For many years, my clients would introduce me to people as their Sports Psych, or I would commonly get referred to as that "Psych Guy". Over the past 5 years or so, I have been able to get both clients and others to know me as a Mental Performance coach.
But WHAT THE HELL does that even mean? Does that mean I am a Yoga pants wearing, Positive Self Talk obsessed dreamer? NO IT DOESN'T!
I see myself more as a Neurological Patterning Coach, helping people to understand how to build high quality brain patterning to ensure they can perform to their full potential under ANY pressure environment.
I named my business Dare2Dream for a very good reason but that wasn't because I just wanted to help my clients have their heads in the clouds and go through meaningless positive self talk to make them feel better about themselves. I named it Dare2Dream because once my clients learnt more about brain patterning and to take control over how to train their brain to ensure productive patterns are being built, then and only then they could begin to dream about what they can achieve.
Lets take the game of golf for example. Golfers have spent a large number of their journey in the game in what I call "Control Mode". Control mode is when a golfer is working on their mechanics, fine tuning the physical motor patterns to ensure their mechanics are built to a high level. This mode activates our Left Brain, where we are analysing and controlling every move we make. If we perform in Left Brain mode for much longer than 10mins, this pattern will begin to create tension, stress and anxiety during performance.
Now that all sounds great and for the most part, the right thing to do. BUT, the way the brain functions during this stage and the specific neurological pattern that is getting built, is the exact opposite to how we want a golfer to perform under a competitive situation.
The negative mental patterns that often get built during this "Control Mode" can be many and varied, but one that stands out with almost EVERY golfer I have ever worked with is the pattern of having our Visual Focus (Eyes) control our Mental Focus (Mind).
A lot of golfers have built the pattern to use their eyes to check the variety of elements that make up good technique. For example, grip, stance, take away are just some that come to mind. The golfer using their eyes to check whether their grip, stance or take away are in good positions activates their Mental Focus to be connected with their Visual Focus.
Why is this unproductive? Because if we let our Visual Focus control our Mental Focus as a golfer, then during performance when our eyes are focused on the ball, there is a HUGE chance our mind is focused on the ball, which a large percentage of time will automatically trigger the old "Control Mode" pattern to kick in and trigger the Left Brain to take over.
Its this Left Brain performance that creates unproductive Neurological Patterns such as Impact Control, which is when your brain is conscious of impact and you begin to consciously control what the club is doing through the impact zone.
The other unproductive Neurological Pattern that golfers experience when their left brain kicks in is Impact Anxiety, or more commonly known at The Yips. The Yips are caused by an over active Left Brain that has elements of fear and stress connected to certain shots. This is one of the reasons that someone can have The Yips with putting but have a great short game, as there is no fear or stress connected to their short game.
For me, helping my clients understand the Brain Patterning process is a key to them achieving their absolute best as it gives them control over their minds performance under any pressure situation.
When an athlete has control over their minds functioning, thats when they start to breakthrough barriers and begin to achieve results they have only ever dreamt of!