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Team & Group Dynamics

If Better Is Possible

Book Review: If Better Is Possible by John Buchanan
Given that the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 is in full swing, it is quite fitting for a review of a book written by a successful World Cup cricket coach.
John Buchanan’s book is a simple and matter-of-fact account of his years as the coach of the Australian Cricket Team.  It is a very easy book to read and it can be read in spits and spurts as the chapters act as separate narratives rather than a story that links and flows from start to end.
There are numerous practical pieces of advice based on his experience.  Each chapter picks an aspect of coaching and provides stories as well as the methodology he […]

Lessons from the Floods

The entire world has been seeing some amazing images and hearing heart-wrenching stories coming from Queensland in the last few days.  It is likely that the tragic statistics will increase but it also very likely that the amazing and heroic stories will continue to be written.

When the waters finally recede there will be a lot to learn from these floods as there was from the infamous 1974 floods.  But for the moment let’s focus on what we have learned about the mental strength, the resilience, and the toughness of human beings from what we have already seen.
In sport we talk about toughness, about bouncing back, and about self-belief as being critical for success and achievement of goals.

Being glued to […]

Are you Really Practicing your Psych Skills?

One of the hardest aspects of sport psychology is actually ‘doing it’.. By this I mean, dedicating the time and energy to practicing the psychological skills that you have learnt working with your sport psychologist and coach.

Mental Notes Consulting aims to provide athletes, coaches, and parents the resources to help make the integration of sport psychology skills into training, competition, and everyday lives much easier.  These tools aim to complement your training sessions with your sport psychologist to ensure maximum learning and application.

Psychological skills, similar to physical, technical, or tactical skills, need to be practiced and incorporated into athletic training sessions (Frey, Laguna, et al., 2003).  Given that committed athletes spend up to 99% of their time in practice […]

Evolution of the Athlete: Lessons from two great coaches

Here are some of the many lessons from the 4th Annual Coach Education Conference – Evolution of the Athlete – in Brisbane.  It was a great opportunity to hear from leading authorities in sports coaching and learn from their experiences…

One of the keynote speakers at the conference was Ewen McKenzie who is the Head Coach for the QLD Reds. Ewen spoke a lot about the importance of team culture and equated 10-15% of performance to having an effective team culture.  Whether at training or at a game the whole team (athletes and coaching staff) are all working towards a common purpose.  Ewen stated that from his experiences coaching at the elite level, the most effective team culture is one […]

Sport Psychology: Something for everyone!

Working within Mental Notes Consulting has many benefits!  One of which is the teamwork that exists between the consultants.  As we have a number of consultants working in different areas we are able to meet and discuss various ideas and opinions, and as a result, improve our practice.

We use this process to try and regularly assess how we are performing as sport psychologists with our clients.  More recently, as we were going through a review process, I began to notice the great similarities in the work we do with elite athletes and other groups of people.  There are also some clear differences in the work we do with athletes competing at the highest levels but more often than not […]

What’s your Scene? Personality and sport

In sport, we are always interested in ways to help enhance athletes’ performances. From a sport psychology point of view, one goal when working with athletes is to help them bring all the performance aspects (mental, physical, tactical and technical) together to get the edge over their opponents. What personality traits are helpful for peak performance? This is potentially one of the most allusive questions in sport.  Research has explored the use of personality profiles to distinguish between successful and unsuccessful athletes in particular sports, in particular positions, and team selection (O’Sullivan, Zuckerman & Kraft, 1998; Piedmont, Hill, & Blanco, 1999; Vealey, 2002). Despite the relationship between sport performances and personality being far from crystal clear, the Mental Notes […]

The 2010 AFL Grand Final: When the going gets tough

Anyone who watched Saturday’s AFL Grand Final between Collingwood and St Kilda will have an opinion about the outcome.  Some say it’s a travesty that there was no result on the day and some say that the premiership being decided by another game this weekend is the greatest test of who is the better team.

The fact that Saturday’s game was so close means that this is a premiership that will be decided based on which team is stronger mentally.  Both Mick Malthouse and Ross Lyon commented in their post-match interviews that whichever team is more mentally tough in the coming week is the one that will win next weekend.

So, who will it be?  Which team is tougher and which […]

Kokoda Challenge versus Matt’s Mental Toughness

17th July, 2010: At 7am I began the most physically and mentally challenging task I have ever experienced..

With three team-mates I commenced the 96km journey from Mudgeeraba Village Shopping Centre to the Nerang Velodrome known as The Gold Coast Kokoda Challenge.  The Gold Coast Kokoda Challenge is a bushwalking team event where teams of 4 people trek a 96km course through the Gold Coast Hinterland within a 39-hour time limit. The Kokoda Challenge is designed to reflect the key elements of Kokoda with 96km representing the actual distance of the Kokoda Track and the 39 hours symbolizing the 39th Militia who were the first of our Australian troops to arrive at Kokoda on 15th July 1942.

Our Kokoda team was […]

Learn from your Experiences…

There are several Olympic champions roaming the island of Singapore during the Youth Olympic Games.  Here’s some advice from Russian pole vaulting legend, Yelena Isinbayeva,

“Well, there are not only obstacles in sport, but also in life.  What I hope to do in Singapore is to give the young athletes the benefit of my personal experience and to tell them that things do not always go as planned, that there are many ups and downs in sports and in life.  What you need to do each time you are faced with obstacles or misfortunes is to learn from the experience and try not to repeat it.”