Practice, practice, practice. Get in with different consultants and see what they’re doing. Work with younger athletes on their mental game using your own experiences to start developing your models. Volunteer to be the mental coach of a youth team based on your credentials as an athlete. And keep reading and applying what you read to your own competitive experience. Keep being an athlete and test your skills on yourself first.
McGrail believes that the approach Margaret took should work for most people: “It uses the power of the mind to change the behavior, and it is the mind that creates the addiction to smoking 10, 20, or 30 cigarettes a day. In hypnosis, we’re using that same power, much like a computer, to make those changes.” McGrail finds out what he needs to know about the person’s relationship with tobacco: history, triggers, and motivations for stopping. “The suggestions I give while I verbally guide them through their program make them start thinking about smoking as something they don’t want — or have — to do,” he explains. Instead, they can choose appropriate outlets for the energy they once devoted to smoking. For example, Jonathan, a 34-year-old database manager from Atlanta who’d smoked for 16 years when he decided to quit with the help of a $1.99 app on his iPhone, washed his clothes — even when they were clean — instead of lighting up. He also performed breathing exercises when he was tempted. A little silly, sure, but infinitely better for him than a pack of Parliaments.
If coaching fails to cure a problem in six months, it can become very expensive indeed. Take the case of Tom Davis, the coach who worked with Rob Bernstein, the executive VP of sales at an automotive parts distributor. Let’s assume Davis charged a relatively low per diem of $1,500. Over the four years of his engagement—which ultimately did not solve Bernstein’s problems—he would have picked up at least $45,000 in fees. That sum would have purchased 450 hours with a competent therapist—about ten years’ worth of weekly sessions.
Recently some studies have been influenced by an evolutionary psychology perspective. This includes studies on testosterone changes in sports which at least for males are similar to those in status conflicts in non-human primates with testosterone levels increasing and decreasing as an individual's status changes. A decreased testosterone level may decrease dominant and competitive behaviors which when the status conflicts involved fighting may have been important for preventing physical injury to the loser as further competition is avoided. Testosterone levels also increase before sports competitions, in particular if the event is perceived as real challenge as compared to not being important. Testosterone may also be involved in the home advantage effect which has similarities to animal defense of their home territory. In some sports there is a marked overrepresentation of left-handedness which has similarities to left-handed likely having an advantage in close combat which may have evolutionary explanations.
Roughly six months after Bernstein and Davis finished working together, Bernstein’s immediate boss left the business, and he was tapped to fill the position. True to his history, Bernstein was soon embroiled in controversy. This time, rather than alienating subordinates, Bernstein was suspected of embezzlement. When confronted, he asked to work with his coach again. Fortunately for Bernstein, the CEO suspected that something deeper was wrong, and instead of calling Davis, he turned to me for help.
In North America, early years of sport psychology included isolated studies of motor behavior, social facilitation, and habit formation. During the 1890s, E. W. Scripture conducted a range of behavioral experiments, including measuring the reaction time of runners, thought time in school children, and the accuracy of an orchestra conductor's baton. Despite Scripture's previous experiments, the first recognized sports psychology study was carried out by an American psychologist Norman Triplett, in 1898. The work of Norman Triplett demonstrated that bicyclists were more likely to cycle faster with a pacemaker or a competitor, which has been foundational in the literature of social psychology and social facilitation. He wrote about his findings in what was regarded as the first scientific paper on sports psychology, titled “The Dynamogenic Factors in Pacemaking and Competition”, which was published in 1898, in the American Journal of Psychology. Research by ornithologists Lashley and Watson on the learning curve for novice archers provided a robust template for future habit formation research, as they argued that humans would have higher levels of motivation to achieve in a task like archery compared to a mundane task. Researchers Albert Johanson and Joseph Holmes tested baseball player Babe Ruth in 1921, as reported by sportswriter Hugh S. Fullerton. Ruth's swing speed, his breathing right before hitting a baseball, his coordination and rapidity of wrist movement, and his reaction time were all measured, with the researchers concluding that Ruth's talent could be attributed in part to motor skills and reflexes that were well above those of the average person.
One of the most popular behaviorist solutions is assertiveness training. This technique is most often used to help individuals cope with situations that evoke intense negative feelings—for example, helping drug addicts to “just say no” to temptation. Executive coaches use assertiveness training in a number of contexts. For instance, many coaches working with executives who appear to be lacking confidence employ the technique in an effort to get them to perform better. Unfortunately, learning effective responses to stressors often fails to help corporate executives deal with their intrapsychic pressures.
While there are many variations, executive coaching usually involves a series of phases, starting with intake, assessment, goal setting, and development planning, and then progressing through the development plan, with periodic check-ins with the executive’s manager. The process is over when the development goal(s) is achieved, or when the coach and/or coachee decides that it should stop. The typical duration of a coaching engagement is seven to 12 months.
Sports psychology began with research on sports performance with psychologist and researchers Norman Triplett (cyclists are speedier in competition than when they ride solo) and Walter Miles (studied reaction time of football players to increase their reaction time after the ball hike). The person who was considered the first sports psychologist was Coleman Griffith. Today, most professional teams employ sports psychologists to assist players with mental health, performance, and well-being.
During my work with Ashridge, my coach has encouraged me to develop my own personal brand and leadership style with confidence. His insights and experience have been highly beneficial with the right level of support and challenge to push my boundaries outside of my comfort zone. I highly respect his passion for coaching and strongly advocate his approach.
Weight gain has been associated with excessive consumption of fats, (added) sugars, refined carbohydrates in general, and alcohol consumption. Depression, stress or boredom may also contribute to weight increase, and in these cases, individuals are advised to seek medical help. A 2010 study found that dieters who got a full night's sleep lost more than twice as much fat as sleep-deprived dieters.
There are many ways to help executives grow as leaders. High-level training, mentoring, reading, job rotation and special assignments are just a few. The most overlooked alternative is attention from the individual's own manager. As coaching has become more fashionable, I've seen too many managers abdicate their own coaching responsibilities, turning a struggling executive over to a professional. Sometimes the problem is beyond what the manager can handle. But often managers hand off executives because they'd rather not deal with messy people stuff.
For many people, playing sports is a fun way to stay fit, and compete with friends and peers. A select few might also make a pretty decent living by playing professional sports. But what makes some strive to play sports, to compete? What makes some push themselves to their limits for nothing more than the satisfaction of winning? How does playing sports affect people mentally and emotionally?
In 1974, Theodore X. Barber and his colleagues published a review of the research which argued, following the earlier social psychology of Theodore R. Sarbin, that hypnotism was better understood not as a "special state" but as the result of normal psychological variables, such as active imagination, expectation, appropriate attitudes, and motivation. Barber introduced the term "cognitive-behavioral" to describe the nonstate theory of hypnotism, and discussed its application to behavior therapy.