The Game within the Game slideshow
I thought I would post one of my PowerPoint presentations on the game within the game. It is how I often introduce sport psychology and mental training to parent groups. It is performance oriented and takes a more research or academic based approach to mental training. Come view the slide show and see many of the topics covered in mental training and how it can be a benefit to athlete who decide to travel this road. Mental training is an important aspect of the athletic experience.
This is the third post in my series about the effects Sport Psychology and Mental Skills Training can have on Jr. “A” Level Hockey Players. I am indebted to JuniorHockey.com for posting these to the hockey community.
In the original I talked about four important skill sets. Relaxation: Imagination/Visualization: Self-confidence: Concentration. Of course these are not the only skills an athlete needs to work on, but it was a good place to get started as they have great impact and the terminology is easy to understand. Last week’s focus was on Relaxation .
This post focuses on Imagery Training.
Imagination/Visualization: What if we could practice more shots every single day? What if we allow that it takes 10,000 repetitions to groove a movement to a level of expertise? If Perfect Practice really makes perfect, through the use of imagery and visualization we can learn new skills and perfect them faster by using our minds. So let’s use the time we have wisely in order to find success. Utilize visualization techniques for both learning and accelerating your performance–in everything you do.
I have a great deal of experience in the area of applied imagery training. There are many diverse skills an athlete can develop with the aid of imagery. While working with athletes, I have developed these basic guidelines:
- define realistic goals and limitations which are sport- specific
- utilize relaxation training to prepare for imagery
- develop a very clear image or feeling of the successful performance
- maintain periodic surveillance over the athlete’s experience
Lecture and Hypnosis Demonstration for the Issaquah High School Psychology classes. History and use of hypnosis and how it is applied to sports. As I have been mentioning I recently made fourteen Hypnosis / Guided Imagery for Sports mp3s for a company called Best in U. I’ve already written that my involvement in hypnosis goes back maybe 40 years. I have used hypnosis with athletes and others individually and in groups. But until two weeks ago I never had done an active demonstration with an audience. So here is the story.
The day before Thanksgiving I did a lecture and demonstration for the Issaquah High School Psychology classes. My son is in the class and I have known the teacher for 10 years or so. This was the first time that I had volunteered to come into his class. I wanted to provide the students with something interesting that would get them thinking about how important psychology is to sports and other types of performance. I knew from talking with my son that this would be of interest to his class. His teacher Josh Moore was excited to have me in to provide a real link to his students on applied psychology. I asked him if as part of the presentation he would like to be hypnotized.
He had seen stage hypnosis before, but had never had a directed experience. I thought I would be just coming into class one day and do a short demo. Instead Mr Moore asked me to come in on a short day prior to Thanksgiving. This gave him control of time and place. So instead of meeting in the classroom he set it up that I would do the lecture in the brand new Issaquah High School Theater with three sections of students instead of one. Instead of 40 minutes I would have 90.
This was interesting for me as I said because with all of my experience I never had an occasion to do a stage like show using hypnosis. This was going to be fun, and in truth a trip for me into the unknown. Could I do a rapid induction on a single subject in front of my sons friends? Just have to see I guess. So here is the rapid induction.
If you go to my YouTube channel you can see more, including the teacher laughing, singing and demonstrating other aspects of hypnosis. My YouTube channel is SportPsychConsult . Just click on the link and like magic you are there.
This is of course only the demo. The first part was a lecture on hypnosis with class participation so they understood important concepts like relaxation, suggestibility and concentration, all critical aspects in performance success in sports and life. The video is grainy because we were negligent in asking someone to light the stage for video. We ended the session with a great Q & A session.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
What does an athlete do when they are working very hard and their performance is not improving? The answer of course depends a lot on what they are doing. Let’s assume for a moment that they are doing the right physical training, they are even doing some mental training. We can look at their diet and make sure that is headed in the right direction. We can do an analysis with their coaches and see if it is a mechanical issue or not. If all of these things are in alignment, then what do we do?
I have come across this many times both in sports and in business. An athlete and their support are doing everything the way they should be done. I’ve seen many business approach things the same way. Everything we are doing is right based on research and experience. We just can figure out what is wrong. Einstein wrote that; “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” This can be true in both sports and business. Sometimes all of the right things are not right for an individual. Sometimes our best research model does not fit the subject. So what do we do is this instance.
It seems to me we have three choices. First choice and while it is rather negative, sometimes in athletics you have to throw in the towel and say it is time to retire. This is always the hard choice. I spend my life trying to keep people from quitting, but on occasion, given circumstances it is the right choice. Maybe the body just isn’t recovering like it used to. Sometimes life moves on. The same in business can also e true. Sometimes the star business person needs to move on either to another business or to count their money. Maybe they burned out or are so entrenched in their business model that this is a needed step.
