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Andrea Furst

What is the Difference Between Self-Confidence and Cockiness?

Self-confidence is interpreted by others through our communication style – how we speak, our gestures, eye contact, and body language.
The ideal communication style inculcated by eastern philosophy is humble, harmonious, nurturing, modest, and indirect. However, the demonstration of self-confidence in sport is often interpreted and most closely associated with a style of communication in western philosophy, which reflects boastfulness, dominance and competitiveness. It is this form of expression that boarders on cockiness, the polar opposite to the ideal communication style in Asian culture.
From this perspective, it is perfectly understandable that the very thought of focusing on training that boosts one’s self-confidence for a high achiever in Asia can be met with a lot of hesitation.
It is human nature […]

Emotions are Good for us!

Spending about 55 hours on planes in September meant that I watched my fair share of movies and made my way through some insightful reads.
Inside Out is one of the movies I sat through whilst eating meals on trays.  It’s an animation by Pixar and Walt Disney Pictures that explores human emotions.  It follows five emotions (and characters) – Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust – of Riley, an 11 year old girl experiencing stress when her parents decide to move their family to another city.
My primary aim here is to applaud Inside Out and highlight that experiencing a range of emotional experiences is good for us.
Positivity is not always appropriate let alone useful.  Similarly, emotions labelled as ‘negative’ can be […]

I’m Hunting for the Ideal Athlete…

We often get asked what sort of people make ideal clients…so here goes…
You would contact me because you are wanting to optimise your mind’s contribution to your sports performance and make sure your training transfers to competition.
We’ll work well together if you’re someone who wants to get better, who likes to challenge themselves, and is open to being challenged by someone else with the intention of helping your to get better.
A love of learning is a key part of this working relationship, so if you crave seeing just how good you can be, we’ll work well together.
Human performance is not an exact science so you’ll need to appreciate that we’ll be trying certain techniques and strategies to see if […]

Is There a Line? Ruthless perfectionism, fear, & high performance

There are very few movies that truly dive into the depths of an elite performer’s mind.  Whiplash is one such movie.
I watched it on the plane coming back from Australia in mid August…twice.  The acting captured me as did the way the characters depicted the ruthless perfectionism that is so frequently an ingredient associated with high performance.
Whiplash explores the pursuit of musical excellence whereby the main character, Andrew is relentlessly determined to become ‘someone’ in the drumming world. In his pursuit he is noticed by Terence Fletcher, a conductor attempting to produce the next Charlie Parker in his elite jazz ensemble at Shaffer Conservatorium of Music, arguably the best jazz music school in the United States of America.
Whilst there were multiple scenes […]

Train Your Brain Like You Train Your Body

Train your brain like you train your body.
This is not a new piece of advice nor is it particularly sexy, but it has merit when it comes to getting your brain ready to perform when it counts.
However, training your brain is something to avoid getting blazé about given the increasing body of knowledge about our brain’s neuroplasticity.
Whilst there are numerous psychological skills and strategies that we teach and loads of variety in the application of these skills, the basics still stick.
Basics in any field are worth remembering, and more importantly, fostering.  The basics apply for athletes of all levels, particularly if you are an athlete embarking on a career in elite sport.
Before getting into the basics there is a […]

Look After Your Brain Through Talking

There’s been a lot of commentary in the media recently about the lack of support that elite athletes receive when it comes to their mental health.  At Mental Notes Consulting, we are, and have always been passionate about athlete health and wellbeing alongside their performance.
Part of our role in working with athletes and their coaches is to encourage them to have a healthy respect for their brain.
If you look after your brain then it looks after you.
You’ll notice we’re sharing articles and videos that highlight the way you train your brain to make the most of your brain’s capacity and to keep it healthy.
We will continue to share our expertise, insight, and learning about our brain to help athlete performance […]

Performance Routines: Take charge of what you can 

Performance routines are prevalent in high performance arenas, and in particular elite sport.
You’ll often hear athletes refer to their rituals, superstitions, or lucky charms…
“I keep a lucky red rag in my pocket when I bat, which has been a good luck charm for a few years.” – Steve Waugh
Simply put, athletes often integrate routines – a sequence of actions regularly followed – to enhance performance.
The competitive sporting environment consists of numerous elements outside of one’s control and as such performance routines help athletes to take charge of what they can.
Whatever they get called and for whatever reason, there is a place for preparing how you want to think, feel, and act in the moments that you can control as well as […]

Psychological Recovery: Giving back to keep your mind sharp

As many elite athletes are preparing to peak at international competitions in the Northern Hemisphere it’s a valuable time to reflect on how much time is being dedicated to psychological recovery as you prepare to perform when it counts… It’s becoming an increasingly important aspect of elite athlete training and preparation as we ask more of your physiological and psychological systems.  I’ve written about this before and will continue to do so to continue to influence awareness and ultimately integration of this information into the life of an elite athlete!  Here are some simple pieces of information and tips for you to consider…

Making time for psychological recovery through relaxation, rest, and sleep
Athletes can benefit from understanding how to regularly […]

Breathing Matters

I’ve been meaning to write about breathing since September last year when I co-delivered a workshop at the World Scientific Congress of Golf with the superbly talented Rachel Vickery from Breathing & Performance.

I’ve always had a strong interest in psychophysiology however since working more closely with Rachel it’s strengthened because I can see the results we can achieve together.

I won’t steal Rachel’s thunder by explaining exactly what she does and how she does it – she’s better placed to do that…What I want to use this opportunity for is to emphasise the importance of breathing for sport performance and the value of multidisciplinary work.

My intrigue in how the brain and body communicate has meant I’ve always encouraged and integrated strategies […]

To Measure or Not to Measure: Using psychological assessment in sport

As mentioned in an earlier blog, I attended The Sport Performance Summit in mid November in London.  One of the workshops that I attended focused on the relevance and use of psychological assessments in sport.

Whilst there is definitely not a ‘one size fits all approach’ it’s worth debating the use and relevance of psychological measures for sport performance.  There are a variety of measures that you can use.  If you’re a coach or high performance director in a sporting organisation, here are five categories that you may consider asking your sport psychologist to use with your athletes.

Personality measures such as Myers Briggs Type Indicator, Insights, or Lumina Spark are the personality measures that most often get used in teams.  These […]