Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Assisting others in Becoming Champions in their sport, performance and Life

In the fall and winter of 09 I had the honor of facilitating my Inner Fitness program with a group of young lady soccer players. Today some of those young ladies were featured in the Nelson Daily News for their outstanding achievements. I am so proud of  Andrea Stinson (best all round athlete), Brittany Wheeler (top female scholar), and Sarah Fuhr (for basketball and soccer) all featured in this article.

It is so wonderful to be part of the world of sport and I love assisting in others becoming Champions in their sport, performance and life.

Friday, June 11, 2010

World Cup 2010 - Deep Hunger to Connect

Have been counting down to this day for what seems like a very long time! For those of you who may not be aware, (if that’s possible) today is start of the 2010 Football World Cup in South Africa. This is the first tournament held in the continent of Africa and promises to be special both on and off the pitch.

The first World Cup was in 1930 and since then it has grown to become one of world’s largest sporting events, bringing people from all different corners of the world together and giving them to opportunity to interact and connect. The digital age has opened up many new ways to connect with fans across the globe and also show your passion and love for the game of football, and your team. In this blog I hope will add something to why there is such a Deep Hunger to Connect through this World Cup experience.

In my upcoming documentary, book and game I begin by taking my audience on a journey to the ancient world where athletic contests were offerings to the gods and in some cases, notably the Mayas, it was the athletes themselves who were the offerings! Sport was more than entertainment, an afternoon at the ball game, it was an individual and group religious experience. Sport had divine purpose whether as a rite to win celestial favor, to placate an angry deity, or to honor departed heroes.

Michael Novak, author of The Joy of Sports, insists this purpose still exists today: ...sports flow outward from a deep natural impulse that is radically religious: an impulse of freedom, respect for ritual limits, a zest for symbolic meaning, and a longing for perfection.

Furthermore, Novak and others argue this function of sport is eternal whether we acknowledge this or not. Writes Andrew Cooper, Sports satisfy our deep hunger to connect with a realm of mythic meaning ... to see the transpersonal forces that work within and upon human nature enacted in dramatic form, and to experience the social cohesion that these forms make possible. Whether or not we so name them, these are religious functions.

Sport’s spiritual function works on both the level of the athlete and the audience; in fact, each is often dependent on the other. A winning performance by an athlete can stir a crowd into exhilaration, and they, in turn, can compel an athlete to new heights. Todays opening of the World Cup is a powerful example of how Cheering works, thus alludes to the popular notion of home team advantage whereby athletes are inspired by positive audience reaction and collective enthusiasm. Perhaps it’s not an accident, then, that the word enthusiasm comes from the Greek, meaning to be inspired or possessed by a god.

This religious aspect of sport, however, has once again been sublimated by a secular culture: Our society so thoroughly secularizes sport that we can barely recognize, let alone express, what it makes us feel, laments Cooper. Recognition of the sacred has been reduced to popular idioms such as team worship, sports icon and, yes, The Zone.

Owning the Zone traces the secularization of sport and asks the question, Did we go wrong and, if so, where? The implications of this question are far-reaching for they threaten to touch upon the malaise that is modern sport. Contract disputes and players’ strikes, diva behaviour among star athletes, crass commercialization, soaring ticket prices that make professional sports inaccessible to much of the masses, these and other problems might be attributed to some extent to the loss of sport’s sacred place.

Let me ask you this. What does the secularization of sport mean for athletes and what implications, if any, does it have on their ability to enter and Own The Zone?

There is a wonderful paradox in Buddhism about losing yourself in order to find yourself. Enlightenment can only be reached when one surrenders the ego to a higher power, surrenders individual goals to the greater good. One can play on the word goals here, for the new trend in coaching is to encourage athletes to do exactly the same as a monk. Phil Jackson works from the premise that When a player surrenders his self-interest for the greater good, his fullest gifts as an athlete are manifested...When players are totally focused on the team goal, their efforts can create chain reactions ... Selflessness is the soul of teamwork. It’s what makes the difference, Jackson argues, between an unsuccessful team with many talented players who cling to individual glory, and a successful team with average players who don’t.

This need to lose oneself in the game in order to win it also works in solo competitions like golf. As Dr. Gio Valiante, a Rollins College psychology professor who works with pro golfers, states. Someone who plays to impress others or prove something will have too many external thoughts to truly focus. The player who plays to learn, improve and excel is fully involved in the process and its details. That’s a player who can get into the zone and be more fulfilled.

However, now that The Zone has become a mainstream issue some would say a fad there is added pressure upon athletes to claim access to it.The Zone has become the Holy Grail of sport and most athletes, professional or amateur, feel the pressure to boast they’ve drunk from this cup. The irony is that, like the Holy Grail, the more you seek the glory of The Zone the more elusive it becomes.

The result is the paradox of the humble sports hero. One only has to think of the grace, and graciousness, of a Wayne Gretzky and contrast it with the out-of-control behaviour of a Mike Tyson or a Dany Heatley to see how this paradox works. Star athletes and teams are among a nation’s heroes, and our need for heroes who behave like heroes, who take their responsibility as role models seriously, runs deep within our cultural consciousness. When a hero falls from grace the collective disappointment is profound, shattering the faith and calling into question the very value and meaning of sport.

Owning the Zone concludes that professional sport must once again find the sacred within itself if it is to meet the needs of both athlete and audience. It is a question of survival. As we have argued throughout this documentary, sport is very much like a religion and it is worth noting that previous belief systems which failed to meet the needs of its adherents eventually drifted into oblivion or were consumed by another, stronger faith. If we as a culture are to hold onto this pathway to the divine, participants of sport, whether contestant or spectator, must continue to find The Zone, to marvel at its splendor, and find meaning in the experience.

This unique book and documentary will examine Peak Performers in Sports Entertainment and the strategies (internal performance strategy) unconsciously utilized by these peak performers that keep them Owning the Zone and that have made the difference that makes the difference in their lives and work

Through this exploration, you as the audience will discover a revelatory understanding of how peak performers achieve and maintain peak performance. By becoming fully being aware of how internal performance strategies program one for performance, you will learn how to utilize their own strategy in a more productive way.

You may actually like to try on a peak performer’s strategy to see how it can make a difference in their life and they can through my private coaching, soon to be released book and video game.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Reputation is What You are Perceived to be Character is what YOU are

This blog is dedicated to my grandson Baye ... there are no words that could better describe what being a teacher, coach and success really means.

Baye, may you one day on your journey through this thing called life watch this video by John Wooden and may you one day be blessed with a teacher/coach such as John.

Reputation is what YOU are perceived to be. Your character is what YOU are. Coaching for people not for points.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The role of Beliefs

Did you know that the a belief is not about reality?

You have a belief in place of knowledge about reality.

Beliefs are about the things that nobody can know in reality.

So now ask yourself what is my reality?