I had the opportunity to have a chat with Mark Simpson, a former professional Ironman and an inspiring mentor to the next generation of athletes coming through the sport. Mark has not only excelled as an athlete but has also established himself as a highly successful coach and entrepreneur.
Our work together started back in 2009. At that time, Mark had already achieved success as an athlete but had hit a wall trying to break into the elite group of his sport. Recognising the limitations of physical training alone, we embarked on mental performance training.
In early 2011, about 18 months into our partnership, Mark reached a turning point where he realised the impact of mental training.
Fast forward to today, and Mark has transitioned these skillsets into the world of business, leading multiple ventures from a swim school, an elite personal training gym and a surf craft...
Managing athletes with mental blocks requires a coach’s immediate attention. In this episode 89 of Brain in the Game, we delve into what we can do, as coaches, to support athlete's experiencing a mental block by:
Understanding the Causation: We discuss the ways to identify the root cause of the mental block, and how to find out whether it stems from a fear of actual consequences or if it's created through imagination – and the different approaches needed for each scenario.
The Importance of Early Intervention: How to address the cause promptly and whether it requires technical adjustments or others to support the athlete's emotional resilience.
Managing the Emotion: The crucial reason to eliminate emotions from the equation and the pragmatic steps to and guide athletes through the process.
The longer athletes are left to struggle with mental...
The reason I say yes and no is because the ethos I have as a mental performance coach, and has worked really well for athletes and coaches and teams over the years, is:
If you're an individual athlete and you're thinking, ‘I’m not part of a team.’ You probably are. You just may not realise it at this stage, or you may not necessarily be there at this stage. You might be what I call a ‘tipping point’ athlete, you're just not in the team yet, or you're not in the representational part of your career yet, where understanding team dynamics is front of thought.
At some point, if you want to represent your country, you will be working within a team.
Even if you're representing your club, or your region as a team member, the fact that you're not doing it alone – you've got a coach, you've probably got peers you train with, an entourage around you of physios, S&Cs, chiropractors, mental...
As a coach of elite athletes, you understand the importance of getting the best out of your athletes. But what if there was a way to use your natural talents to do this more effectively?
Think about just how different all our athletes are. Getting results from one athlete can be a different process to getting results from another. One size really doesn’t fit all.
So as a coach, how well do you know your athletes? Do you know what triggers them into action? What drives them and what scares them? And if so, how did you work it out? Was it something that was innate, or do you have a process that enables you to better understand and optimise your athletes?
If you think about just one of your athletes right now:
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...