Jake is about to play his first-round match. His preparation on the practice table has been exceptional. He has remained focused and confident. His timing and delivery of the cue are admired by many of the established players who attend the same club. However, as Jake sits and waits for his opportunity to display his current form on the all-important match table he begins to experience those familiar doubts in his mind coupled with the physical feelings of anxiety. This is incredibly frustrating for Jake and countless other competitors who understand exactly how challenging this can be.
The question is, what’s happening? and can it be solved? The answer to the first question is simply a change in state. Fortunately, the answer to the second question is yes. During this article and the next, we will examine what state is and how we can change it to automatically produce greater levels of self-belief and certainty.
A state is how we feel about ourselves and our ability to take on certain tasks. It’s made up of two components. Those components are physiology and internal representation. The internal representation is a fancy phrase for what’s going on in our minds. During this article, we will place our focus on physiology. A strong physiology is easy to learn and master but more importantly, it’s effect can be staggering.
Have you ever played an opponent who without saying a word created a perception of confidence and supremacy before he even played a shot? It’s easy to conclude that some people are born with a self-belief that’s unshakable. Whether that’s true or not isn’t important. You can experience the same feeling and it takes a few seconds. Going back to a time when your opponent displayed unwavering confidence, how did you recognise this quality? It’s likely he/she stood tall, proud, shoulders back with their head held high. It’s probable that every move, every gesture was one of certainty. Take yourself back to a specific time you felt high levels of confidence. It’s inevitable that you would have taken on a similar physiology. It’s also important to understand that our posture will change as we experience lower levels of self-belief. A student once explained that his physiology mirrors his internal emotions. This is true, but we can also take control of this situation and alter our physiology to create new emotions that work with us in moving forward and producing a strong mindset.
Here is an exercise that you should adopt and make it a morning ritual. Stand with your shoulders back, head held high with your back straight. Take a deep breath in and hold it for two seconds then release. Continue to breathe deeply and slowly whilst maintaining this very upright posture for two minutes. As you go about your day become consciously aware of your state. If you feel it begins to move towards negativity, instantly check your physiology. I guarantee you will need to make some alterations. If you continue to make these conscious changes something amazing will happen. It will in time become an unconscious habit. You will make the adjustments necessary without much effort.
Going back to Jake and the change in his state regarding competition. When he looks back at his practice form it becomes glaringly obvious that there is a huge difference in his physiology. When he feels anxious his body will mirror this state. Perhaps his head hangs low, his back leans forwards and his actions are hesitant. When he is enjoying the feelings of certainty and stability on the practice table the changes in his body and actions will be significant. To begin with focus solely on your physiology. Notice how your body shape is different when you move from negative to positive states. When you take on a physiology that indicates confidence your mind will make alterations and begin the process of creating a new state. The next article will examine what’s going on in your mind and how to make remarkable changes. The alterations in both physiology and internal thoughts will lead to a substantial change in your focus and self-assurance.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. During the coming months, I will add pieces to this model that will create the ultimate mindset for sporting achievements.
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 resources into 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
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