress, I wanted more and was thirsty for knowledge.

Find out next time why I travelled around the North West of England to film 200 basketball players.

If you’re interested in learning more about mental strategy and how it can help you, please visit me by clicking here

Categories
My Journey

The Journey To Become The Most Sought After Sports Mental Performance Specialist Part 2

“Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.”

Michael Jordan

When I got back home…

Something wasn’t sitting right with me.

Before I was leaving to head home and just before Ali made the comment about me being a great NLP Practitioner, he was waiting in a room with his staff, I believe his business partner and his PA and I went in and asked if there was anything I could do for him.

I was a little bit star struck as he presented himself as a celebrity Life Coach and had worked with Kelly Rowland and others and he talked the talk so I was happy to help him out and I thought showing my eagerness would show him I was serious about making a go of this NLP career.

But on my way back after completing the task he asked me to do, I turned the corner to the room and was met by faces that looked like they had just been caught discussing me behind my back. You know that sudden silence and blankness?

In hindsight, I should have said something but what do you say in those moments?

I left it, did what i needed to do and made my way back home.

NLP was new and exciting and I was eager to try it out and follow his instructions on how to make it in the self-development world.

This was it! This was the start of something special. I’d take my new skills, begin to help people, they would pay me handsomely and the world would be a better place.

But I had other things going on and my focus wasn’t as great as it could have been. I had applied to become a Games Maker for the 2012 Olympic Games and I was travelling down to London for Test Events and training. For a year I was part of the Process and in 2012 I was selected to be a basketball Games Maker filling the Field Of Play role, meaning, I was to be courtside for games! I had one vision for that Olympics which was to be sat court-side for the men’s final and I was determined to make sure it happened.

It was the night before the final and up to now I had been a professional volunteer and created memories and friends that I cherish even today. Watching the best players in the world compete close up was unreal!

One of the volunteers, Craig and I sat in a bar and talked about the final as we had both been selected to volunteer that game and we both knew the positions would be posted in the morning. We wanted to be posted in positions we wanted to be in. So we decided to text the manager and let him know the exact spots we wanted to accompany in the second half and waited.

The next morning as we checked the list, we broke out in huge smiles!

For the men’s final I was sat mid-court watching the USA take on Spain. I kept shifting my vision from the court to the people behind me, specifically the area where VIP’s were gathered including Arnold Schwarzenegger, David Stern,Boris Johnson and I believe David Beckham and Mark Zuckerberg. I sat still, taking in the atmosphere and feeling great because I took action to make this moment happen.

In 2013, I got a new lease of life and a focus.

I’m a basketball player and coach, so helping basketball players was first on my agenda. I started to research and found a newspaper column in the local paper the Manchester Evening News, written by a current player on the Professional basketball team The Manchester Giants.

I had a connection with the team, a friend who was the physio but also to the coach, Jeff Jones, whom I’d known for about 20 years. I knew a few of the players as well.

He told the readers he was struggling and wanted to get out of his slump, so naturally I reached out to him and we agreed to chat on the phone. I’d implement the NLP strategies I’d learned and it was this conversation that led to him writing an article on how he turned his game around.

Not only did he go from averaging 5 points a game and struggling, he exploded for 20 points and hit 100% from the field, a rarity in basketball!

But don’t take my word for it…read his column here.

After you’ve read the article, join me next time in part 3 as to why I hooked up with an actress!


Has the quick improvement of an athlete intrigued you?

Would you like to know how?

Categories
My Journey

The Journey To Become The Most Sought After Sports Mental Performance Specialist Part 1

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Lao Tzu

Back in 2011…

2011 was an eventful year for me. I was half way through a Sports Development Degree at the well known University of Bolton and I heard the government cut funding to most of the Sports Development Jobs! Shit! That’s my plan A out of the window! Now what?

The workings of the sporting mind had always interested me and as I was going through a period feeling lost and unvalued, I found myself walking aimlessly around WH Smiths in Bolton when a colourful book caught my attention.

