Sunday, 3 June 2012

Blogs Are So Last Year!!!

Guys, most of our news and updates are now done via Twitter so please follow us: @MINDSi.


The MINDSi Crew


Friday, 25 May 2012

How Do You Explain Away Your Sporting Success.....and Failure?

How performers explain or attribute their sporting performance has a significant impact on their expectations and emotional reactions, which in turn influence future achievement.

In order to achieve sporting excellence it is imperative that athletes demonstrate and focus upon positive attributions; ones that are stable, such as their ability.

Attributing performance to these stable factors has a positive impact on performance and has been associated with expectations of future success. Focusing on these factors can be carried from one event to another; they are a constant and because of an athlete’s awareness of this then this should provide a similar outcome in future sporting events.

Alternatively, focusing on negative, unstable or external factors outside of an athlete’s control will have a detrimental impact on their sporting performance as all of these will mean that an athlete will not expect sporting success with any degree of frequency due to the variable nature of all of these factors. This will lead to the athlete feeling that their performance is out of their immediate control and as a result their motivation and confidence levels will be less. In the long term this will have a significant impact on the athlete’s enjoyment and success in their chosen sport.

Gavin Wilson

What Is Motivation Exactly?

Sports psychologist Ian Lynagh, father of former Australian rugby league captain Michael Lynagh describes motivation as “The development and maintenance of a drive to succeed".

He goes onto explain that the most mature reason why people do sport is because of the challenge of wanting to establish control over a task. He then adds that it becomes more of an intrinsic striving, an internal challenge, than the desire for status or other extrinsic things such as prestige and rewards, getting a medal. He continues “Sport provides a process of learning to grow as a human being. Most sports are stupid or meaningless. But we identify a difficult challenge in sport so that we need to train and develop skills, which involves self-discipline and self-management and taking responsibility. It’s all about factors that help humans grow to become more than we are”.

For me this is an excellent definition of the term “motivation” and he goes onto explain it well. The fascinating thing that Lynagh gets at is that he sees motivation in sport as not specifically about sport or its external rewards, such as trophies and medals, but more about motivating oneself to improve as a person.

This links into Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and the five different levels that can be attained. I believe to be motivated in sport, you have to have that drive, that determination in other aspects of your life too – it needs to be intrinsic and you must focus on the task in hand, and not the final outcome. And vice versa.

An athlete’s values and beliefs also link into this and a need to take a personal responsibility and pride in their development and what they want to achieve, in sport and in their everyday life.

To conclude, motivation in sport can be taught although a person’s general personality traits, beliefs, values and strive for personal intrinsic improvement heavily influence future sporting success.

If you, or your team, would like some help with the complex area of motivation please just get in touch with us and one of our Peak Performance Consultants can arrange a one on one session or group session.

Thank you,

Gavin Wilson
Senior Sports Performance Coach

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Go and Be a Super Hero!

Why does the incredible Superman stand the way he does? Why are all super heroes standing with such massive size and great confidence?

Remember the Super Heroes from the 70s and early 80s? When they stood together they looked like one huge force? Why? Why do they stand like that?

A colleague sent me an article on “power posing” the other day and I thought I would get it out to you guys. Is it a half-truth? Is it mental mumbo jumbo? I’ll ask you a question after you read the article and we’ll see what you think.

(The article is courtesy of


Researchers find that assuming a powerful body position helps you feel powerful, act more self-confident and raise testosterone.

How strong is the power of suggestion? For researchers in the field of embodied cognition as it relates to and influences the body — suggestion is a force to be reckoned with. Rooted in psychology, linguistics and neurobiology, embodied cognition has established links between movement and the mental state. A 2008 study published in Discover magazine, for example, found a tie between facial expressions and emotive perceptions. A recent report on a study from the Netherlands found that upward motions elevated mood.

New research published in the journal Psychological Science continues this discussion. A team led by Dana R. Carney, assistant professor at Columbia University, examined the psychological, physiological and behavioral effects of body positioning.

The researchers studied 42 participants (26 females and 16 males). Subjects were assigned poses that indicated either a high or low display of power and were told to hold positions for two simple one-minute intervals. Feelings of power were measured through self-report.

By collecting saliva samples from test subjects before and after body positioning, researchers measured levels of hormones linked to displays of power.

Cortisol, a stress hormone, often increases with feelings of powerlessness. Testosterone levels rise from cues that encourage or reflect dominance.

After they finished posing, participants were given some money and a chance to gamble to assess risk aversion. Handed $2, subjects were told they could roll a die to double their money or lose it all. Feelings of power were measured again through self-report.

