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Rachel Jones

Sleep: Your Secret Weapon

Want to gain an extra edge over your competitors?  Want to perform better?  Then you need to get more sleep!
Sleep is a powerful and often underestimated tool that can lead to noticeable changes in performance.  Unfortunately, as a society we value not sleeping and celebrate those who can do a lot of work on little or no sleep.  The theory seems to be that if everyone else is sleeping and you’re working/training, you are gaining an advantage over your opponents.  The opposite is actually true, especially if you are consistently sleep deprived.
What happens when you sleep?
When you sleep, your brain works to process and consolidate your memory and all that you’ve learnt during the day.  If you’ve been reviewing […]

The Path to Greatness

Many golfers have an incredible ability to analyse situations, but many use their analytic skills for evil rather than good. I see this phenomenon over and over again with golfers who come to see me. When they have performed below their potential and shot a high score they can tell me in excruciating detail, shot by shot, hole by hole, everything that happened and everything they did wrong. However, when they shoot a great score, feel good about their round and have a great day on course, the conversation is very different and contains a lot less detail with seemingly little recollection of why things went well and how they got to the great outcome.
Our brains are clever and […]

Overcoming Mental Blocks

Mental blocks are a phenomenon that happen when a performer appears to go blank and forget movements that they have consistently trained and mastered and should know how to complete.  The performer can appear to freeze or may instinctively change the movement they were planning to do.  Performers experiencing a mental block will often state that they feel like they physically cannot complete the specific movement or skill, even if they want to.  Mental blocks are often isolated to one specific skill or part of a skill, whilst other aspects of performance can remain intact. Mental blocks often don’t make logical sense and as a result, a mental block is often a very frustrating experience for a performer.

Why do […]

A Jockey’s Mindset

All sport is a delicate balance of demands that require effort to overcome, and resources, tools that can be used to overcome demands. Horse racing is no different. Jockeys have to stay focused, be fit and strong, make weight, see opportunities, make decisions under pressure and keep trainers and owners happy. This requires perfect physical preparation. Mental toughness is necessary maintain the physical preparation required to meet the demands of the sport. When demands seem to outweigh resources, the brain views the situation as a threat and goes into stress mode. In stress mode, the brain makes poor decisions and tries to overcompensate or play it safe, leading to underperformance. The key is to increase resources by increasing mental […]

Is Your Brain Healthy?

There is so much information about how to keep your body healthy, including fad diets, exercise trends, and the like. It is quite normal and acceptable, and even admired to follow these trends with the idea of looking after your body.
What about your brain?
There is an increasing awareness about mental health issues but often the focus is on fixing poor mental health rather than aiming for thriving levels of wellbeing.  As mentioned in a previous blog post, if you consider your brain like a muscle, some of the mystery and fear of the unknown that seems to lie around the brain and psychology is lost in lieu of something more powerful – the ability to care for your brain […]

What Makes You Great?

What makes you great?
This is one of my favourite questions to ask athletes and teams because it directs their focus.  It shifts their focus from fixating on a problem to creating a solution, leading to reduced negativity and increased confidence.
The Negativity Trap
Often the first response I get when I ask this question is discomfort and awkwardness.  Few are willing to identify their strengths, with some watering down the question to what makes them “okay”.
As humans, we have a negative bias to help us to identify danger, which means that we pay attention to negative information so that we can adjust our response to protect us from new threats.
This response is really helpful if we have a problem to […]