How to Develop & Maintain Your BMT

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When you’re the master of something, and the moment calls for it, you need to let your skill take over, and not allow your conscious mind to dictate your performance. This is essentially what BMT (Big Match Temperament) is in its truest form.

This pertains to a balance of the following:

  • Self-Awareness
  • Concentration
  • Confidence
  • Control
  • Commitment
  • Coping Strategies

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These are some of the mental qualities that are widely believed to have a key influence on performance. Not only in sport, but in many other areas too – think acting, performing music etc. Developing techniques for setting goals, relaxation and visualisation can all go a long way in achieving and maintaining your highest level of performance.

Adding to the above, big match temperament is a quality that all successful teams and athletes have. It is the way these teams and individuals handle high-pressure situations. This quality defines their success and ultimately sets them apart.

It’s performance anxiety that gets the better of some, so let’s look at how we can overcome that anxiety and perform with BMT on a more regular basis. First, let’s look at some of the symptoms of performance anxiety:

  • If your pulse goes up and you start breathing rapidly
  • Experiencing a dry mouth or a tight throat
  • When your hands, knees, lips, and voice start to tremble
  • Sweaty hands
  • Sudden Nausea and an uneasy feeling in your stomach
  • Impaired vision

If we learn to confront our fears and vulnerabilities, we have then taken the first step towards overcoming performance anxiety. It’s the feelings of nervousness, anxiety, and fear that tend to interfere with the athlete’s ability to deliver.

There are two major things that are the reasons for this:

  • The audience (external pressure)
  • The athlete has immensely elevated expectations of themselves

The audience is one thing, but it’s important for us to understand that the thoughts we have towards an event on the day can be altered through effective sports psychology work. One of the most difficult things is trying to be at your best when your inner voice is telling you otherwise.

A sports psychologist is there to help an athlete understand that these thoughts or feelings are natural but that by adhering to the following tips and working hand in hand with their sports psychologist and coaches, they can be overcome or altered:

Reducing performance anxiety prior to the event

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Visualisation/mental preparation

Prior to the event, take some time to visualise your ideal performance. For lack of a better term, It’s essentially a ‘mental rehearsal’. With deep breaths, picture yourself doing everything right. Try and be as detailed as you can. Use all your senses – what you can hear (the crowd, music? Voices from your teammates), touch (what the cricket bat feels like in your hands, or the ball on your feet), smell (the stadium etc). Imagine feeling ready, that you are confident. Visualise what your self-talk is like, and your normal preparation routines. Sure, things may change during the event, but an athlete or sportsman must go into a match with this mental preparation.

Physically prepare

Besides training, sportsman or athletes should arrive early to an event and complete a thorough warm-up. This goes hand in hand with the mental aspect. This is your quiet time. This is your opportunity to get in the zone.

Nervousness is natural

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Feeling anxious and nervous before having to perform at a high-level is completely natural. Instead of trying to disregard this sensation, embrace it and use it to focus. The key is not to focus on it, but to treat it as par for the course.

Don’t focus on the outcome

This can be a challenge, but the key here is to remain present. Try not to think about the near future, or worse, the outcome of the game whilst performing. This can cloud your judgment and end up stifling otherwise instinctual reactions.

Force yourself to be positive

When thinking negatively, force yourself to think positively – this can be achieved by forcing yourself to smile and keeping yourself motivated – after all, you are doing what you love. It sounds contradictory, but you should try it. You are in charge; your mindset is your own and can easily be changed in a split second.

Follow these simple tips and you’ll notice a substantial drop in your anxiety levels. Looking at it from an empirical position, there’s obviously a lot more to it, but that is why working with a sports psychologist to quell performance anxiety is imperative.

If you’re looking for a sports psychologist for your team, or for yourself, Tom Cross from Awaremind can have extensive experience in the areas of performing under pressure and mental resilience in challenging environments.

Tom has worked at the Olympic Games, World Cups, European Championships and in professional Football, Rugby and Cricket. He has experience working with individuals, teams, coaches, performance directors and support staff, helping them to maintain consistently high performances. To find out more, get in touch or visit our site to view testimonials and case studies.