The researchers found that high-power posers were more likely than low-power posers to focus on reward. Eighty-six percent of these participants modified their behavior by gambling, while 60 percent of low-power posers took the risk. High-power posers also reported feeling significantly more powerful than their low-power counterparts.

Hormone levels also indicated a difference between high- and low-power posers. High-power posers showed an increase in testosterone and a decrease in cortisol; lower-power posers saw a decrease and an increase, respectively.

These findings push the understanding of embodied cognition into the realm of physiology and motivation, as body movement is linked to mood and behavior. This also suggests that psychological constructs, like power or introversion, can have roots in a pattern of nonverbal physical cues. Rather than mind over matter, perhaps we should think mass over mind?

So do you believe it? I sure do, and so did Superman. So there must be some truth in it.

Here is my question… How many successful athletes stand with their arms held close and their bodies slouched downward?

Let me think about it. Uh, NONE! You never see positive, confident people slouching, looking down, hands wrapped around their mid-section, do you?

So what to do? Start standing with your head high, your chest out, hands on your hips and show the world your confidence.

Do you want to psych your competitors out? Well go and be a Super Hero.

PS. Cape and knickers worn over your trousers are optional!!!!!

Jessica De La Souza

Friday, 16 December 2011

Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas from the MINDSi Team to all our clients, wherever you are in the World.

Looking forward to a successful 2012.


Gavin, Jessica and Tom


Saturday, 3 December 2011

Tom Fawdry Joins The MINDSi Team

MINDSi Sports Performance are delighted to announce the arrival of Tom Fawdry to our team of experts.

Here is a bit about Tom:

Sports Performance and Goalkeeper Development Coach

Tom successfully completed a full time degree in Football Studies (BA Hons) at Southampton Solent University and as a result his approach to coaching combines academic study in tandem with practical coaching experience. Tom’s range of skills includes performance analysis, applied sports psychology, and more specifically, goalkeeper coaching.

Tom has specialised in goalkeeper development for several years, implementing his ideas and philosophies at all levels of football. Tom has successfully gained several coaching qualifications including FA Level 2 in outfield & goalkeeping, FA Youth Module 1 & 2, and various other qualifications, including SAQ & futsal.

Tom has a very modern approach to goalkeeping, through the study of goalkeepers and coaches at the highest level, and he looks to frequently apply new techniques and coaching methods. Furthermore, Tom has been given the opportunity to study goalkeeping all over Europe, learning from coaches and goalkeepers from Norway, Sweden and Spain. Additionally, he has written goalkeeper development programmes for various different football clubs and has undertaken specialised research in the study of goalkeeper development.

If you would to book an appointment with Tom, please contact us on 01752 696756 or email us at


Sunday, 20 November 2011

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Vialli at Villa

This week I had the pleasure of visiting Aston Villa's state of the art training facility at Bodymoor Heath. Italian legend Gianluca Vialla was there too and was speaking to the Academy players. This was what he wrote on the whiteboard for them. Wise words indeed. Take heed.

Gavin Wilson
Senior Sports Perforrmance Coach

Want Some Motivation?

Then watch this -


Friday, 14 October 2011

Basketball and Goalkeeping - A Common Connection

As an avid follower of both basketball and football, I have for some time believed their to be a close links to the skills and demands of basketballer to those of a goalkeeper. My theory has been further enhanced by watching my 11 year old son develop so promisingly at both basketball and goalkeeping. Then I found this fascinating article courtesy of American basketball coach Brian McCormick:

"I jumped into a twitter discussion this week between soccer coaches because I felt that the coaches were settling for obvious explanations that ultimately affect our understanding of sports and talent development. The coaches were discussing goalkeepers, and the ability of the United States to develop several world-class goalkeepers while not developing any true world-class field players.

The soccer coaches latched onto the familiar answer: children in the U.S. grow up playing hand-eye sports like basketball, baseball, football and more, so they naturally gravitate to the goalkeeper position and excel with their hand-eye coordination.

I suggested that the explanation ran deeper into the development of the players. Because of European transfer rules (work visas), U.S. players have to prove themselves with the U.S. Men’s National Team or major League Soccer before transferring to a prominent European league, like the English Premiere League. Therefore, players are essentially near their professional peaks when they finally transfer, somewhere around 26 years old.

For a goalkeeper, this is no problem, as goalkeepers mature later and maintain their peak performance for longer because it is a position that relies heavily on perceptual-cognitive skills like reading angles, anticipating movements, and choice reaction time developed through experience, while field players rely heavily on physical qualities like quickness. A goalkeeper that transfers to an English club at 26-years-old has time to learn the league, fail, rebound and perform at the highest level for a dozen years. USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard transferred to Manchester United, played well, played poorly, lost his job and transferred to Everton where he was given a second chance and has established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in England. Would a field player be given that second opportunity by another club at that age?

