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Mental Skills For Multisport Athletes
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Captain Fat




Joined: 05 Jan 2004
Posts: 4477
Location: Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GM is on the take everyone Laughing Laughing

Any way GM lightern up, it's just a bit of fun Very Happy

we all know steve has to make a living and if he dose choose to have input free of charge i am sure we will be most greatfull Very Happy
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dr dre




Joined: 03 Jun 2003
Posts: 15079
Location: IRONMAN BABY!

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

come to think of it i do use mental prep before a race - i stand around and think things like.

I have done all this before in training

I am going to enjoy this

I will start sensibly and then push harder ( yeah right !! )

I look great in lycra


Very Happy
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Steve Ward




Joined: 04 Feb 2004
Posts: 17
Location: Dorset, UK

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guys

Thanks for the warm welcome!!!

I have written a lot of articles FREE of charge (see www.duathlon.com for goal setting, and www.sleepmonsters.com for mental toughness), and contribute to several forums in various sports where I willingly give up my time FREE to help and advise people as required. Generally this is very much appreciated (see tri-site www.rightzone.co.uk)!

With the courses that my original posting advertised I will either break even or more likely make a loss. Yes I do occasionally get some business from these articles/postings, but it is absolutely minimal compared to the time that I put in. What is my motivation then? It is to educate people so that they realise that people of ALL LEVELS, and in ALL SPORTS will benefit from using mental training. Mental training is still seen as an area for elite athletes, and this is simply not the case. Even within your own day to day life mental skills can help you to improve your performance. I also work with school pupils and business people (this is not more advertising by the way - do not invoice me!).

Perhaps there should be a poll - should steve stay and offer FREE support to your tri forum, or should he spend his time helping people elsewhere!

The decision my friends is yours!

Steve
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AndyS




Joined: 05 Jan 2004
Posts: 9970

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...

Last edited by AndyS on Thu Apr 27, 2006 12:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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AndyS




Joined: 05 Jan 2004
Posts: 9970

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, I'm read and I'm back!

http://www.duathlon.com/articles/3236

I agree with that and already employ much of what you said. It's difficult to know what to set yourself as a target though. I want to do an Ironman but as a novice who's never races, even a sprint, it seems way too confident at the moment to set it as a target. So, I've let myself dream about it for the time being and I'll see where my dream takes me. Maybe it'll become a goal when I can see myself achieving it. Does that mean I'm not aiming for the things I want to do or being sensible?

My initial goal when I started training back in June was to ride over Toys Hill, which I did. Then to ride over it twice on the same ride (doing two laps). I said to myself if I can get over it twice without going down on to the little chain ring I'd get myself a road bike. I managed that and with a big smile on my face started looking for what bike to get. I've also set myself specific time goals for each sport and I'm working towards them. I don't know what I'll do when I get there but I don't think that'll be any time soon. Rolling Eyes

http://www.sleepmonsters.com/training_article_window.php3?article_id=13

I've always believed that if you go to bed with a problem you wake up with a solution. That's a saying isn't it!

Hehehe, in only half an hour I find myself less sceptical. By the way, Going Long isn't as basic as I made it sound. Don't want anyone to think its crap as it's not. I've been analysing it at work for a week now!
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Steve Ward




Joined: 04 Feb 2004
Posts: 17
Location: Dorset, UK

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy

Thanks for the vote of confidence, and to connor66 for his about turn!!! GM I will pay you later!

I agree that alot of 'traditional' sports psychology approaches are very theoretical and have not gone down well in the past. Part of my problem is overcoming the negative barriers that have created. I use a lot of techniques from NLP a very powerful human performance technology, which provides very practical, easy to use techniques. The people who I have worked with have enjoyed the practical approach that I take, and found it quite different to traditional psychology - and more effective.

Here are my top three (or should that be top FREE) tips for having a great 2004 season for people at all levels:

1. Set some clear, specific , measurable goals, which you regularly review and update. Set goals which are under your control e.g. times to achieve, techniques to improve etc. Write them down and commit to them. Think about your goals regularly - last thing at night and first thing in the morning are ideal.

The mind has to try and process millions of bits of data per second - it cannot do it, so it has a filtering system which filters the information which is most important i.e. that which you regularly think about with feeling!

