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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 […]

Leading from the Front: Leadership tips from the sporting field

In my experience, there are two types of people – those who want to succeed and those who hope to succeed.  Over the years, a lot of athletes have started our work together thinking they don’t need to work on the mental side of their game, hoping that it will happen, only to realise that they have neglected their biggest asset because they have not been able to see the performance potential that is available to them.  So how do you realise that untapped potential in different areas of life?  The key is to be intentional.
The development of leadership skills is one area that is often neglected until crisis is reached.  Everyone has the opportunity to be a leader, in […]

Train Your Brain

One of my favourite sayings is, “If you can train your body you can train your brain.”  For me, this phrase sums up what we do as sport psychologists.  It was once believed that the brain could not be trained or changed; in other words, you were stuck with the brain you were born with.  The good news is there is now evidence that supports the idea that the brain can reorganise itself to think more effectively and can compensate for weaknesses or injury.

How do you train your brain?
Think of your brain like a muscle.  Neurons are like the muscle fibres of the brain and create pathways that contribute to thinking patterns and behaviours.  Pathways are developed over time […]

Articulate Value-Driven Behaviours for Elite Team Performance

I attended The Sport Performance Summit in London at the Emirates Stadium last week and over the two days there were many pieces of information that have stimulated new thought and action as well as information that consolidated our current thought and action.

Many of the attendees and content presenters were members of the ‘team behind the team’ across elite sporting clubs and organisations from around the world.  One of the themes was how leaders get their teams to work together to create successful performance.  It was not only a consistent theme, but also one with consistent messages that were shared by the professionals leading high performing teams.

There were professionals from a variety of performance domains – sport, hospitality, military, […]

Lasting the Distance

We have witnessed a number of incredible feats of courage and outstanding performance over the past few weeks with athletes overcoming incredible odds to achieve at the pinnacle of their sport.  One highlight was Dennis Kimetto’s world record at the Berlin Marathon and the toughness shown as always, throughout both the AFL and NRL finals series.  This weekend is Bathurst 1000, where the stage is set for more incredible feats of courage in what is arguably the most gruelling event of the V8 Supercars calendar.

What drives these performers to push human limits and overcome pain and fatigue barriers to achieve extraordinary results?

According to Angela Lee Duckworth, the answer is a simple four-letter word, grit.  Duckworth describes grit as passion […]

How to Make Success out of Failure

Football player Mia Hamm is often credited with the quote, “Success breeds success”.  On most occasions this principle is seen to be true.  If you are successful, you begin to think more confidently, feel more confident, and perform more confidently, resulting in increased likelihood of success, which makes you think more confidently…and so on.

But what about failure?  Does this principle mean that if you fail you are doomed to a never-ending cycle of failure leading to dented confidence, increased anxiety, and underperforming under pressure?

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way.  Here are three ways to turn failure into success and short-circuit the cycle of failure before it becomes a habit:

1. Be optimistic
Optimistic people view […]

Slow Down to go Faster: Drink less, watch less television, and nap more

Drive.  Push.  Get over it.  Move on.  Mobilise.  Action.  Strive.

These words and phrases are all associated with high achievement and success… They are inextricably linked with descriptions of the mindset required to get ahead in your golf game as well as your life.  They are uplifting and energizing.  They are the opposite of other words… Rest.  Chill.  Take it easy.  Carefree.  Let it be.

But… mental recovery is the ‘new black’ (remember the article I wrote for Ladies European Tour (LET) last year – Make Time for Psychological Recovery) – and research is suggesting that the key to going faster is understanding how to ‘slow down’.

So, with all of this new advice to slow down, where does that leave those who […]

What will you learn? Psychological skills, strategies, & charactertistics targeted when working with a sport and performance psychologist at Mental Notes Consulting

What do we do?

One thing we do is we teach psychological skills and strategies to assist and optimise people’s performance.  This skills and strategies help to build psychological characteristics associated with success, health, and happiness!

When each of the psychologists was asked to put a list together of the ‘top ten skills they most often train’, this is what we came up with… It was too difficult to construct one list of ten for the team as we all have our own professional strengths and interests, so there are nearly thirty psychological skills, strategies, and characteristics!

Goal Setting | Commitment
Performance Planning & Reviews
Concentration | Attention | Refocusing
Arousal Management | Activation | Energisation
Optimism
Emotional Management
Self-Confidence
Value-Driven Behaviour-Committed Action
Cognitive Restructuring
Ideal Performance State – ‘A Game’
Imagery
Breathing Techniques […]

Unite in the Quest for Success!

Watching the Australian cricket team take a clean sweep over England in the recent Ashes series I couldn’t help but notice some impressive team dynamics.  In the field players would support each other with hi-fives or pats on the back regularly (almost after every ball).  There were great celebrations at every wicket.  At the crease upon each fifty or century the group were attentive, stood up, and applauded the achievement.  In press conferences Michael Clarke and Darren Lehmann had no hesitation to praise the efforts of their team rather than focusing too much on the result.  The team song that came out on the pitch after the final test was a great indication they had worked hard on establishing […]