Field players develop through the U.S. system and have an adjustment period when moving to a better league. Basketball players have an adjustment when moving from college to the NBA. However, most basketball players are 19-23 when they make the move to the NBA. They have room to develop and have yet to hit their physical peak. They can learn for a year or two and have time to play into and out of their physical peak.

A soccer player undergoes the same transition, yet he is at his physical peak. If he cannot contribute immediately upon arrival with his European club, does he have time to learn the league, develop and get a second chance? Unlikely, especially with the stigma that U.S. players lack the skills to compete at the highest levels. The stigma becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, while the perception of the U.S. producing great goalkeepers improves a U.S. goalkeeper’s chances to get a second look.

The U.S. is transitioning from the players who played in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups to those who will play in the 2014 World Cup (hopefully). However, few of the new players have established themselves, and they are not playing in Europe (unless they have access to European passports, like Stuart Holden or Timothy Chandler, are older, like Clint Dempsey, or are playing in a smaller league like Alejandro Bedoya).

Players who are imagined to be the future of the team, like Tim Ream and Omar Gonzales, are not that young (25 and 24) anymore. At that age, they are nearing their physical peaks and should be playing at the highest levels already to prepare for the World Cup and to challenge themselves professionally. If they are unready for the best leagues at 24 years old, the question must be asked if they will ever be ready? If they transfer at 27 or 28, they may play well for a year or two, and may hold on for a while in near-top leagues like Carlos Bocanegra in France because of their understanding and intelligence which compensates for their lessening speed, but they probably missed their window to accelerate their development by playing with and against the best at a more developmental age.

However, it is much easier to attribute goalkeeper’s success to a basketball up-bringing than to examine the entire developmental system. We are similarly short-sighted in basketball development and training, as we attribute success to a simple explanation while there are many. Parents tell me that their son needs to play year-round AAU basketball at 8-years-old because that’s how LeBron James developed, ignoring the fact that he also played football in high school.

When the facts do not support their argument, however, they are irrelevant. It is much easier to attribute James’ success to his play in AAU than to imagine that football had an effect on his development or that there were other things in play.

Great players often make poor trainers or coaches because they attribute their success to their training programs, even though their success likely had more to do with their work ethic than their training. Many perpetuate poorly planned training because of their attribution of their success. If they ran five miles a day in the summer and were good at basketball, they attribute their success to the five miles per day, not the random pick up games or their effort on the court.

Talent development is never a simple answer. There are many factors involved in an athlete’s development and settling on the easy or obvious explanation often short-changes the athlete and misappropriates his or her success, oftentimes leading to the continuation of biases or poor training."

Gavin Wilson

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Get Your ARSE In Gear!

A common occurrence that all athletes encounter is performance errors. All athletes make mistakes; it is a natural part of learning to be competent at any activity. Since mistakes are normal, it is beneficial to help athletes accept that errors will occur in sport. A unique approach to dealing with performance errors is presented by Halden-Brown (2003). In her book, she addresses the normalcy of making mistakes in sport and how coaches can use these errors to train athletes both physically and mentally. I propose that teaching athletes about resilience will facilitate their ability to accept mistakes and use these errors as a catalyst for optimizing performance.

In a book on mental training in softball, the authors delineate five principles of performance excellence. While set in the context of fastpitch softball, these principles can easily be applied to any competitive setting. The fifth principle, Resilience, is the key to overcoming performance errors. Simply stated, resilience is the ability to remain composed, confident, and consistent in the face of errors. A resilient athlete is one who can let go of errors and return to the present; s/he uses the error as an opportunity to learn and improve. The athlete who is not resilient will dwell on the mistake, be unable to stay in the present, and his/her performance will be inconsistent.

Solomon and Becker (2004) created a four-step process which athletes can use to deal with performance errors. The sequence is as follows.

A = Acknowledge the error and the frustration it has caused
R = Review the play and determine how and why the error occurred
S = Strategize a plan to make the necessary corrections for the future
E = Execute and prepare for the next play

The ability to overcome performance errors is a skill that any athlete can learn.
Teaching athletes this sequence will give them a tool for managing the emotional response which comes with making mistakes and help them to get their ARSE in gear!

Jessica De La Souza

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

It's All About The Little Things or CNes To You And Me

Recently I was asked by a few coaches to give them my top 10 coaching management books. Number one on my list was a book called “Winning” by Clive Woodward.

