SportsMind Training

Some of you have probably been using videos in one form or another for years and have found them helpful. These include but are not limited to analyzing mechanical skills in various forms of video instruction used by coaches and teaching professionals.

The focus of my system is not video instruction, but video training. The training is designed to help you access and execute more consistently your highest skill level and at the same time build a higher level of confidence.

The length of the video training is 6 minutes. The video consists of 2 phases. The first and most critical phase is the 1 minute preparation phase designed to prepare your mind to maximize the effectiveness of the training. The second phase is the core training phase designed by you and your coaches, This second phase consists of you watching yourself execute picture perfect skills over and over again at different speeds and different angles with audio suggestions to enhance and build confidence.

Research shows that the core training stimulates, sharpens and strengthens the mechanical skill in some of the same ways this happens with repetitive practice. The same neural pathways stimulated by your highest level of execution would be similarly activated and reinforced with the training video. In other words, the nervous system would react as if it were physically performing the skill.

In another study involving “mirror neurons” the research team came to the same conclusion that by watching yourself perform the skill, you reinforce and stimulate the neural blueprint of that skill. Another researcher stated that by watching the skill, it is imprinted more clearly into the brain and is therefore an effective way to enhance motor skill performance.

Anchoring

I mentioned at the end of the training manual that I would put more information on this website for those wanting to learn more about “Anchoring.”

Anchoring is another skill designed to more deeply integrate the centered state. An anchor can be a word, phrase, sound, smell, touch, or a sight that triggers the reliving of a past experience. For example, the smell of fresh bread may trigger the reliving of an experience when Mom prepared homemade bread or seeing the American flag may trigger the reliving of that high school championship game or hearing a song may trigger the reliving of some memory of a romantic relationship. An anchor takes the individual back in time to relive the experience in such depth that it is almost like being there again. In these cases, an anchor is something developed over a period of time with no conscious awareness.

Most of you have had experiences in competition where you felt centered and performed at peak level. The goal is to establish an anchor or anchors that enable you to bring that past experience back into your present experience. Using confidence as our example, this would be situations where you were confident/centered. Remember, this takes in the four areas related to the centered state; thoughts, feeling/emotions, physical, and performance.

The first step is to teach you how to design your own anchor/s and then how and when to fire that anchor. Firing the anchor is like turning on a switch and igniting a powerful energy that can take you in an instant and automatically back to that prior experience of confidence. This type of anchor operates as a shifting mechanism. With your anchor, you shift from the distracted state of poor confidence to the centered state of great confidence.

The anchor can also be used to maintain the momentum of the centered state. The anchor is fired while you have the momentum and in that case the anchor becomes a reinforcing mechanism.

Bill Curry, a former All Pro Center for the Green Bay Packers, stated that he used the word, “explode” as a verbal anchor. He identified traits like power, quickness, agility, and sharpness to describe how he experienced peak performance at center. And over a period of time, he associated the word, “explode” with that performance designing that word to embody all those traits so that in a split second, he could both shift to peak performance or reinforce peak performance by thinking in his mind the word, “explode”.

A golfer has just hit a poor shot and is having difficulty getting back to center. An anchor can be very helpful in this situation. Firing the anchor can help the shift from the distracted state back to center. As you might imagine, reaching this skill level will take practice and commitment. This is another more tangible skill you can practice to work on the mental aspect of your sport.

There is no way to know how many of you are using the skill of anchoring. If you are not using it, I highly recommend the technique for obvious reasons.

Selecting an Anchor/s

An anchor for our purposes can be verbal, visual, or kinesthetic. A verbal anchor can be either a word or a phrase. A visual anchor can be anything looked at such as a particular spot on a piece of equipment. A kinesthetic anchor can be something touched like a part of the uniform or it can be making a fist. You may decide that you want just one anchor or you may decide to have several anchors.

Anchoring is more effective when you choose an anchor that is “clean”. That means it is free of any past associations; it must be unique in their own right. It is also important to fire the anchor in the same way each time you use this skill. If a verbal anchor is chosen, it’s important to say it or think it in about the same way every time. If a kinesthetic anchor is chosen, it is important to touch it in about the same way every time.

You can decide later as you become more proficient in the skill of anchoring that you want to use this skill in several different areas of preparation and performance. As a beginner, it is important to pick one thing you want to anchor and practice that skill until you are satisfied that you can use it effectively.

