Monday, 1 December 2014

A Journey Through Elite Sport

I recently attended an inspiring conference celebrating 25 years of the Institute of Sport and Remedial Massage. One of the speakers was Neil Black, Performance Director for UK Athletics. I was extremely impressed by the points he made during his talk entitled 'A journey through Elite Sport: Athlete, Physical Therapist, and now Performance Director for UK Athletics'. I have been telling my clients about it and most have been very interested so I thought I would put up a brief summary of his main points on my blog.

He was emphatic that high quality training and the right mental approach is fundamental to success, far more important than the physique you inherit. He is also in favour of children doing a wide range of sports and avoiding specialising too early as he thinks this can inhibit their success. He also made the point that it is never too late to achieve goals in sport; it just gets harder!

Internal drives:
These are in his opinion vital for success.
  • an inner voice
  • personal high standards
  • internal motivation
  • self respect
Domino effect:
'Stacking your dominoes' to ensure that you achieve your goal: the power of cumulative effect.
  • decisiveness, focus, and not wasting energy on the unimportant.
  • multi-tasking limits achievement so be very selective when using it!
  • Discipline: build up powerful habits one at a time, giving each habit enough time to become established into your routine. This will release energy for the next goal.
  • Don't spread your willpower too thin.
  • Monitor your fuel gauge.
  • Time your task.
  • respect but explore conventions; don't be inhibited by them.
  • soak up the 10% of knowledge everyone can offer you.
  • be clear: clarify your position and abide by it - for instance, whether you are leading or following in a situation.
  • Prioritise and delegate: teamwork requires integration and communication as well as respect.
  • Consistency, commitment, improvement and training.
  • In order to facilitate change, gather the specific information required; develop your own tools to do this if needed to make more accurate.
  • Have a plan!

Hope you find this summary of interest. Neil is an excellent speaker and accompanied the above with entertaining and relevant examples which I won't try to repeat.