I had the privilege to be a part of an amazing lecture about team management around five years ago. In this lecture, the speaker told us about the book “Winning!” The book is about the process coach Clive Woodward went through in turning a struggling England’s National Rugby team into an international Rugby powerhouse.

In an effort to take his team from good to great, Woodward set out to create a unique and incredibly special experience for the players coming into his program. His ultimate aim was to make the environment so good that once the players had experienced it they never wanted to be left out of it.

Woodward created this experience and environment by focusing on the little things he called Critical Non-Essentials (CNE’s). CNE’s are all of the little things or details that make your program what it is. Not just any kind of detail, but the development of things that would and could set your program apart from everybody else.

These CNE’s that he focused on include: the locker room (seating, equipment, lockers, extras, decorations, laundry); dress code (home games, away games); sports information (web, game, media guides, TV, radio, other); practice (before, warm-up, training, cool-down); equipment (practice gear, game gear, logo’s, colours); match day environment;(medical/rehab/recovery; nutrition; fitness/strength and conditioning.

Clive Woodward's team subsequently won the World Cup!

See? It's all about the little things!

Jessica De La Souza

Critical Non-Essentials

Clive Woodward


Thursday, 23 June 2011

So Who Is Villas-Boas?

MINDSi SPORTS PERFORMANCE looks at the strengths and weaknesses of new Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas.


Andre Villas-Boas tires quickly of the comparisons with Jose Mourinho — he insists he is his own man. This is best reflected in the way he sets out his teams.

Taking his cue from Sir Bobby Robson and Pep Guardiola, Villas-Boas likes attack-minded sides. In the Europa League final he played an aggressive 4-3-3, with Falcao, Hulk and Silvestre Varela as his front three and Joao Moutinho as the playmaker behind.

This team pressed hard and broke at speed and it is this positive, expansive style that appeals to Roman Abramovich, who is smitten by Guardiola’s Barcelona.

Villas-Boas won the league with the a record number of points, and while 73 goals in 30 games tells you about his commitment to attacking football, the fact they only conceded 16 shows that he was not reckless. Chelsea have been built on very solid foundations for nearly a decade — Villas-Boas will have to coax more creative play out of the team.

Man management

You might think, being just 33, he would seek some distance from his players but Villas-Boas, much like Mourinho, forges strong intimate bonds with his charges.

Orlando, his captain at Academica de Coimbra, said: “He is very close in his relationship with the players. He commands complete respect during the working hours at the training ground but outside he is not the boss, but one of the team. If two or three of you are having lunch somewhere and he comes in, he does not keep apart, but comes to join you.”

He is well read in books on sports psychology and used footage of Benfica’s title celebrations to motivate his Porto side last season. He is very emotional, both on the touchline and in the dressing room and channels this into motivating his players.


Since he was a teenager, Villa-Boas has learned how to prepare teams. He famously compiled a report for Robson after bumping into him and having the chutzpah to ask why his favourite player did not get more game time.

From his work for Robson he graduated into Mourinho’s opposition scout at Porto and Chelsea and compiled meticulous reports on opponents’ strengths and weaknesses, often going to their training grounds to make assessments of every last detail.

He would provide Mourinho with dossiers and help put together DVDs for the players. He remains au fait with all the latest technological developments in data analysis and used it at Porto but also sets more store in his intuitive responses to situations these days. He has become a perfectionist who trusts his instincts.


This is the area in which Villas-Boas is relatively untested. At Porto he inherited a very strong team from the previous coach, Jesualdo Ferreira, and while he certainly improved the players he found, he did not have to assemble a team.

There is work to be done to reform Chelsea’s ageing squad so he will be tested in this area. Like Mourinho did with Ricardo Carvalho and Paulo Ferreira, Villas-Boas could well return to Porto to bring the likes of Falcao and Moutinho to Stamford Bridge.

Much will depend on the relationship he builds with whoever comes in as chief scout or director of football (Chelsea are still open-minded in this regard).

Before he decided to leave to take the job at Chelsea he recommended a list of players to Porto, four of whom the Portuguese club have already signed. Most impressive is the capture of Juan Manuel Iturbe, the 18-year-old Argentine who has been compared to Lionel Messi.

Gavin Wilson

Friday, 3 June 2011

Mental Health Issues in Football

PFA tackles sensitive issue of mental health among footballers
The Footballers' Guidebook will be handed to every player in England's top four divisions next season

A copy of 'The Footballers' Guidebook - Life as a professional footballer and how to handle it', will be handed to every player in the top four divisions next season.

