Ah, the holiday season.
For many, this means plenty of food, family gatherings, and a well-deserved break from our regular routines. And it's the time of year when many sports are taking a break, so for elite and professional athletes, the holidays bring a unique set of challenges – how to stay mentally fit and keep up with your training while still enjoying some downtime.
As we hurtle into a new year, we're going to look at downtime; taking time out of your sport. Because we've got to be careful, and be really conscious about how we handle downtime after being so full throttle. The minute we take our foot off the accelerator, we're either going to stall or we're just going to crash. So as an athlete, what are you doing with your time in order to coast your way through this holiday season in the best way possible?
I'm sure previous to this, you were spending most of your day fully engulfed in your sport, in your preparation. You must have...
In elite sport, visualisation is commonly used as a mental preparation tool. Visualisation is such an important skillset to own and master as an athlete. I would say it is one of the major pillars of mental preparation.
There are many different styles of visualisation for athletes to use in order to create their own mental blueprint for optimal performance – those of you who have been through our visualisation training will know what we're talking about.
...it’s the same skillset for different uses across multiple different times and processes. And like all good mind hacks, its use needs to be specific and targeted in order to optimise its return.
So, when should athletes use visualisation? And what style is best for you and your needs?
Check out this short video that...
It’s dark. Are you laying awake staring at the ceiling, negative thoughts swirling through your mind; every possible, worst-case scenario being conjured up?
You are not alone.
In fact, you’re pretty normal.
Sleep deprivation is a common problem for elite athletes and can happen for a variety of reasons: early morning practice, late night competitions, travel, and – more commonly – worrying about your performance.
While it may not seem like a big deal, sleep deprivation can have serious consequences. Lack of sleep can lead to decreased performance, increased injuries, and impaired decision making.
And this is becoming increasingly normal for modern-day athletes as our lives become more and more highly pressured.
That being said, you could be doing it smarter.
Here's a snippet of the advice I gave one of our top athletes about what is keeping her awake and what she can do to take...
Michael has made 118 International appearances and has won the coveted John Eales Medal for a record fourth time.
At the age of 22, Michael became one of the youngest test captains and has spent the last eight years forging his on- and off-field dominance.
In this interview, Michael shares his thoughts and philosophies on leadership and the personal journey he has undertaken to get to this point in his career, and where he believes there is opportunity for improvement.
We also discuss what Michael does during his down time and how he compartmentalises between his sport and his life away from rugby.
Michael shares the importance of learning self awareness and the resilience that comes with each new challenge.
Check out this deep dive into the inspired mind of Michael Hooper.