You may be like Bill Curry and want to anchor that confidence precisely at the moment you are to execute your skill. You might want to anchor that confidence right before you are to execute your skill such as a golf shot, serving in tennis, beginning any kind of race in track, swimming, skiing, cross country, kicking in football, pitching in baseball, shooting a free throw, firing a rifle, snow boarding, skate boarding, bowling the ball, or beginning any kind of team competition. Later in this training manual, I will suggest a number of ways that you can get into that state of confidence right before the execution of your skill. Obviously, before you can anchor that confidence, you have to experience it

In sports like football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, and water polo, where there is a lot of action and sometimes no break in the action, you may want to anchor a continuous confidence throughout the contest. This is an example of the anchor as a reinforcing mechanism. It may be a challenge to have continuous confidence especially if your performance seems somewhat distracted. Remember in this case, the anchor can then be a shifting mechanism from the distracted to the centered state.

Take some time to think about what in your sports performance you want to anchor. You can change your mind a little later as you become more clear about this skill. It is helpful before you start your training and practice to make your decision on this particular aspect of your performance.

I would suggest to start with that you choose only one anchor. Later you can add one or two more and you can change your anchors once you have a clear idea about how you are going to use this skill. For the best results, try to avoid changing once you have started serious training and practice. 

Visual:

 

Auditory:

 

Kinesthetic:

 

The Training

 

The next part of this process is working on associating the anchor/s with what part of your sports performance you want to anchor/integrate at center. Consistent practice of the training exercises will increase the strength and power of the anchor and its’ association with your selected aspect of the centered state.

 

The following are some ideas to help with the use of anchoring in an effective manner. I will continue to use anchoring confidence as an example in these training exercises.

 

  1. During the experience of being at center with confidence whether in some phase of training or preparation or competition, fire the anchor (say it, look at it, or touch it) as consistently as practical. This associates the anchor with that experience. Whenever possible or practical, take a deep breath or two before firing the anchor. This further prepares the mind to associate the anchor with the experience.
  1. To prepare your mind to maximize the effectiveness of this experience, close your eyes, take about 10 to 15 deep breaths, and go to your centered state. At center, recall an experience of confidence in the situation you have selected and get totally involved in the experience. Open all your senses and make it as real as possible. Once you are into the experience, fire your anchor/s for about one minute and then open your eyes.
  1. The use of videos can be a very effective way to strengthen the anchor/s. Again, close your eyes and take about 10 to 15 deep breaths and go to center. Then open your eyes and watch selected video of yourself in that state of confidence at center. During that experience, fire your anchor/s over and over again.
  1. RightBrain Video Training will also help with the effective use of anchoring. That training will be explained in chapter 10.

Notice the use of the deep breathing to go to center to prepare the mind for the integration of these anchors. Remember, this is a critical and important part of the anchoring and integration process. Take the preparation phase very seriously and you will notice improvement at a much quicker rate.

 

It will take time to reach the skill level needed to use this technique. At some point in the process of practicing these training exercises, you can begin to sense that you are getting very good at making the associations. When that happens, you can begin using this anchoring process in competition.

 

It will never be a matter of whether anchoring works or not; the research proves that it does work. The issue will be your commitment and willingness to practice and your determination and belief that you can use it effectively.

 

Tips for Teams

 

Anchoring can be a very effective skill for teams and units within teams. For instance, sometimes in team sports, keeping the momentum can be a big challenge. You can have it one moment and then one play or situation can lead to a shift and the other team has the momentum.

 

You can use anchors to help the team either keep the momentum (reinforcing mechanism) or regain the momentum (shifting mechanism). Let’s say the team has selected 2 verbal anchors for keeping the momentum: “we’ve got the mo,” and “we keep the mo.” For regaining the momentum, the team has selected the verbal anchor, “retake the mo.”

 

During practice, get creative and figure out ways to fire the anchor during times when practices are going really well. During team meetings, have everyone close there eyes and take 10 deep breaths and go to center. A team captain or coach can say something like remember in the such and such game when (recall moments when they kept the momentum and times when they lost it for a moment and then retook the momentum). When the situations are being described, the room erupts with the firing of the anchors.

 

A similar exercise can be done with the use of videos. Again, have everyone close their eyes and take 10 deep breaths and go to center. Then have them open their eyes and watch video clips of them keeping the momentum and then some clips where they lost and quickly regained the momentum. Again, let the room erupt with the firing of the anchors in the appropriate situations.