The mind is a powerful tool. Like a muscle it can be trained and strengthened, but the difficulty comes in knowing exactly how to do this.
Tom Dawson Squibb, a leader in the field of mental coaching and a panelist at the 2016 Powerade Performance Academies, understands this better than most.
Taking place across the country, the Powerade Performance Academies are aimed at upskilling local school-based sports coaches by exposing them to invaluable insights into cutting edge coaching techniques from some of the world’s leading sports coaches including, Gary Kirsten, Paddy Upton and Fabian Gregory.
At the Powerade Performance Academy in Cape Town, which took place on Sunday 13 August 2016, Dawson Squibb exclusively shared his top five tips for mental conditioning and improving performance by boosting your self-awareness:
1. Find your moment
Be clear about what you want to achieve – spend some time creating a clear image along with the feelings you want to feel in that desired moment. Bring in as much detail as possible and use all your senses. See only the positive outcome of what you want to achieve. You needn’t spend ages doing this, but take time to do it in a still space where you can have razor-sharp focus.
Take some time to understand what achieving your moment or goal means to you and use this as your energy source. You don’t want to have to think about this whilst you are in competition or in tough training. You want to have internalized your motivation well in advance.
The realists survive. The people who are realistic about what they need to overcome in order to achieve their goals are the ones who are the most likely to succeed. It is imperative to take time to assess what these may be. From time issues, to fear or obstacles of self-confidence, the more you understand these, the more you can strategise to compensate for them. Write them down, understand whether they are based on facts or assumptions, and then plan to overcome them.
4. WIN (What’s Important Now)
Take time to map out step by step the actions required to achieve your goals. Studies show that the more detailed you are, the more likely you are to achieve your goal. Determine when and where you will go to gym, what you will do when you are there and what you will do if you miss a gym session- these details are necessary if you want to increase your performance in the exercise space for example. The question you need to ask when looking to achieve a goal is ‘what can I do now that is tangible and in my control to get me a step closer to that goal?’ – Then go and do it!
5. Check your space
The environment you create for yourself is crucial for achieving your goal. There is a lot one can do to ensure that you make better decisions without even having to think about it. Since people are affected by those around them, surround yourself with people who lend themselves to attaining your goal. A study was done showing that people lost weight when they ate from smaller plates. The plates didn’t allow for big portions so people began to eat less. This is a small example of people changing what’s around them to ensure that their actions change.
Over the years, Powerade has sustained its commitment to young South African sportsmen by providing them with the necessary platforms to achieve their ultimate sporting goals. In line with this commitment, Powerade has aimed much of its focus on school coaches in recognition of their role as key influencers of the next generation of South Africa’s sporting heroes.