Goals provide direction, motivation and feedback.

Have a goal for each time that you train, and for each time that you race. A session with a clear focus is FAR more effective than just swimming, cycling or running. Is it an endurance builder, race pace session, tempo run, Time Trial for confidence and race practise etc. Arnold Schwargenegger was definite about the need to focus fully on each repetition he did if it was to be effective.

Imagine a magnifying glass - notice how all the suns rays are transformed into one point of intense heat! This is the effect that focussed goals have.

2. Be aware of your thoughts. Your thoughts affect how you feel, and how you feel affects how you perform. Keep your thoughts positive. We have between 50,000-60,000 thoughts per day, and negative ones have a deep impact on your self confidence. When you are aware of a negative thought, have a stop signal - could be a word, or an image, or even pinch yourself! - and then replace the thought with a positive one - spin the thought round, what would the opposite be? Have some positive statements prepared. Think of times when you might get a negative thought in arace, and have a positive replacement prepared.

3. Use visualisation - it is very powerful. Good uses for visualisation are:

a. Imagine achieveing your goals, which aids motivation. Good for the off season.
b. Imagine your perfect race prior to an upcoming event. This is good to do leading up to race day, and on the day of the event. Provides focus.
c. Practise a skill/technique - also good if you are injured and cannot practise physically.
d. Replay past great performances to boost confidence.

The mind cannot tell the difference between an imagined and a real experience! You can have some fun with that one! Think about a nightmare - an imagined experience with a physical response, sweating, heart pounding, faster breathing, feeling scared etc.

Visualising focusses the mind on exactly what you want to achieve. It also creates the brain cell pathways to enable you to perform more the task more easily, and helps to build confidence. You must be able to SEE yourself doing something before you can then BELIEVE that you can do it, and then ACHIEVE it.

Spend 2-3 minutes relaxing before visualising, and use all of your senses to make the experience as real and as intense as possible. See things from your own eyes. 10-15 minutes at a time is plenty.


Goals - Thoughts - Visualise.

Using these techniques can seriously improve your performance.

I challenge all of you sceptics to try just these three techniques this season, and then to let me know how much they helped you.


Happy training and racing!


Steve
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Steve Ward




Joined: 04 Feb 2004
Posts: 17
Location: Dorset, UK

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Andy

Just read your latest posting. Great to hear that you are less sceptical!

It sounds like you have a natural talent for goal setting. You are setting targets for your training, and specific performance (times) goals, which is excellent! If Ironman is your dream goal, work out what the steps are in between now, and achieving it. It is fascinating that you said about seeing yourself achieveing before you can believe you can do it - I must have been typing that very phrase as you were! (Twilight Zone!). What would you like to achieve this season? Goals are the stepping stones to achievement. Take advice form coaches and friends about what is realistic for you. See my previous posting. Glad you liked the article.

Best Wishes

Steve
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AndyS




Joined: 05 Jan 2004
Posts: 9970

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the freeby Steve, a slice of the product helps a lot.

Here's another one I've been working on for a while. I read ages ago (about 10 years or so) that certain athletes can lower their HR during physical activity by thought power. They used a case of a woman runner who could lower her HR by 10bph just using her mind while exertion/output stayed the same.

So before I go out for a long ride I get the bike and myself ready then sit down for 15 minutes or so with my HRM on trying to relax and get in the right frame of mind. Aiming to get my HR as low as possible, I think about things that really refresh the sole. Things like standing on Ditchling Beacon looking north over the weald and watching the shadows of the clouds moving across the landscape or standing on Glastonbury Tor watching the sun shine on the under side of clouds as it sets. After 10 minutes or so my HR alarm normally sounds to say my HR has dropped below 45bpm (my regular resting HR is about 55), last week I achieved 39bph which is an all time low.