It is considered to be one of football's last taboos, an issue that is not understood and is dismissed far too readily in the machismo-filled dressing room, where weaknesses of any sort tend to be ridiculed. Professional players are not supposed to suffer from panic, anxiety, depression or any sort of mental-health problem. They are regarded as titans among men.
Yet the reality is that footballers display the same vulnerabilities as other young people and under the intense spotlight of the modern game it is natural and inevitable that some of them will feel overwhelmed. The suicide in 2009 of the Hannover and Germany goalkeeper Robert Enke, who had been depressed since the death of his two-year-old daughter, Lara, from a rare heart condition, was an extreme example but it raised the issue of mental health in football and the authorities in England have now acted.

At the beginning of next season players in the four divisions will be issued with The Footballers' Guidebook, which looks at the stressful situations that professionals face and suggests ways to handle them.

The concept was devised by the Professional Footballers' Association, in conjunction with the Football Association, and it has been brought to life not only by the author Susannah Strong but by Paul Trevillion, the legendary comic artist behind the Observer's You Are The Ref, whose strips within the 36-page booklet highlight various scenarios, from the depression that an injury lay-off can cause to the incomprehension and anger of retirement. Trevillion's sketches reinforce the overall tone of the work, helping to make a potentially heavy subject-matter accessible.

"Talking about mental-health problems has traditionally been one of sport's great taboos," Clarke Carlisle, the Burnley defender and PFA chairman, says. "When the boxer Frank Bruno was sectioned under the Mental Health Act, the press ran the headline 'Bonkers Bruno locked up' and, given this attitude, it is unsurprisingly very rare for sportsmen and sportswomen to 'come out' about mental ill health voluntarily.
"Many players may not actually recognise what it is or know how to seek help. I think this guidebook is groundbreaking for players and it takes the first steps towards talking about mental health in professional football."

The stigma that the issue has within the game is reflected by how few players have admitted to having a problem. Those who have gone public over depression include Paul Gascoigne, Andy Cole, Neil Lennon and Stan Collymore. Each is quoted in the guidebook. In some cases of mental ill health, release is sought through drink, drugs, sex or gambling, which can further hasten the individual's downfall.

"The attitude is so often 'pull yourself together'," Gordon Taylor, the PFA's chief executive, says. "It's like in the film, The King's Speech, where George VI's father has no understanding of the problems that he's had. When Stan Collymore sought specialist treatment for his depression, Aston Villa wanted to sack him.

"A football dressing room is a bit like being in a barrack room in the services ; it's about not showing mental weakness. Players have to put on a show but it's the ducks on the water; they might look calm on the surface but, underneath, they are paddling furiously.
"We are trying to change things and create an atmosphere of solidarity ... not to make players with these problems the object of ridicule but to appreciate their qualities and to want to hold them together for the sake of the team."

Mental-health problems affect one in six of the adult population at any one time, including professional footballers, and depression alone affects up to 50%, as well as every family at some stage. The guidebook outlines the factors that can lead to mental distress and places them in situations that will be familiar to players. One of the most stressful, for example, is contract-renewal time. Not every professional is on a long-term, multimillion-pound deal.
"For players in the lower leagues one-year contracts are commonplace and this results in annual negotiations, which can be unsettling," says Simone Pound, the PFA's equality executive who has overseen the production of the guidebook. "This is such a big issue and one of the five sections of the book is devoted to it."
The overriding messages are the need to seek help, immediately and without fear, if any set of symptoms sounds familiar and to recognise that mental health is just as important as physical health.
"We hear little about the lows players feel when unfit to play, the worry and anxiety that not being selected may cause them, or the depression and emptiness many of them face on retirement," Gary Lewin, the England physiotherapist, says. "A number of players have needed help but not known it and that's why this guidebook is so welcome."


Friday, 6 May 2011

Deal With It or Dwell on It? It's Your Choice

In sport you will make mistakes - FACT! So what sorts the champions from the also-rans? Well one of the main things is how they react to a mistake.

As a sportsman or woman you have a choice once a mistake is made. Firstly, you can accept it, learn from the experience and move on. Secondly, you can dwell on it, punish yourself for making it and worry about making the same mistake again.

Doing the former allows you to get stronger and focus on the present. Doing the latter will knock your confidence, make you lose focus and more than likely lead to another mistake.

So, what are you going to do next time you make a mistake?

Jessica De La Souza
Senior Sports Perforrmance Coach

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Want To Improve Your Game?

Because you want to be the best.

Call us and find out how we will help you.

Thank you and Happy Easter from the MINDSi Team.

