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FAQ

Do you just work with young athletes?

Why do we need to develop psychological skills from a young age?

What are the critical skills young athletes need?

What are the benefits of training these skills? 

Won’t these skills develop anyway?

Aren’t psychological skills just for elite athletes?

My child is already good, don't they need to work with someone who just works with pro’s/Olympians?

Why does my child underperform in competition?

Why isn’t my child motivated?

Can you deal with perfectionism?

Can these skills be used in school and life?

What if I have any other questions?

Do you just work with young athletes?

No, I work with many talented older athletes/individuals too! Just as I am extremely experienced with young athletes I also have an extensive proven record of success with older athletes. I have supported professional players for example, in the Premier League in football, tennis players on the ATP tour, and professional golfers. I’ve also supported many Olympic athletes in sports such as hockey, sailing, speed skating, gymnastics, athletics, and swimming. I’ve also supported over 100 athletes who compete in US college sport across 15+ sports. Outside of sport I’ve worked with other performance areas such as music and law and helped a wide range of individuals implement performance psychology skills into their lives. Whatever your age, sport, art, business or life goals are, I can help you reach your goals and maximise your potential.

 

Why do we need to develop psychological skills from a young age?

Psychological skills are just like any other skills, they need time to develop. If you don't develop physical skills (physical literacy) at a young age not only do you lack ability in the short-term, but you are forever limited by the level you can reach. It's the same with psychological skills. Also, habits, attitudes, thoughts and behaviours are difficult to change once established. Interestingly many of our life habits, attitudes and behaviours are set by the age of 14 years! While we can change them after that age it takes significantly longer with less success. That's why I’m driven to ensuring each young athlete learns psychological skills (psychological literacy) at a much younger age. 

 

What are the critical skills young athletes need?

To gain all the benefits we want young athletes to have we need to start with solid foundations. When you build a house you don't put the roof on first. You lay down the foundations that will hold the building up. Psychological foundations start with how you define success. From there I develop repeatable processes and principles that lead to coherent and consistent development. I then develop specific psychological skillsets including how to focus effectively, how to develop confidence, how to control emotions, and how to cope under pressure. 

 

What are the benefits of training these skills? 

There are so many benefits it would be hard to list them all! But highly desirable ones include: high quality motivation, high self-esteem, increased work ethic, improved performance, increased positive emotions, increased confidence, increased focus, grater body/mind awareness, increased problem-solving abilities, greater planning and performance evaluation, increased ability to perform under pressure, increased learning increased enjoyment and greater persistence and resiliency. Who wouldn't want all of those!

 

Won’t these skills develop anyway?

One of the greatest myths that surrounds mental skills is that they will just develop. It just isn’t true. It’s like thinking someone will just become very fast or develop great shooting technique. All skills need developing in a coherent, development, consistent way over time to become effective. Psychological skills are no different. Unfortunately most people are reactive in their approach to performance psychology. Athletes are often referred when they are already are anxious, lack confidence, can’t control their emotions, and under perform under pressure. It's the physical equivalent of injuring yourself and waiting until it really hurts before you go to the doctor. It doesn’t make sense. Prevention is always better (and easier) than cure. I encourage all athletes, coaches, parents, school and clubs to be proactive and make the investment young athletes deserve. 

 

Aren’t psychological skills just for elite athletes?

This is another popular myth. As someone who has worked with athletes across the sports continuum, its actually clear that there is no difference in the skills needed. As more famous athletes talk about how they achieved their successes it supports what we already know from research that they have used these skills throughout their career, and they are a critical part of why they become great. I want all young athletes to have access to these skills so they too can reach their potential. 

 

My child is already good, don't they need to work with someone who just works with pro’s/Olympians?

Just because someone works at a high level doesn't mean they understand young athletes. All young athletes need to develop the right skills, at the right time, the right way. Professional environments and demands are very different and people who work at that level aren’t necessarily equipped to work successfully with young athletes. Too often young athletes are treated like mini adults – they aren’t…

 

Why does my child underperform in competition?

One of the common reason people seek performance psychology support is because while they perform well in practice, they don't see the same level in competition. There are many reasons for this. Often athletes lack the skills they need to compete. They don't know how to problem solving quickly, they don't know how to focus under pressure, they don't have the awareness to know what is going on and how to change it. This leaves them reactive and causes things like poor decision making, losses of emotional control and drops in confidence. A further common problem is the tendency to think that practice and competition are different. Practice is ‘just’ practice, but competition matters This causes anxiety. Lastly, few young athletes practice systematically under the type of pressure competition brings and fail to develop & refine their psychological skills. I ensure each athlete overcomes all of these limitations and work closely with coaches to ensure psychological skills are developed & tested under the right conditions in a systematic way. 

 

Why isn’t my child motivated?

All humans are inherently motivated. So, if someone seems to be lacking it, there’s usually a good reason. Young athletes often appear unmotivated when actually they aren’t. This can be due to lacking the skills they need to succeed, feeling out of control, lacking goals & direction, fear of failure and failing to see that the effort they invest is worthwhile or recognised. Some have also developed what we call poor quality motivation, that is motivation that is based purely on winning or other uncontrollable outcomes. I develop high quality motivation which is internally based and controllable and ensure each young athlete knows how to set appropriate goals, measure progress, reflect to increase learning and sees a clear path for future improvement. 

 

Can you deal with perfectionism?

Many young athletes struggle with perfectionism. It can be extremely debilitating for the athlete themselves and makes parenting and coaching challenging. My approach is to develop what we term adaptive perfectionism. This means keeping the good parts of perfectionism such a working hard, setting high standards, while also reducing down the debilitating parts such as trying to be perfect, fear of mistakes/failure, being overly critical of themselves and others, openness to change/learning and increased in confidence, self-esteem and enjoyment.

 

Can these skills be used in school and life?

Absolutely. All the foundations, principles and skillsets I develop are extremely useful in all settings. I treat each athlete I work with as a person. Sport isn’t who they are, it’s something they do. Accordingly, while I direct the work towards sport, everyone is encouraged and given practical guidance on how to use the skills in everything they do. Once they learn how to integrate them, they soon notice how they get better and enjoy everything they do!

 

What if I have any other questions?

If you have any other questions, I’d love to hear from you. You can request more information or book a call using the contact page.