The last article we looked at how our physiology impacts our state. We will now place our focus on the second component that creates our state which is our internal representation (Our internal thoughts). This will provide a better understanding of what’s happening and how to implement change.
Our emotions are created by a small part of the brain that for simplicity we will call the emotional brain. There are of course many causes for the emotional brain to become active, but we will look at how a few simple changes in words and tone can produce a very different reaction.
Let’s look at an example of how this is possible. Stacey is playing a winner takes all money match. it’s a race to 21 and she has opened a comfortable 20-10 lead. She is cueing well and feeling relaxed when her opponent suddenly regains the momentum and quickly wins the next eight games. Stacey is of course helpless and watches her lead shrink and more importantly it’s what’s happening in her mind that is having the biggest effect. Her inner voice begins to express a serious concern which includes a tone of stress and anxiety. She tells herself “This is terrible, my opponent is building confidence with every shot. The pressure is getting to me and even if I get a chance I mustn’t miss or it’s all over. One mistake, and she will win this. To lose from such a strong position will be heart breaking, oh God I’m in trouble”. All this data is fed to the emotional brain which will create an emotion that’s in line with the information it has received. The result is within a few seconds she is going to feel high levels of anxiety and her self-belief will be non-existent.
This is a familiar scenario and one that most have experienced. Fortunately, we can take back control quickly by implementing a few simple alterations. Our words have a huge impact on our emotions. If I say Olympics, Superbowl or U.S Open you automatically produce pictures, sounds and feelings. This is important to understand, because we can choose words that inspire us or create a feeling of motivation. This may sound more than obvious but in the heat of the moment it’s vital that we have a strategy that can be used quickly and trigger change at speed.
A second component which is equally as important is the tone of your voice. When you use a weak and venerable tone it’s likely you are retreating. You will never achieve much with this tone, so I welcome you to your new internal voice. I call it the sgt major. The sgt major has a tone of certainty, he only uses words that push you towards attacking the situation full on.
Imagine what your sgt major looks like. He will stand tall, proud with a power house of strength. Once you have visualised your new inner voice it will become easier to bring it to life. Now let’s look at the scenario differently. As Stacey sit’s and watches her opponent clear the table her internal voice will now say with a tone of certainty “While I’m sat. I’m preparing to execute every opportunity. Nerves? I don’t have time for nerves. I have a laser focus and the ability to crush this”. She places her focus on her strong physiology. These two components coupled means Stacey has designed and produced an assault on any anxieties and creating the ultimate competitive state.
Sports psychology doesn’t need to be complicated. For more than a decade I have worked on the creation of a system that is both simple to understand and use. As a result, I have worked with GB Athletes both dis-abled and Able bodied. Professional footballers, tennis players, golfers and two world champions. The system can be used by anyone of any standard, so they can practise and compete with confidence, self-belief and focus. The model is called “it’s time to start winning”. It’s now available as a paperback book or Kindle eBook.
About Simon Capon
Simon is a Master Practitioner and Trainer of a psychology known as Neuro-linguistic Programming. During the last twelve years, Simon has dedicated his resourcesinto the creation of a model which, when mastered will change your game forever. Simon has worked with GB Athletes both able and disabled, professional footballers, golfers, tennis players and two world snooker champions. He has written for Tennis Life magazine and is currently a columnist for UK Tennis. Simon also made an appearance in the BBC documentary Race for Rio.
NLP Master Practitioner
Editor- Chris Freeman
Author- Simon Capon