Archive for the 'Motivation' Category

Listen up babies!

Champions aren’t born, they’re made.

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September 13th

For some, the number 13 is unlucky, not for me. In fact it’s a very special number.

When it comes to sports psychology, there is a fine line between rituals and superstitions and what I call “routines” for success. The former create a false sense of certainty (with no benefit) whereas well designed “routines” significantly improve your chance for success because YOU control them and they are directly tied to the outcome you want.

A superstition can be:

  • Not walking on the white lines of a tennis court after a rally is over
  • Placing your water/juice bottles with the labels all facing one direction
  • Not leaving the squash court without hitting a nick
  • Always being the last player on or off the court
  • Tying and untying your shoes 3 times each time you put them on

A routine can be:

  • Making sure you have no less than 3 wristbands in your sports bag
  • Having 3 or 4 rackets strung at the same tension
  • Warming up for 15 minutes at least an hour before your match
  • Getting up 2 or 3 hours before a morning match to be fully awake.
  • Taking the time to tie your shoes properly

When superstitions get out of hand, you’ll slip into Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)… That is something you want to avoid at all costs. It IS preventable, but breaking the superstitions as soon as they “Start”.

Coaches and parents should STOP this behaviour immediately in young, junior players who don’t fully understand the long-term ramifications of developing OCD tendencies. Many top players now afflicted with OCD readily admit (in their published biographies) that they shouldn’t have started them in the first place, but are now “stuck” with them.

 

 

 

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Two secret words to win the British Open Golf Championship

Rory McIlroy looked out at a room packed with reporters and knew he was going to disappoint them.

All week, he had talked about two secret words he used as his trigger for the shots he played. Even as he stretched his lead to six shots going into Sunday, he said he would only reveal them if he were to win the British Open.
Rory McIlroy

In the hours before he teed off, the media put one pound ($1.70) in a pot and tried to guess the two words. “Very simple,” McIlroy said, the claret jug at his side. “It’s going to be a big letdown for everyone. It was ‘process’ and ‘spot.’ That was it.”

And the meaning? “With my long shots, I just wanted to stick to my process and stick to making good decisions, making good swings,” he said. “The process of making a good swing, if I had any sort of little swing thoughts, just keeping that so I wasn’t thinking about the end result, basically.”

The “spot” was about his putting. “I was just picking a spot on the green and trying to roll it over my spot,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking about holing it. I wasn’t thinking about what it would mean or how many further clear it would get me. I just wanted to roll that ball over that spot. If that went in, then great. If it didn’t, then I’d try it the next hole.”

I highlight this because non-champions (1) don’t do this, (2) try to make it more complicated than it is, (3) are not quite sure how ‘this’ works, and (4) don’t educate or inform themselves on how to develop their mental game.

That’s why they aren’t the ones holding the trophies, standing on the podium, accepting the awards, winning the championships.

 

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Every sport has rules or does it?

This video is one of those instances where you can choose a pro or con argument. I will pick the pro argument.

What I admire is that he doesn’t stop – he keeps on going – no matter what.

That is what I choose to focus on – the perseverance and desire to win.*

YouTube Video: http://www.youtube.com/v/ewckPYePzbU

* I am NOT advocating cheating and winning at “all costs”. I am mindful of the intellectual challenges of the contestants, but maybe, just maybe we can learn something useful here.

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  • Don’t give up.
  • Do it your own way.
  • F_ _ _ the rules! Sometimes it’s the only way to get things done.
  • Give it your best shot.
  • Give 100% each and every time.
  • Leave it all out there, don’t hold anything back.

Add to the list with a comment below.

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Success is a lousy teacher…

…It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose. This is true in sport as it is in business and life in general.

Bill-Gates-Success-is-a-lousy-teacher

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Minutes make a difference

If you weren’t sure if practicing makes a difference, here is an interesting chart showing that minutes make a difference.

Minutes-hours-in-a-day-chart

Of course if you are going to practice, you need to use Deliberate Practice techniques to make sure you are improving while you are practicing.

Practice does NOT make perfect – Practice makes permanent.

Only perfect practice makes perfect

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Willoughby Squash – Motivational Messages

If you play squash at Willoughby Squash Club, you’ll notice new motivational messages at the entrance to the men’s and women’s changing rooms. It’s a fantastic reminder to focus on the mental side of the game – inspiring positive thinking and enhancing mental toughness.
Willoughby Squash - Messages -2

What additional motivational messages or Words Of Wisdom would you want to add?

Willoughby Squash - Messages -1

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Negative Self Talk: Stop It!

I recently presented mental toughness strategies at the East Coast Squash Academy‘s Adult Squash camp organised by squash professional Aaron Frankcomb at Willoughby Squash Club in Sydney. Attended by a wide range of squash players, it became quite obvious that squash is a very demanding sport physically and technically where attention to stroke execution, shot selection and court movement can provide beneficial results.

While focusing on technical improvement can yield incremental results over time, today’s lesson can produce INSTANT results and in some extreme cases, a quantum leap forward!

Please watch this video and then scroll down.

The next time you are on the squash court and hear yourself talking negatively about something you just did or that just happened…

STOP IT!

Think back to this video as your pattern interrupt.

The first step is to Stop it – then you will need to replace the negative self-talk with something positive.

Sports psychologists have known for decades that the mind can (1) only have one thought at a time and (2) it cannot focus on the REVERSE of an idea or thought. What that means is that if you say “don’t tin the ball, or don’t choke or don’t boast“, the brain only hears “tin the ball, or choke or boast.”

First things first – Stop It and come back to this blog for more on how to replace negative self talk with positive self affirmations. There are a few “tricks” to getting this right…

Just like today’s distinction – most players don’t know this stuff!

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Willpower is like a battery…

Every once in a while I learn something new that I know will change my life from this day forward…

Until recently, I did not know that willpower was affected by what we eat and what we do. For example, you decide you want to do exercise or are watching what you eat. You have the willpower to make the decision and stick to it… But then something happens to reduce your willpower – not a threat or obstacle to your goal, but sometime to reduce your WILL to stick to your plan!

For example, if you are working really hard intellectually, using your mind on a highly focused task – your willpower for your exercise or diet will decrease!

The more we use our minds, the less minding (will) power we have.

Are you as shocked as I was?!?!?

WOW!

So whatWillpower and batteries do we need to do when we create a (willpower) deficit? Recharge it! Simple as that. Have something healthy to eat, do some exercise, do something you enjoy and like doing, rest and recuperate. Recharge your willpower and you’ll quickly notice it’s easy to stick to the (your) plan.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not obstacles or your desire to achieve your goals that wanes – it’s the willpower that ebbs and flows throughout your day. As you would expect, left unchecked, your willpower will diminish as your day progresses. If you are committed to your goal(s), you need to plan to recharge your willpower as much as you do getting your running shoes out and/or cooking that healthy meal.

 

 

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Winners and losers quote

Losers visualize the penalties of failure. Winners visualize the rewards of success.

Losers - Winners Quote

Sometimes a quote says it all, but often you’re left with the feeling that you’d like to make a change, but you’re not sure how to make it.

One sure fire way is to read books on mental toughness. Click on the hyperlink for a list of the best ones I’ve read, including biographies and autobiographies of sport champions and legends. It helps if you can Speed Read, but that is a topic for another day.

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