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Don’t Crack Under Pressure: The psychology behind the phenomenon of choking

Choking under pressure is a phenomenon that every player has experienced but few are willing to explore their personal episodes of choking and analyse the causes of this adverse and costly reaction to perceived pressure.
Most players would rather erase such experiences from their mind, and hope it never happens again. But recognising your patterns of response in terms of thought and action, and understanding what needs to change can mean the difference between being a choking resistant player or a choking susceptible player.
In this article, I will share the player profiles emerging in recent research on choking susceptibility, that can guide the self-assessment of your player profile to better understand yourself and your typical response under pressure.
Choking Defined
Choking is […]

The #1 Mental Skill you Need to Make it on Tour

As a psychologist to amateur and professional players, part of my day job involves walking the course analysing their habits and response patterns to situations during tournaments.
Caddies would agree that you can see a lot as a quiet observer, the things that player’s themselves under-estimate as the real causes of a great day on the course or a poor result.
My on-course analysis work has confirmed what I believe to be the one mental skill that can make all the difference in the outcome of your game and ultimately your fate in keeping your tour card at the end of the season.
Some will argue that the most important mental skill has to be confidence. My question would […]

The Australian International School gets into the Zone with Mental Notes Consulting

The Athlete Development Program (ADP) at the Australian International School (AIS) is one-of-a-kind in Singapore schools, offering student-athletes the opportunity to train and be coached on a path to university scholarships and elite level sport. This semester, the ADP students added a new form of training to their repertoire, making further strides through sport psychology training with Singapore Psychologist and fellow Aussie, Dr Jay-Lee Nair from Mental Notes Consulting. The program comprised a series of interactive group workshops designed by Dr Jay-Lee, specifically for adolescent student-athletes to learn mental skills to enhance their sport experience and performance.
The power packed one-hour sessions covered a broad range of themes and included ‘live polling’ that enabled the students to respond in real-time […]

A Behind the Scenes Look at Mentally Preparing for the Olympics

The mental toughness training athletes undergo before reaching the Olympic stage is not typically well documented or understood. In this article, I will provide a behind the scenes look at the psychological preparation athletes go through before the biggest event in sport.
For the past year, I have had the opportunity to work as the sport psychologist to the Singapore Sailing duo on their road to Rio campaign. The coach explained that the team was talented but needed a boost in their mental training to perform consistently under high levels of pressure. If they could advance their mental game, he believed they could qualify for the Rio games and even have a chance at medaling.
When the team first sought […]

High Performance Workshop Series – Workshop 5 – Performers are People Too

Guest Speaker: Ashley Harrison
Date: 7th July
Time: 7-8.30pm
Location: Allsports Physiotherapy & Sports Medicine, Southport
Mental Notes Consulting has combined with their partners to bring you a series of High Performance workshops across South East Queensland in 2016.  The series will cover topics designed to help you to reach your performance potential in sport, coaching, performing arts, school, work and exercise.  Guest presenters include strength and conditioning coaches, physiotherapists, coaches, ex-athletes and staff with elite sport backgrounds and experience.
Each workshop will consist of two 45 minute sessions during which a guest speaker and Mental Notes Consulting’s Australian Sport Psychologist will present on high performance strategies.
Ash is a former NRL player whose career spanned 276 games at the top level. The clubs that served him throughout […]

The Power of an Hour

What is it?
The power of an hour refers to a study technique for student-athletes that develops discipline in managing common distractions and creates fearsome focus to strengthen your working memory.
The benefits
1. Focus & discipline
The art of ignoring distractions when studying often comes down to being able to control the compulsive urge to respond to messages on your phone, scroll through your newsfeed, or check your email inbox while studying.  The power of an hour study technique structures your study blocks and break times in a way that helps you to practice this discipline, without it feeling like torture.
2. Time optimisation
Think about how much time you perform quality study when you have a 3-4 hour blocks of time when exams are not […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]