Perhaps it was my subconscious leading me, fate, or just pure luck but whatever it was, I picked up this book and with a title “Just get on with it”, I just had to get on with it and buy the damn thing!

I read it from page to page in record time and at the back I found a contact email for the author. Instinct told me to reach out to say thanks for the insights, Ive opened my mind to new learnings and it really helped me in my time of need.

Not expecting a response, I left it and was pleasantly surprised to get a reply after about 2 hours.

To cut a long story short, the author, Ali Campbell, (not the lead singer from UB40) suggested I invest into becoming his mentee and as part of that deal, I was offered a place on his NLP Practitioner course up in Scotland.

I’d heard about NLP and at the time was unsure about what it was, how it worked but immediately said yes.

After splashing out a shit load of money, that I didn’t have but considered it a good investment in self development, i planned my trip up to Scotland around my full time studies.

The seven days were packed full of energy, insights, mind blowing strategy and techniques! I was hooked!

The people were amazing and we built strong bonds and I’m still in touch with some of those people today.

But it was our final day when we got to practice on an unsuspecting crowd of 200, I really believed NLP was the answer to my problems.

As I worked my way around the crowd of women, all in attendance to learn how to stop over eating and lose weight, trying to get to people before my fellow NLP Practitioners, I targeted an eager-looking woman and armed with a bar of chocolate, I performed the Compulsion Blowout technique and in just a few minutes, she was repelled by the sight of the chocolate!

Wow!

Was this for real!?

Or was she just falling into crowd mentality?

Just before I left for the long journey back to Bury, My mentor, told me I was ready to make a career out of helping people using NLP and after I arrived back home to sunny Bury in North Manchester, I focused on establishing myself as a top NLP Practitioner, helping people overcome phobias and changing mindsets.

But something wasn’t sitting right with me…

Join me for part 2 to find out what wasn’t sitting right with me

Categories
How Can You Help Me?

How I Can Help You In Your Moment Of Crisis

The very first thing you have to do is accept you aren’t in a place you want to be AND you want to do something about it.

Struggling and Tolerating

Many athletes struggle but think things will get better, things will change and struggling is part of the job. They tolerate and try to shoulder the burden and anxiety. They try to figure it out themselves or ask family and friends for their advice, which is nice, but unless your family and friends have the skills necessary to help you, the frustrations will linger.

Yet those few people who thrive, know differently.

They know a moment of crisis needs to be dealt with because if it isn’t the path to self-destruction isn’t too far away.

They know they need to do something about it!

You deserve to thrive again

Consider what you’ve been through to get to where you are as a professional athlete

You’ve spent hours, days, weeks, months, years, developing your physical and technical abilities to get you to where you are today.

You’ve challenged yourself, pushed yourself and lived a life, very few people on the planet can say they lived.

Perhaps you’ve had great sponsorship

Perhaps you’re very well paid

Perhaps you’ve won awards

Perhaps you’ve even won a World Cup and been number 1 in the world?

But something changed

Something isn’t right and when was the last time you had mental performance training?

Honestly….

I didn’t think so.

There is no club, NGB, college or university that trains you in mental performance coaching

Listen, I’ve spoken to current and former professionals and one thing they all say is they wished they had reached out sooner rather than later, or had someone they could trust, to contact in that moment of crisis.

You always have options. You always have other perspectives to consider, but most of the time, these choices and options are either hidden from you as others try to manipulate you, or you are that stressed out, you can’t see the answer, even it came up behind you and kicked you in the ass!

How Can I Help You?

I can help you by listening to you without judging

I can help you by understanding your situation

I can help you by understanding you and not using jargon that just confuses you

I can help you understand how to move forward quickly in a discreet and confidential manner.

Only you and I need to know what’s said between us because once you’re thriving again, others will benefit from your improved performance including your family, team-mates, coach and others who put their faith in you like the fans.

If you know someone who is in a crisis moment, and you know this by their mood change and poor performance, let them know you can help by asking them to read this post then click here to start moving away from stress and towards thriving