Jessica De La Souza
Senior Sports Performance Coach

Monday, 28 February 2011

Goalkeeper Psychology - It Doesn't Get Any Easier The Older You Get

Plymouth Argyle goalkeeper and legend ROMAIN LARRIEU has just reached his triple century of appearances for Argyle, after returning to the side after a prolonged period on the bench whilst young Spurs loanee David Button was between the sticks.

However, the club captain, as deferential as ever, took the opportunity to praise his young protégé who stepped aside for the Colchester game.

David Button has made 22 appearances in his loan spell from Tottenham, but was dropped in favour of Argyle's French stalwart custodian, and Romain moved quickly to praise the 21-year-old.

"I need to talk to you about Butts," said Romain. "Without wishing to sound harsh on the rest of the team, it isn't easy to play behind a team that is losing. No matter how old you are. On a few occasions, it was just a matter of keeping the score down.

"Before I got dropped when Kevin Stockdale (on loan from Fulham) came in, I had played for 18 months behind a struggling team. It's just not easy when you are a goalkeeper and the ball goes in the net all the time.

Experience can get you through it, but when you are young like Butts, you ask yourself too many questions. He was not at fault for anything, but, when you let in goal after goal, your confidence goes down. He's a great lad. Unfortunately you see the character of people when they get dropped, or when it's getting tough. There was no doubt in my mind the way he would react.

I know how I was at his age. But he's done brilliant. Anyone who has watched us play this year will have to say he's done brilliant for us. He shouldn't bang his head against the wall, and I know he won't, because he is positive and clued in."

Wise words indeed from the Argyle keeper and it sums up nicely the life of a goalkeeper - young and old.

Gavin Wilson
Senior Sports Performance Coach

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Clothes Maketh The Coach

Fascinating article in The Telegraph newspaper yesterday:

Sports scientists at the University of Portsmouth studied the effect a coach's appearance had on the players' impressions of their competence.

Dr Richard Thelwell said: ''We have found that the clothing that coaches wear can have a direct effect on the players' perceptions of the coach's ability.

''Players look to their coach to provide technical skills, to motivate them and to lead them.

''A coach in a suit suggests strategic prowess which is obviously ideal for a match.

''In our study, coaches wearing a suit were perceived as being more strategically competent than those wearing sporting attire.

''However, when wearing sporting attire, they were perceived to be more technically competent than those in a suit.''

For the research, published in the International Journal of Sport Psychology, the researchers asked 97 men and women to observe and give their reactions to static photographs of four different coaches.

The pictures depicted coaches who were of lean physique and dressed in a tracksuit, large physique and dressed in a tracksuit, lean physique and dressed in a suit and large physique and dressed in a suit.

The coach who was of large build and wearing smart clothes was uniformly ranked the lowest in terms of their competence to motivate, develop technique, develop game strategy, and build athlete character.

The coach who was lean and wearing a tracksuit was rated best for technical and character-building abilities which were skills most required at training and development of players and was rated equal best for ''ability to motivate players''.

The coach who was lean and smartly dressed was rated best as a strategist, the skill most expected and required at matches.

Dr Thelwell said: ''First impressions can have a powerful and long-lasting effect, no matter how quickly those judgments were made.

''From the research, we know that sportsmen and women make snap decisions about their opponents based on first impressions.

''Such impressions then often influence the expectations of the performance outcome that ultimately results in success or failure.

''In coaching it is vital a strong rapport develops between the coach and the athlete.

''Sportsmen and women have to be willing to be persuaded to push the boundaries physically and mentally because the coach believes they can push harder or even because the coach just tells them to but, to date, very little research has been done on what happens in those first few moments, and more importantly whether the athlete is prepared to go along with the ideals of the coach.

''While we are becoming more aware of how athletes might judge coaches, we are still unaware of the processes that athletes go through to be able to develop impressions of coaches and this is something that we are now starting to look at.''

Jessica De La Souza
Senior Sports Performance Coach

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Goalkeeper Psychology - It's Easy To Criticize

I see that Joe Hart is starting to receive a bit of criticism for his performance against Leicester City in the FA Cup. Well, for those goalkeeper critics out there, who have never been brave enough to don the custodian's jersey let me leave you with a few words from my favourite quote:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat".

Gavin Wilson
Senior Sports Performance Coach

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Sport Psychology - The Greatest Sports Coach of All Time

Vince Lombardi. If you have never heard of him, shame on you :). Google him!

Here are some of his most memorable quotes:


“The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.”


