Sports Coaching. Unleash your greatest potential.

Sports Psychology is nothing new, but in recent years it has definitely become more and more central to the performance and training regime for professional sportsmen and women. The mind has such a huge influence over our body, on all levels. You only have to try to type while someone looks over your shoulder and you see what a difference it makes to your accuracy and speed, and it’s exactly the same with sports performance at all levels, not just the professionals.

Everybody has seen football players miss the vital penalty kick, or a tennis player serving a double fault at high pressure moments. Their physical ability has not decreased at these moments, but their mental game suffers because of the pressure that they feel and this distracts them from being able to perform at their fullest potential.

Tiger Woods is another example of the impact of the psychological element of sports performance. Tiger was at the top of his game and his profession, utilising mental coaching and control with fantastic results. After the trouble with his personal life, and the scrutiny and stress that followed, his game suffered. He was not physically injured, but the distractions in him mind have made his physical performance suffer. I had no doubt that Tiger would return to the top, when he has fully dealt with the problems in his private life. He will then be able to focus fully on his game and recreate his previous amazing form.

I see amateur and pro golfers in my work within the field of Sports Performance Coaching, and one major difference between the two groups is not an innate talent for golf. Pro golfers invest in their mental game, they understand the need to develop and practise the psychological aspect of their game. Physical skill is vital, but it will only get you so far. There’s no point in having a fantastic swing on the driving range, but not being able to rely on it in a competition. Not being able to accurately putt or chip well when you’re being watched by other golfers is a common problem, but you can learn how to focus on the task at hand so you can utilise your skills in any situation.

Journalists and commentators talk about ‘The Zone’ when pro sportsmen and women are performing at the top of their ability. What is The Zone? Where is it? How do you get in it?

The Zone is just a state of focussed concentration. Where all expectations, sounds, analytical thoughts and worries are all pushed out of the conscious awareness, so the body is free to perform the sport without the hindrance of distractions. Getting in The Zone is not just luck or a random event. It can be learnt.

I can teach you how to get into this elusive Zone, using relaxation and visualisation techniques, so you can get out of your own way, leaving expectations, analysis and fears out of the equation, so you can performance to the best of your ability regardless of the situation you find yourself in. If you can pot a difficult shot on the snooker table when you’re practising on your own, then there’s no reason why you can’t do it again to win a competition, if you are in the right frame of mind.

I teach my Coaching clients how to relax, and trust their own abilities so they can focus on the task in hand and this stops them being held back by worries, distractions and self-criticism.

Visualisation is also a fantastic tool. Professional goal keepers can often be seen before kick off, standing in their goal and saving imaginary balls. By practising the movements and visualising the events of the game, the mind is preparing itself for the match. Mental rehearsal is just as good as physical rehearsal. By visualising successful performance, the mind is preparing itself to recreate that outcome, just like a self-fulfilling prophecy. And, the same goes the other way. If you predict a poor performance, you are setting yourself up for failure….

Sports Performance Coaching is not just for golfers. It can help players of any sport focus on improving their game so they achieve the best possible performance.

Golfers – Can improve their concentration, rely on their ability to perform consistently, eliminate distractions, and cope with competition pressure.

Fighters – Focus on refining skills and eliminating anxiety which affects reaction times, movements and posture. Remaining focussed on strategy and timing.

Tennis Players – Target specific situations which negatively affect their game, such as service game, tie breakers or playing in front of an audience.

Footballers – Eliminate distractions from a crowd, remain certain of their abilities in high pressure situations such as penalties, free kicks, and stay focussed on tactics and strategy regardless of how the match is going.

Runners/Cyclists/Triathletes – Commitment to training and goal setting. Coping with race stress. Identifying and changing areas of weakness.

Coaching can help anyone who suffers performance anxiety, performs below par when being observed by an audience or in a competitive situation, or suffers recurring issues with a specific element of their sport in a competitive environment.

Sports Performance Coaching will only make you better.