Using EFT to improve sports performance
"Pain is temporary, pride is forever." Meb Keflezighi
I read a interesting article the other day. It was written by Joe de Sena and he had interviewed the olympic athlete Meb Keflezighi he's the only person to ever win the Boston and New York marathons and a medal in the Olympics.
As a child, Meb came to the United States after escaping from Eritrea.
Because of the hardships he and his family endured, Meb learned that there's more to success--in anything--than just winning and that perseverance can take you far.
Your frame of reference can put your goals in perspective. Next time you doubt your abilities, step back, look at the bigger picture and think of what others have endured. In context, this can inspire you to work your absolute hardest.
A goal bigger than yourself, that affects people positively, is an excellent motivator.
What can you do to incorporate helping others into your achievements?
Meb says: "At the end of the day, your biggest--and only real--competition is yourself.
Your sporting goals may seem too big or even impossible. But, if you persevere, you can rise to just about any challenge. Find your perspective. Find the superordinate goal - that's the focus where 2 goals come together - and let that drive you. You want to win the race but the money you raise also helps a charity.
That sort of psychology is very powerful for individual challenges particularly ones that involve stamina and perhaps some pain. A long distance walk, run or triathlon type event. Squash or tennis tournament.
Other sports require a more focused, calm approach to achieve your best.
Lawn bowls, darts, shooting sports where you want to bring your heart rate down.
That's where techniques like EFT really make a difference.
The first thing I suggest to my clients is that they begin a daily practice of meditation using EFT. It's quick and easy and involves setting aside 5 minutes each day to sit quietly and uninterrupted.
Then you tap on each of the meridian points whilst breathing in and out for a count of 5.
So why do this? Well, you're setting your body up with a conditioned response. Your body and brain start to understand how you want to feel when you tap and focus on your breathing and it starts to react automatically.
Eventually you'll be able to become calm and focus without the full round of tapping and just use discreet meridian points so you can use the meditation during play or on the field without drawing too much attention to yourself.
I've witnessed a number of top sports professionals tapping on the field in full view of the cameras. AFL players to F1 drivers. Tapping discretely on fingers or their temple. Often you'll find a point on your body, a meridian, that works best for you or feels most comfortable.
If you followed the recent Rugby world cup you may have learned about some of the psychology that the All Blacks have been applying in their training so that they go into games in a mentally relaxed, calm state.
For quite some while sports psychology has employed a firing up, exciting the neurons type of approach. Think heavy metal music and high adrenalin. But on its own its not enough to keep a team going when the play gets difficult, when the score is very close or they start to loose.
Sustaining that level of adrenalin and high arousal is exhausting because your body is continually in a state of fight or flight and so if you put it together with the sheer exhaustion of playing such a physical game for 80 minutes it makes sense that you need to be more strategic.
Also those high levels of adrenalin and cortisol do terrible things to your internal organs over time and stress affects your pre-frontal cortex where all the clever thinking goes on so if you rely just on the hyped up approach your game can quickly turn into an all out fight and strategy goes out the window.
The true strength of the team really shows when the going gets tough. Can you keep playing the same game even when you're losing? What happened the last time you played and started to lose?
EFT is equally powerful for focusing on any limiting beliefs that might pop up just as you're about to take that shot.
Perhaps you play golf and you just can't shift your handicap. Is there a pattern that you've started to notice? You get so far into a game and then the little voice starts from no-where.
I bet its not telling you what a brilliant player you are and how your going to nail this round.
I work with clients to explore where that little voice, the limiting belief comes from. Where did they learn it. Whats the story that supports it. When was the first, the last and the worst time it happened.
You can start to do this yourself. Tap on the thought.
Even though everytime I get to the 10th hole my game falls apart and I think …...? I'm willing to accept I can work through this or I'm willing to let go of this thought or whatever balancing statement works for you.
Even though everytime I get to the semi-finals I lose it.
Everytime I play that person
Everytime I have to play at that venue
Even though I feel …..this way.....about this thing I'm willing to accept this is just how I feel and I'm ok
Even though this situation is very ….annoying ….. I'm ok
I'm a great believer in the power of acknowledgement. Many of my clients who want to work on sports performance question the use of stating the negative and some feel it will totally ruin their game if they acknowledge those thoughts.
Here's the thing. You've had those thoughts already, you said them to yourself. They're already created and at the moment they keep popping up at the worst time and spoiling your game or goals so wouldn't it be better to just acknowledge them at the start and put them in their place?
You're not wishing yourself to fail.
What you're doing is saying even though I may have those feelings or thoughts about losing or making a mistake or that I'm useless at this game or even I'm going to miss this shot. Whatever the unsupportive issue is. I'm ok anyway.
Turn and face that little fearful or doubting voice talk to it as if it were a child or a gremlin or whatever form you want to give it and tell it thanks for the reminder, thanks for looking out for me but it's ok and I'm safe, and this is just a game of tennis. not life or death!