Sports Psychologist: Why Your Team Needs One

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Throughout a season, there are many problems that a team, individual athlete or squad may face. At times, they are arguably uncontrollable challenges such as injury, low morale or a bad run of form. In some instances, teams, managers and training staff may have to face this level of pressure simultaneously, which may cripple a team that do not have the right foundations.

On the flip side, teams may be faced with positive challenges throughout a season –  especially when performing well. There are certain levels of pressure that go hand in hand with success which may not always be simple to deal with. Building upon high morale, maintaining togetherness, capitalizing on a winning streak and keeping common goals and focus aligned throughout a team. These can be equally as challenging.

In order to effectively deal with these mental challenges, you may want to consider a sports psychologist.

Why?

Collective and individual mentality can play a crucial role in helping reduce negative outcomes when faced with these types of hurdles.

So, let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons why your team needs a sports psychologist.

 

Performing Under Pressure

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As a sportsman, when losing an important game, experiencing mistakes or taking on a specific responsibility in a match, your heart rate may rise because of the stress hormones (cortisol) your brain releases. This could also be perceived and experienced as becoming tired quicker than usual. Sports psychologists assist with this by providing tools and techniques to help deal with pressure. These include:

  • Mental Skills:
    • Breathing practices and techniques
    • Positive visualisation and imagery
    • Understanding your self-talk and what works and what doesn’t
    • Accepting and being non-judgemental on negative thoughts, doubts, fears etc
  • Mental toughness/resilience training

This type of training helps athletes respond properly to an increased heart rate caused by pressure so as to manage fatigue and help maintain performance levels.

Enhancing Mental Performance

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You may need a sports psychologist for your team to help your athletes overcome the fears involved in high-performance sport such as:

  • The fear of failure and letting the team down
  • The fear of embarrassment (this may affect an individual’s ability to take risks and perform at their best)
  • Performance anxiety – affects athletes that are highly talented and dedicated (may develop concerns over their individual performance and what people think about their performance.)

The role of a sports psychologist is to teach mental skills to help athletes achieve enhanced performance. You may look to a sports psychologist when your team is struggling with:

  • Confidence – on an individual or team level – lack of trust in their ability.
  • Focus – is your team focused on the things that they can control and have an impact on?
  • Communication – a balance of challenge and support? Is there a level of healthy conflict?
  • Intensity – are your team members motivated? Do they understand their ‘why’?

The role of a sports psychologist may run deeper than just performance on the pitch. When an athlete is performing at their best both mentally and physically, that energy and satisfaction may affect their personal lives positively too.

Dealing with Injury

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Coming back after injury can have a massive effect on an athlete’s mind. One of the main reasons for having a sports psychologist is to help individuals overcome the mental scars that may develop when overcoming or returning from a long-term injury.

They may have healed physically, but coping with the pressures that are associated with returning and maintaining their prior level of performance (getting back to their best) can be tricky. This is where a sports psychologist can help.

Through teaching individuals how to practice certain specialized techniques and methods, sports psychology may go a long way in helping an athlete through this stressful process, helping them get back to their best in as little time as possible.

Mentally Prepare for Competition

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Sports psychologists may be able to help athletes facing internal and external pressures when competing. In most cases, there has been a lot of time, effort, and money invested in the journey of a sportsman. From junior to senior level. When competing at a professional level, there is usually a lot of history and support that goes along with that.

The pressure that comes with support from parents, friends, financial backers, coaches and their club may prove too much. Having a negative effect on the individual’s overall performance.

A sports psychologist can assist in helping the individual focus on the task at hand as well as a team’s own expectations.

At Awaremind, we work with individuals, teams, coaches, performance directors and support staff, helping them to maintain consistently high performances throughout the season. We have specialist knowledge in the areas of performing under pressure and mental resilience in challenging environments. So, if a sports psychologist is something your team may need, get in touch with us – we thrive off of helping teams perform at their absolute best.

Confidence Coach: How One Can Improve Your Overall Performance

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No matter who you are or what you do for a living, what sort of upbringing you had or what your place is in this world, all of us suffer from a lack of confidence from time to time.