Doing this sets me up for the ride and I enjoy it much more than getting home from work and going straight out. However much I try, I can't lower my HR on the move!
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Sue




Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 6269
Location: North Wales

PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2004 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad you are staying Steve Smile

Good points in your post, some seem common sense, some seem to have heard before --guess its bringing it all together and remembering to do them and having faith to do them --but cant loose anything anyway by doing. --any good pointers at actually remembering Rolling Eyes
There are a multitude of characters and personalities on TT -a good thing, and room for more, so pleased to have you with us
(does that read that I think you are "different" Embarassed - we are all unique Wink )
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Steve Ward




Joined: 04 Feb 2004
Posts: 17
Location: Dorset, UK

PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2004 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Sue

The advice given in the post is three areas that can be easily incorporated into peoples training/racing routine, and is purposefully designed for beginners/novices, and yet if practised regularly it can have a significant effect on performance over the season, regardless of ability. These are core skills that should be developed. Alot of the techniques that I use are specific to particular situtations e.g. pre-race nerves, building confidence, developing mental toughness, emotional state management, concentration and focussing, overcoming limiting beliefs etc. I am sure that we will cover these through the forum over the season.

Knowledge is great, but it is the applying it and using it that provides the benefits! Remembering is all about forming the habit, and that comes from continual practise. Build these techniques into your routine. Here is how I do it.

1. Goals - write them on small blank business cards and have a set up by your bedside, and a set in your kit bag. Every Sunday assess your goals.

Before racing and training review your goals for that session. I build this into my warm-up routine.

2. Negative thoughts - once you become aware of them you will stop more of them; after a while you will just do it naturally.

3. Visualisation. Build it into your training programme. Have 2 periods a week where you spend 10-15 minutes visualising. Build visualisation into your pre-race routine.


Hope this helps.

Steve
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Sue




Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 6269
Location: North Wales

PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2004 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The negative thought part is often a biggeeee for me Steve, Crying or Very sad
--and guess a lot of this mental approach can also be related to "life" and what it throws at you at times.
Time to start .....
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Steve Ward




Joined: 04 Feb 2004
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Location: Dorset, UK

PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2004 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Sue

Negative self talk plays a huge part in our emotional state and our performance in both sports and life. That it is why it is one of the core skills to practise. Remember, these are mental SKILLS, and as such, just like physical skills they need to be practised.

Can you remember when you first learnt to tie up your laces? How you had to think about every move. And now, you can probably tie them up without even looking, and without even thinking consciously about it. This is the great thing about humans - we are natural super learners!

Try the negative talk strategy I suggested earlier, in sports and in life, and you will feel more positive, more of the time. Whether we are willing to accept it or not, the truth is that every thought, and every emotional state is actually a choice. Who is driving the bus? You!

Steve
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Robert




Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 9238
Location: Back from outer space

PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2004 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy - Zen practitioners can lower/raise their HR at will as a temperature control mechanism. To illustrate much of Steve's work, far too many people get depressed when it's cold and too excited when it's hot. They are reacting to the climate. By controlling HR, you can remaining cool in the summer (a pair Ray-Bans also helps! Cool ) and keep your chin up in the winter months. A form of thought power/visualisation, I guess.

Being relatively new to tri and not liking the swim one bit, I tend to get too anxious before the swim and need to clam myself down befoer entering the pool or I go out too fast and start drowning after 200m Evil or Very Mad

Cycling, on the other hand, is the best for meditation - I couldn't say that I actively think about anything at all, just let the thoughts flow in and out like breahing. A 5-hour meditation session! Twisted Evil
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Steve Ward




Joined: 04 Feb 2004
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Location: Dorset, UK

PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2004 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy

What Robert says is correct. Some yogis (but not the bear!) can actually control the skin temperature on different parts of their hands so that one part is cold and one part is hot. They can feel warm when it is cold, and cool when it is warm. This is the power of the mind - it just needs training.

However, while these are admirable skills, they are perhaps not totally relevent to triathlon performance for the masses! With your pulse lowering activity this is excellent relaxation/concentration training, and learning to be able to take more control of your body will be beneficial. Relaxation helps to improve mental and physical fitness, especially recovery post-exercise.


When racing hard, I often focus on my breathing, to concentrate, distract (from pain) and to keep pulse/breathing under some kind of control.

Steve
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Robert




Joined: 15 May 2003
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Location: Back from outer space

PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2004 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You tell 'em Bubu! Very Happy

I tend to find it easier during race conditions to focus on breathing out, rather than in, i.e. opposite to conventional thinking. But the in-breath usually stabilises quickly so I don't hyperventilate!

As fo the hot-cold hand trick.....looks like I've got a looooooooooong way to go! Twisted Evil
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