Thursday, 23 July 2015

Speed Vs. Accuracy

While taking part in my favourite activity at the weekend, a self navigating run (for those that are wondering this is a run where you are given the route instructions or a map at the start of a race and have to follow them, there are no marshals or arrows to follow - although there are checkpoints along the way to make sure you're on track) there were a couple of different instances got me thinking about speed vs. accuracy.

The reason for this was because if the run I was doing had finished at 3.5 miles I would have been on the podium despite the fact that there were quite a few faster runners taking part.  The reason - they were so focused on going fast, they didn't read the route instructions clearly enough and therefore went down a few wrong paths before getting back on track.  Being that we do these things for fun we did have a good laugh about it as they came past and for some when they came past for the 2nd or 3rd time... (By the way fun doesn't mean we're not also a competitive bunch!)

The same thing had happened the day before on another route and in the lull between instructions I started to wonder how this is the same as our thinking works - our brain works at such a speed we can be down the wrong path before we've even had a chance to realise there was more than one way to go!  Or perhaps we are following the crowd, not wanting to be the one to say 'I think it's this way'

So we can back track the way we came until we find the point we last knew where we were, we can forge forward and hope to come to somewhere we recognise or we can find a short cut to get back on track.  Depending on what we are doing all these options are perfectly valid.  But what if we hadn't gone speeding past the turn in the first place, what if we had slowed down just a little to read the instructions and understand what was needed of us so that we could take the right path first time... Well in the long run it could save you time and energy.  And just like on these runs - if you think it's a different way, stop and check, it could be that others are having the same doubts and together you can make sure you are all on the right path.

So the magic key in this instance is to have the right speed and accuracy rather than one or the other, they should be complimenting each other.  Which means having the right strategy mentally

1. be sure of your own abilities
2. be strong - if you think others are following the wrong path, take the one that you think is right.
3. be ready to admit your mistakes and rectify them quickly

And above all have fun!

Working with a mental strategies and mindset development coach means you can make sure your brain is taking the right path at the right time with speed and accuracy.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015


Often when we are training or taking part in competitive sport we push ourselves to limits both mentally and physically and sometimes this means we can forget that we are meant to be enjoying that pushing of our boundaries as well.

So remember to smile!  

Darwin, way back when, was not only interested in the biological sciences but also in psychology and published a paper called 'The expressions of emotions in man and animals'.  Part of his thinking was that our facial expressions didn't only reflect our emotions but could also cause them!

So what is the science behind a smile...?

When we smile it sets off a whole set of messages to our brain that benefits our health and happiness.  Smiling activates the release of neuropeptides which helps us fight stress.  The neurotransmitters (chemicals that transmit signals across neurons) of dopamine, endorphin and serotonin are all released in the right balance to help us feel good, relax and can lower our heart rate and blood pressure (now that sounds good for a sports person!)

And there's more...

Endorphins are a natural pain reliever and serotonin acts as an anti depressant - always useful when you're going through a tough part of training or competing.

So going back to Darwin's theory - we feel good and it makes us smile or we can smile and it helps us feel good - what a great short cut to give us a boost.

Smiling is contagious - you can make your day and someone else's just by smiling at them.  Whether you choose to do this with your competitors is up to you!

So, when the going gets tough, the tough get smiling!

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Strengths vs Weaknesses

It is often thought in sport, business and life that we always have to work on our weaknesses... But is this the best way?  By working on our strengths we can automatically bring along those areas where we are not so strong.  Worrying always about our perceived weaknesses can take a lot of time, energy and emotion which could be better spent on building confidence by feeling good about what we do well.  In order to be successful it is important to focus on our strengths not try to eliminate our weaknesses.

We all have people around us who have an opinion on what's best for us and we need to remember we are the only ones being us and all that means for our life, training and sport.  In order to achieve we need to be feeling confident and strong in what we are doing, which isn't going to happen if we only focus on weaknesses!  We also need to remember that it's easy to get quick improvements when you start off and are going from OK to good, but what makes the difference is being able to sustain or improve when you're at the top - that's where the thinking, planning and work comes into it.  That's where we have the EDGE.

So what are you good at and how can you keep or improve on it, that's where our energy should be!

It bought to mind this quote...

"I also focus on my strengths.  I don't devote any more than 10% of my energy to working on my weaknesses.  I'll never be perfect, and I don't have to be.  My strengths are my strengths for a reason and focusing on them allows me to work on weaknesses from a place of confidence rather than need.  Confidence is worth more than anything else."

Lauren Fleshman, American track and field athlete