“Winning is not a sometime thing, it is an all the time thing. You don’t do things right once in a while…you do them right all the time.”
“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”


“Success is like anything worthwhile. It has a price. You have to pay the price to win and you have to pay the price to get to the point where success is possible. Most important, you must pay the price to stay there.”
“A man can be as great as he wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive, and if you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done.”


“I’ve never known a man worth his salt who, in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind, the discipline. “
“Mental toughness is many things and rather difficult to explain. Its qualities are sacrifice and self-denial. Also, most importantly, it is combined with a perfectly disciplined will that refuses to give in. It’s a state of mind – you could call it character in action.”
“Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.”
“Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”
“Once you have established the goals you want and the price you’re willing to pay, you can ignore the minor hurts, the opponent’s pressure and the temporary failures.”

Will to Win

“There’s only one way to succeed in anything, and that is to give it everything. I do, and I demand that my players do.”
“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.”
“You never win a game unless you beat the guy in front of you. The score on the board doesn’t mean a thing. That’s for the fans. You’ve got to win the war with the man in front of you. You’ve got to get your man.”
“If you’ll not settle for anything less than your best, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in your lives.”


“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”
“It is essential to understand that battles are primarily won in the hearts of men. Men respond to leadership in a most remarkable way and once you have won his heart, he will follow you anywhere.”
“Leadership is based on a spiritual quality --- the power to inspire, the power to inspire others to follow.”
“Having the capacity to lead is not enough. The leader must be willing to use it.”
“Leadership rests not only upon ability, not only upon capacity – having the capacity to lead is not enough. The leader must be willing to use it. His leadership is then based on truth and character. There must be truth in the purpose and will power in the character.”
“A leader must identify himself with the group, must back up the group, even at the risk of displeasing superiors. He must believe that the group wants from him a sense of approval. If this feeling prevails, production, discipline, morale will be high, and in return, you can demand the cooperation to promote the goals of the community.”


“….I firmly believe that any man’s finest hours – his greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear – is that moment when he has worked his heart out in good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.”
“The spirit, the will to win and the will to excel --- these are the things what will endure and these are the qualities that are so much more important than any of the events themselves.”
“They call it coaching but it is teaching. You do not just tell them…you show them the reasons.”
“After all the cheers have died down and the stadium is empty, after the headlines have been written, and after you are back in the quiet of your room and the championship ring has been placed on the dresser and after all the pomp and fanfare have faded, the enduring thing that is left is the dedication to doing with our lives the very best we can to make the world a better place in which to live.”

Mental Toughness

“If you’re lucky enough to find a guy with a lot of head and a lot of heart, he’s never going to come off the field second.”
“Teams do not go physically flat, they go mentally stale.”
“Mental toughness is many things and rather difficult to explain. Its qualities are sacrifice and self-denial. Also, most importantly, it is combined with a perfectly disciplined will that refuses to give in. It’s a state of mind – you could call it ‘character in action.’”
“Mental toughness is essential to success.”


“Winning is a habit. Watch your thoughts, they become your beliefs. Watch your beliefs, they become your words. Watch your words, they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits, they become your character.”
“The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.”
“Confidence is contagious and so is lack of confidence, and a customer will recognize both.”
“If you don’t think you’re a winner, you don’t belong here.”


“It is essential to understand that battles are primarily won in the hearts of men. Men respond to leadership in a most remarkable way and once you have won his heart, he will follow you anywhere.”
“If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you’ll be fired with enthusiasm.”
“To be successful, a man must exert an effective influence upon his brothers and upon his associates, and the degree in which he accomplishes this depends on the personality of the man. The incandescence of which he is capable. The flame of fire that burns inside of him. The magnetism which draws the heart of other men to him.”


“Running a football team is no different than running any other kind of organization…”
“Some of us will do our jobs well and some will not, but we will all be judged on one thing: the result.”
“Winning is not everything – but making the effort to win is.”
“Success demands singleness of purpose.”
“If it doesn’t matter who wins or loses, then why do they keep score?”
“Winning is not a sometime thing…it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while…you don’t do the right thing once in a while…you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit.”

Now, if you are a Coach you should study this guy. He has written numerous books and is a true legend. His sport may not be yours, but his knowledge, skills and leadership qualities in the world of sport are simply amazing. Learn from him. Or why not take our Coach Performance Assessment to identify your strengths and areas for improvement?

Have a great day.

Gavin Wilson
Senior Sports Performance Coach

Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year

From the MINDSi Sports Performance team.

Gavin Wilson
Senior Sports Performance Coach

Sport Psychology - Practice Doesn't Make Perfect

Surprised? Well whilst practice / training is obviously extremely important; what is more important is the "right" practice - both physical and mental.