A lot of us feel that we need to bear the weight that a lack of confidence or low self-esteem brings, all on our lonesome. Yes, it’s a condition that comes from within and brought out by external factors, but it is most certainly not a challenge you need to face on your own.

Having a low self-esteem or a lack of confidence are truly complex states to be in and have been studied by professionals for over a century. Self-esteem as a distinct psychological construct is believed to have its origins in the works of William James who was a philosopher and psychologist in the late 1800’s.

Remember this; you’re not alone, nor are you the first to experience this.

Who can help?

Confidence coaches. They help you generate a positive outlook on life and raise the image that you have of yourself.

Whether it be in business, sports or everyday life, let’s look at how a confidence coach can improve your overall performance.

In business:

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In order to be truly successful in your career, confidence is critical. There’s no doubt about it. Having a deep sense of self-belief can have an incredibly positive effect on your daily tasks as well as on the the people around you. If you are feeling low on confidence, a confidence coach may be able to assist in the following:

  • Overall leadership coaching (focusing on transformational leadership)
  • Small business coaching (how to help you build up the confidence to take risks)
  • Conflict resolution (empowering you with the tools to deal with the conflict between employees or colleagues)
  • Talent development & transitions into new roles
  • Management coaching (having the confidence to manage people effectively)
  • Public speaking (how to speak with gravitas and conviction)
  • Anger management (how to turn your anger into a positive tool)
  • Stress management
  • Executive coaching
  • Team relationships using Insights Discovery Personality Profiles

Confidence coaches can also assist with keeping you motivated in terms of achieving your short and long-term goals. At Awaremind, we focus on the improvement of self-awareness in organisations, teams, and individuals. We strive to assist in creating the sort of confidence that drives and delivers consistently high performance, which is somewhat seen as a necessity in modern-day business.

In sport:

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In sport, confidence plays an integral role when it comes to good form, team spirit, and overall performance. Some may go so far as saying that it’s the most powerful mental factor for an athlete.

What stems from confidence?

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Belief, desire and among others, big match temperament. Some believe that confidence is a skill, that you don’t have to show signs of it from an early age, but that it can be learned just like any other technique. A skill that can be refined or sharpened if you will.

Comparable to business, so too can confidence coaches assist with professionals in sport, no matter the level or environment of the athlete. With continued focus, effort, and repetition, a confidence coach may help a sportsman with the following:

  • Performing under pressure
  • Leadership development focusing on transformational leadership
  • Increasing resilience in individuals & teams
  • Talent development & transitions from Junior or Academy to the professional ranks
  • Self-awareness leading to self-regulation (coping skills)

It’s safe to say that allowing a confidence coach to assist with the challenges you face in life can only be a beneficial undertaking for you and the people around you – your loved ones want to see you grow and perform at your best. When your confidence is high and you’re succeeding, you’re the greatest version of yourself.

Awaremind’s chief emphasis is based on increasing self-awareness. In doing so, it allows for the adoption of coping strategies, leading to a greater sense of control, improving confidence and driving achievement for the individuals or teams we work with.

If you’re currently struggling with confidence, be it in business or sports, get in touch with us. Our founder, Tom Cross, has the expertise to help you improve your self-esteem and achieve consistently elevated levels of performance in business, sport, and the performing arts.

 

The Benefits Of Having A Sports Psychologist For Your Team

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The success and morale of a sports team depend on a multitude of aspects, whether they are internal, external, controllable or uncontrollable. Some of these aspect include:

  • Leadership
  • Talent
  • A good balance of challenge and sport
  • Healthy communication
  • Commitment
  • Cohesion
  • An unclouded vision and plan
  • Values that people buy into
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Great coaches and support staff

These are seen as the fundamentals that make an effective team, but there is a whole lot going on behind the scenes that most people wouldn’t know about.

From an individual perspective, how does an athlete/sportsman operate? How do they maintain form, well-being, motivation and mental health? We all know that when one person in the team is out of sorts and under-performing, it can have a severely negative effect on the overall team performance.

A fantastic team is not just about life and activity on the training grounds or on the field, but also about life away from the game. There are many facets that affect a player and, unfortunately, not everything is in the coach or fellow team members’ control.