Choice two is perhaps an easier one to stomach. Bring in someone new to help evaluate the situation. Maybe an outside set of eyes can help determine the right direction. We see this in both the sport and business world. It is especially prevalent in sports. The solution is of course fire the coach or manager. Sometimes that step alone changes the dynamic of the athlete’s situation and performance improves. It may provide a different sort of motivation or perhaps the communication just changes and everyone hears better. This is often the solution that works. So what is the third choice?
Solution three might just be viewed as different. What it involves is change. Maybe for this particular athlete, team or business the right thing was right after all. Maybe breaking some of the training rules is needed. Reexamining training methods and then going against the norm might be the best thing for an individual. Looking back at diets and saying maybe the body needs more junk (not a popular notion), but maybe they just need a little food break. An athlete might even be too focused. All of the mental training they have been doing (this is of course more on the rare side) may mean they need to take a break. I worked with an athlete whom I won’t name that set a world record for his event in the nude. It was just a way for him and his team mates to blow off some steam. Another world class distance runner I worked with we had to force time off. He just needed a change. He wasn’t over training. He felt good, but he wasn’t making progress. So we did the opposite and shut him down for three weeks. Toughest three weeks of his life he said. Came back and won his next race with a PR. Did his body or mind need the rest? The answer is perhaps. I think more he needed a change. He needed a change to refocus his energy. He needed a change to perhaps rekindle his motivation for running. He trained as hard as any athlete I ever knew, but maybe it was out of habit and not out of passion. Forcing change made him refocus on himself. He had to decide what to do next.
I have had a conversation a dozen or so times with athletes towards the ends of their careers. Performance had leveled off and they were not sure what the right thing to do was. In these instances I forced a mental shift. I suggested that they quit. I forced them to think about change. In the end most of them rededicated themselves and continued till they felt the time was right. On two occasions the athletes retired. Years later they said they knew it was the right thing to do. Of course they didn’t talk to me for years because of my suggestion. They were angry at the forced change. They were angry at having to look so deeply into themselves. Sometimes change causes pain, mostly it brings about enlightenment.
So what does an athlete do when their work is taking them nowhere fast? They look to change as the agent to move forward. Einstein had so many answers to many of life’s issues. Of course he had his issues as well. He loved to sail. He would sail for hours yet have difficulty finding his way back home. Seems the laws of physics and mathematics didn’t apply to little sail boats on small lakes. Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
There is magic in the world
There is magic in the world. I’ve seen it, heard it, touched it and smelled it, not to mention tasted it. Magic is all around us in my world and probably in yours. My world is filled with games. In my world we play games for fun and games to see how good we are and can be. I’ve seen people fly and I’ve seen them disappear. People grow into giants and shrink until they are nothing at all. This is my world , it is the world of sport.
Competitors all around can achieve everything and take nothing. This is the nature of sport and the nature of magic. Where does the magic come from, well mostly it is within you. How we get it to come out isn’t half as important as realizing that most of it is already there inside you.
Those of us that are sometimes call magicians, because we understand some of the language of magic can be of assistance in helping you find your magic, so that you can soar to new heights and dance your way to success.
Those of us with magic wands are the ones that know it is our responsibility to show others how to use their own magic. We do not wave our wands to enable athletes to find their aspirations; rather we help them discover their own magic so that it may be called upon at will.
The magic of the mind to go along with the instrument of their body is a marvelous thing to behold. Regardless of the level, watching people succeed can be breathtaking. Today I saw some magic with an athlete I have been working with for some time. She played her best game. She did it on her own. She discovered the magic inside her was bigger than the magic in the other players around her.
This magic comes in many types. This young woman’s magic was the one called confidence. Confidence is powerful magic. It can make you soar. Today she soared and I am grateful and gratified that I witnessed it. Like the baby bird being pushed out of the nest, I suspect that she will now understand much more about how to use her magic, be it confidence, belief, her imagination or mental toughness she is now in control. As a teacher of magic, as one who defines much of who he is by how his students perform, by my standards it was a very good day.
The more magic in the world, the more joy there is for all of us. When people discover what a marvelous magical ability they have at their command, by using their mental skills, it is a wondrous thing to behold. The athlete within you knows this magical state. Come share in their elation of understanding this state, it is not for all, but can be. It is learned by all, understood by few and wielded by artists. Why we all don’t get to use the magic may be in the way it was taught to us. I know I am a far better magic teacher than magician. Some are better students. The way we were taught it determines if we can waive the wand properly. We can be educated, but you have to want to do that.
So come spend some time in the magical world of sports. See if you can control the magic. Or does it control you?