I have talked previously about minimising "interference" during competition and the best way to do that is to ensure that certain elements of your training replicate competition and match conditions.

You can do this in a number of ways, but use your imagination. Here are some of my favourites to use regularly as part of your normal training regime:

- Prepare for your training in exactly the same way you would for your toughest match

- Wear the same kit and use the same equipment that you do for competitions

- With headphones and an iPod play a recording of hostile crowd throughout practice

- Ask a training partner, team mate or coach to "rattle you" during practice

- Keep the practice session to exactly the same length of time as your match.

Simple tips, but ones that can give you the edge when competing. So make practice "real" on occasions.

It is paramount that athletes, coaches and teams spend time, energy and effort learning to perform the fundamental skills of their sport in competition conditions.

Practice this and you will be on the way to sporting perfection.

Gavin Wilson
Senior Sports Performance Coach

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Basketball Psychology - The Motivation Of Proving People Wrong

This evening I attended a classic BBL basketball match at the RaiderDome between Plymouth Raiders and Guildford Heat. An unbelievable game that ebbed and flowed with Raiders eventually running out winners 116-106.

But it shouldn't have been that way as at the start of the final quarter it looked as though Raiders were about to capitulate with sloppy mistake after sloppy mistake. But no. They re-grouped with some well called Time Outs from Coach Gavin Love and returned to the court re-energised and re-focused.

Not sure what Love said, but it worked a treat. Not bad from the Rookie coach in his first season, who is, I am sure, motivated in proving wrong those who doubted his controversial appointment.

This result is a huge psychological boost for Raiders who now climb the league table and are now a respectable 5-5, after a shocking 0-3 start to the season. Raiders will go into their next game absolutely buzzing,

Hats off too to Raiders Cody Toppert who came off the bench to score a massive 41 points. A point to prove too perhaps?

Gavin Wilson
Senior Sports Performance Coach

Sport Psychology - Ali Knew The Secret

"Champions aren't made in the gyms. Champions are made from something that they have deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision" - Muhammad Ali

Gavin Wilson
Senior Sports Performance Coach

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone 4

Sport Psychology - Be AWESOMER

See someone that you think is better than you at your chosen sport? Maybe faster, more agile, more determined, more successful? Maybe they give off an aura of invincibility, walk with a swagger, look unbeatable.

Well, let them act as you benchmark. Seek to improve yourself so much that you are better than them. Learn from them, then reel them in - before overtaking them.

After this, get a new benchmark - and repeat. Then slowly and surely, you are becoming the best that you can possibly be. Better than the rest. Better than the best.

They maybe AWESOME, but you are AWESOMER!!

Gavin Wilson
Senior Sports Performance Coach

Football Psychology - Dead Men Walking

Who would be a football manager? In a season that has already seen competent managers such as Chris Hughton and Sam Allardyce be dismissed; what hope is there for Avram Grant, Mark Hughes, Carlo Ancelloti and Roy Hodgdon?

All Dead Men Walking for sure. Or are they?

My advice to them, stay focused, avoid the papers, display confidence, talk positively and you will stand a far greater chance of keeping your jobs.

Good luck guys.

Gavin Wilson
Senior Sports Performance Coach

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone 4

Football Psychology - It's Not Over Until It's Over

So unusually for Manchester United, it is them that suffer from a late, late goal at Birmingham City last night. Okay, there was a push, a handball and a possible off side - but a goal is a goal, whenever it is scored.

The lesson here is that United weren't troubled all game, until that late goal. They got complacent, thought the game was won and switched off. Big mistake. Play to the whistle and always, always maintain your focus.

Gavin Wilson
Senior Sports Performance Coach

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone 4

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Sport Psychology - Minimising Interference


What does this mean? Well, your sporting performance is dependent on two crucial factors. These factors are your potential (ie. ability) and any outside interference.

You can control you Potential but you are less able to control any external interference. However, to achieve Peak Performance the Interference has be minimised.

Interference at sport could be the weather conditions, a poor pitch, opponents trying to psyche you know the things that get to you!

So, focus on how you can minimise any Interference before you perform and your ability will shine through to achieve your optimum performance - every time.

Gavin Wilson
Senior Sports Performance Coach

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Sport Psychology - Instant Way to Pump You Up

So, how can you improve your sporting performance in an instant?

Well, the answer is stunningly simply - listen to some music. Doing this not only releases the wonderful endorphins in your brain making you feel fantastic but more importantly listening to music blocks out any negative messages that maybe going on inside your mind.

Try it and you will see an immediate positive response and an improved performance as a result.


Gavin Wilson
Senior Sports Performance Coach