This is where a Sports Psychologist  can support the team. You may be wondering what the role of a Sports Psychologist is? In this blog, we’re going to look at what a sports psychologist is, what they do and what the benefits of having one are.

So, let’s get started:

What is a Sports Psychologist?

A Sports Psychologist draws knowledge from a broad variety of related fields, including subjects such as biomechanics, physiology, kinesiology, and psychology.

Sports Psychology involves the study of how psychological elements in humans affect performance. It also focuses on how the constant participation in sport and exercise affects psychological and physical elements in the human mind and body respectively.

What does a Sports Psychologist do?

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The role of a sports psychologist is to assist athletes, helping them reach their optimum performance level..

They can be full-time or part-time consultants, assisting performers with the following

  • Assist with factors that influence success on the field like confidence, motivation, team dynamics, communication, focus, etc.
  • Post-injury (psychological factors that come with injury).
  • The effects that sport and athletic involvement has on an individual.
  • Assist with factors that influence success on the field.
  • Off-field factors.
  • Mental effects of career transition (moving clubs, making the first team etc.).

In a nutshell, they assist in enhancing an athlete’s performance, as well as helping them cope with the pressures and commitment that comes with participating in competitive sport. Ensuring that they are on top of their game mentally so that they can also enjoy what they do.

What are the benefits of having a Sports Psychologist for your team?

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The benefits of having a Sports Psychologist assist a team and its individual members are remarkable. The benefits aren’t only apparent when things aren’t going well. They are also applicable to athletes and sportsman who want to prepare themselves for the future. It can help them reach the next level. Psychology tools can help them with:

  • Setting goals (helping determine realistic ones and goals that probably aren’t achievable).
  • Methods of relaxation before and after the game.
  • Assist in off field factors.
  • Mental training – including concepts like self-talk & preparation routines.
  •  Managing distractions – keeping a clear focus on the things that matter under pressure.
  • Helping sports people to be independent learners and curious about their own performances, so they can reflect and put into action incremental performance gains.

Think about it in this way – how much of your performance in sports is down to your mental state? Sports psychologists help with mental training in the following ways:

  • Improving your confidence.
  • Assisting in faster technique acquisition.
  • Managing your emotions.
  • Improving your self-talk.
  • Helping you set realistic goals.
  • Helping you improve your focus.
  • Enhancing your motivation.
  • Helping you discover and harness more effective practices.

According to Believe Forum, “Sports psychology is not just about improving athletic performance. Sports psychology plays a much more significant role than that regarding overall performance.

It can be about developing interventions which help to prevent mental health among the athletic population. It can also be about be about teaching athletes transferable skills that they can use in not only sport but also in work and family life.

If you are wanting a sports psychologist personally or one for a sports team that you are coaching/managing, we have one available for you. Head over to our website, we’ll bring out your ability.

 

Sports Performance: How To Stay Motivated When You Feel Like You’re Underperforming

The life and sports performance of an athlete is much like that of a business cycle, with its highs and lows. during a high, you’re fit and in form, everyone loves you and you feel as if you could conquer the world. That’s where everyone wants to be. In order to achieve your goals, being fit, maintaining your form, and perseverance are absolutely vital. The desire and motivation to improve your performances can be seen as the driving force in becoming a successful sportsman. Motivation is everything.

When you’re ‘in a low’ it can feel as if your entire world is caving in, like nothing is going your way. Whether it’s a lack of form or fatigue setting in, it destroys your morale , which can have a huge effect on your success. When you feel this way, it can, at times, prove impossible to think that there’s a dawn on the horizon.

One of the most important factors here is having the self-awareness to catch yourself dipping early. Do you know the first sign of you dipping in mood or performance or interpersonal relationships? Maybe you don’t show up in work or on the pitch as you normally do and you avoid people or situations? In order to stay motivated the key thing is to catch yourself early when you are dipping and be pro-active with coping strategies to pull yourself back up to a good performance level.

So, how do you stay motivated when it feels like you’re underperforming? How does one dig deep in moments of uncertainty and disdain? How do you pick yourself up out of a rut when there are mountains of external pressure surrounding you?

