In a recent session at the college eight table tennis players participated. This session was more about preparation for competition and so we focussed on immediate preparation, challenging competition scenarios, triggers and anchoring for positive mental and physical boost.
We have our first individual success story! We have been working with one particular player throughout the sessions, and I was pleased at the news below from Mark, the Head Coach at Ernest Bevin College.
One player particularly always impressed us at LCCH as having a good attitude and some creative ideas around the mental side of the game. I was pleasantly surprised that he has made the strides described below. I hope we played a small part in his progress.
Mark Smith the Head Coach says:
“A player is now emerging with a outstanding mindset and work rate which is great to work. He has taken over top spot in the School and shows no signs of just being a big fish in a small pond.
He was neck and neck with the junior number 6 in England last week and he has two and a half more years in this age group.
I am now planning to send him to France in the summer for 5 weeks training with a professional club 6 hours per day.
I feel he would benefit with a one to one with you as there are mental things he needs to work on which involves calming himself down when the pressure is on – he gets too pumped and sometimes doesn’t see the opening chances due to tension creeping in.
Some new players are now also coming through and still 4 or 5 of the old players are training regularly”
Competition Update – to the end of 2011
Mark told me it is always a whirlwind of highs and lows at these events, and it would be great to get LCCH motivation coaches along to one at some point in the near future.
Mark wants to instil more team spirit ethic, knowing how it can be such a powerful motivator in team matches.
At one event last year performance wise they were always up against it, playing generally a bit above their level. They did ok getting some unexpected wins. Mark said “Losses didn’t affect their willingness to keep fighting though which was good to see.”
Mark still believe they can do better just by changing their mindsets and having more togetherness as a squad. Self belief and confidence of their own abilities always appears to be greater among their opponents than our players. Some players showed new depths not seen before.
It is all about mindset and individual self-belief. Somehow the players are going to have to blast through the idea that they are up against bigger opposition, and appreciate the power of being in a squad. They have to get that feeling that they can puff their chests out and really take control of the competition and their individual game. I think they have to learn to “rate” each other as players, and encourage and support each other more. They need competition toughness and pride.
Eight players participated in one session. This session was more about preparation for competition and so we focussed on immediate preparation, challenging competition scenarios and triggers and anchoring for positive mental and physical boost. There was a quick check on whether they had been working on their goals, and a review of previous sessions regarding the need to practice mental preparation techniques.
Some aspects also covered included how players could extend “best day” performance into weekends competition and developing and allowing a balance between tension/relaxation and alertness/focussed concentration. We covered more detailed mental game play approaches and suggested a post-match diary or log book to discuss with Coach.
The session was well received and we worked with a former table tennis England number 1 and European player.
We were asked by a local therapist the best approach to give a children’s football team with regard to some group hypnotherapy to help their motivation and morale.
As they are 9 and 10 years old, informed consent will be gained and their parents will be asked to stay for the session too.
Important steps are:
to work with the teacher/coach to establish goals
find out what the kids want to achieve
look at their match schedule and agree some basic aims, show them how to support each other
ensure they have fun and are not hard on themselves
identify any emotional or stress issues the kids might be having and allay their concerns
heaps of encouragement
and as with all things, celebrate successes and boost their self-esteem
I find that 9 and 10 year olds are very enthusiastic about trying new activities and engage well with ways to motivate through metaphor. There are some great techniques for children, keeping the session short and getting out on the pitch to observe them play in between.
There are specific steps to take with regards to parent involvement and influence, and to bring them on side (pardon the pun!).
Motivation sessions only really need an hour, and so the first session might be to set the scene and develop the rapport with the kids and any parents that attend. It would then be possible to drop into their training session, and just work with each child, or groups of kids on specific aspects of their game (chat to the coach on what is current and what he needs before each session).
Kids will tell you their challenge, no need to be direct about it. Leave them with activities agreed with their coach which are relevant to the game. I find with kids the motivational talks help and you can inspire by what you say. Think of ways you can make an input in between training activities or game play. Children love stories, and also visualization.
I rarely need a whole hours input when I’m working with kids, but split this up into 20 minutes slots. I work alongside the coaches training plan for the day.