There are several suggestions to help you get through these moments, and we’re going to touch on a few below:

Positivity

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Power of thought is crucial. There are many ways to maintain a positive mindset, especially when the going gets tough:

Surround yourself with positive people

These can be close friends, family, your trainer, teammates, etc. Just make sure to separate yourself from people that dwell on the negatives, whether it be in their life or yours. You can surround yourself with one of two people:

  • Energy givers, who add value to your energy and life.
  • Energy sappers, who are people that drain the energy from your life.

What’s more, it’s about being able to experience other things apart from the one thing that gains most of your focus. For example, an elite sports professional who volunteers at his local charity.

It’s about being grateful for where you are and practicing some gratitude work every morning – a suggestion is to become aware of or write down the things in your life that you feel grateful for. The small things.

Spend your time doing positive things

Whether it’s reading motivational books, blogs and articles or watching positive documentaries – or even watching footage of your positive performances in the past.

Focus your energy on things that uplift you. It’s all in the mind. If you continuously see yourself succeeding, coupled with hard work and determination, it will come.

It’s also key to know your strengths. If you don’t, we recommend you do some work reflecting on what your top 3 strengths in your role are and what your top 3 strengths as a human being are. It’s key to know these and be able to recall them when needed to boost confidence and motivation.

As Roy T. Bennet said: “Keep Going. Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life. Keep going. Tough situations build strong people in the end.”

Desire & Determination

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Think back to a time or a moment when the sport you do made you feel alive. It could be months since you felt that feeling, or it could have been just the other day. Visualise and dwell on exactly what those feelings were. What were they? As a suggestion, write them down, put them up on a board, your wall, your cupboard to keep reminding yourself of how great it felt to be in that position.

Remind yourself of your desire

Remind yourself of why you do what you do in the first place. What makes you get up in the morning? You may have been born with desire built into your DNA or you have set yourself a goal that too desirable not to achieve.

You need to think about what your life would be like if you hadn’t been so set on your goals? Possibly in an unmotivated and lazy state? The goals you set will become your purpose, giving you the will to keep striving.

It’s so important to know your ‘why’. What gets you out of bed in the morning? What’s the ultimate outcome of you doing what you do? Have a look at Simon Sinek’s YouTube video on ‘Start with why – short TED talk version’.

Where did your determination get you?

Your determination has brought this far, whether it be where you want to be at this current moment or not, you are where you are. . No one knows your journey better than you do, so don’t lie to yourself. Let the place you’re in be the inspiration to motivate you to be better and edge you closer and closer to your goals.

When striving for success, remember one thing; don’t pay attention to the doubters, because that’s all they are. Doubters, nothing more.

Pushing on

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Whether you’ve picked up a slight knock or you’re feeling a little burnt out, the key is to keep your head in the game, whether you can keep going or not. Don’t allow negative thoughts to cloud your mind.

Just because you might not be yourself lately, it doesn’t mean you should change your thought process. The timeline might shift, but the end goal is the same.

A key concept here is around adopting an ‘accepting’ and ‘non-judgemental’ attitude to yourself. We all have doubts and fears. They are completely normal The top performers have an ability to accept their doubts, to not dwell on them, and to move forward to a more positive outlook coupled with a positive action.

A really key point is to keep doing small things that will add up to get you closer to your goal. We love the saying that ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions!’ – turn positive thoughts into actions.

Keep up the same training activities, drills, and techniques

During a slump, experimenting could potentially cause major problems. Stick to the basics and maintain your training programme. Stick to the things you know, the better you get at them, the more confident you’ll become.

Your coach will most likely tell you the same thing. Carry on with the same exercise and training routines. The form will come, just stay fit and remain focused on your process – the outcome will take care of itself. Stay in the present and focus on things you do day to day that are crucial to keep edging to your goal. .

Stick to the same diet

Whatever you do, don’t change the way you eat. Nutrition is paramount when it comes to keeping healthy. When we change our diet, our bodies take time to adapt and this can have a negative effect on our overall performance and energy levels. Additionally, keep the same sleeping patterns and get between 7-9 hours a day.

If you’re looking for someone to help motivate you to stay mentally strong and confident, visit our website. We’re here to help.