COVID19 Update from Dorchester Athletic Club and England Athletics 17 Mar 2020
It is with regret that Dorchester Athletic Club Committee has unanimously decided that all club activities, including training, competing and its AGM will be suspended with immediate effect.
The decision was reached in the best interests of all our athletes and their families.
Will all persons responsible for paying the athletes’ club fees please cancel their Standing Order payments with effect from 1st April 2020.
We wish you all the best of health and employment over the months ahead and look forward to your return when club activities resume.
"England Athletics advises that all face-to-face activity such as club training sessions, events, competitions, club committee and face-to-face meetings, athlete camps, running groups and social events should be suspended until at least the end of April."
We are currently undergoing a contingency planning process for qualifying races and will keep everyone updated as soon as possible.
We will be working with our partner runbritain to coordinate a communication detailing appropriate advice and guidance to road race organisers in the immediate future.
No emergency services will attend large gatherings so it is unavoidable that competitions will now be suspended until at least the end of April. We are in contact with event organisers to find suitable alternative dates within the competition calendar and the our cancellations page link is kept up to date: www.englandathletics.org/cancellations."
Of all the words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these
"it might have been"
The Lavender Hill Mob, Ealing Studios 1951
April 10, 2020 Under Pressure
"Never lose Hope. Hopelessness is the real cause of failure" Dalai Lama, 2002
It is reasonable to feel emotional and anxious whenever you feel under pressure.
Factors affecting the degree of pressure you feel can be based in the present moment or issues from the past that resurface and affect your mood.
One thing is certain, you need to reduce or resolve these sensations before you can move forward and, or, perform as well as you are capable of doing.
So, take a breathing space to reconnect with your logical self. Close your eyes and spend a few moments concentrating on your inhalation and exhalation. Allow your mind to clear itself of clutter. Mindfulness meditation is an excellent method for achieving this. [www.franticworld.com]
Now use positive thoughts to recall your goals and ambitions; these are the reasons why you are striving to achieve something and give you a renewed sense of purpose.
The motivation to strive comes from a desire to move forward to achieve or to change something.
So recall the enjoyment you felt at the start, when you set out on your journey and use this to reinvigorate you physically and mentally. Use your renewed positivity to view yourself with empathy and compassion, to unlock options to take you back to where you want to be and how you want to feel when you're performing successfully.
To remind yourself of your commitment to achieve your goal or ambition, write down a positive statement of your intention; including: • What do you want to do? • Why do you want to do it? • When do you want to achieve it by? • What will achievement mean to you? • What will you commit to do to develop yourself into the person you want to be? • How will you know you have succeeded? • What do you want to achieve next?
Celebrate your successes, reward your efforts and remain full of hope.
March 9, 2020 Managing Nerves
"I embrace them, I enjoy them. Makes you faster, makes you sharper. Means your alive and having fun" Freddie Flintoff,
Self-confidence provides the environment for Success because you are constantly moving forwards towards improvements in performance, which continually redefine your comfort zone through successive PBs as you grow your Mindset and Skill set into the Champion you’ve dreamt of becoming.
At the beginning there was the dream, the goal, the ambition. With encouragement through training there came the seeds of belief in the possibility of the dream becoming reality. Nurturing through positive developmental feedback and positive self-reflection there came the motivation and dedication to persevere.
Positive reflection builds your self-belief into an amazing journey of positive performances and experiences.
If you grow into your Success you will believe in your ability to continually improve your performance through hard work, training and coaching.
Athletes who believe this are better able to cope with obstacles and setbacks. Athletes with this mindset are more likely to be in the top 5% of performers.
Nerves give you the edge to feel on the cusp of greatness. Feel like you belong and know that you deserve to be competing in whatever event. See yourself performing Successfully.
Now realise the benefit of your training to become the competitor you want to be.
February 3, 2020 When to Train Your Brain
Train your brain more often than you train your body. For many sports, over 90% of success is produced from mental preparation and effort.
Daily, train your brain in the quiet of your free time and before each training session.
Then before you compete, use the power of your trained mind to visualise your successful performance and prepare your subconscious to control your processes.
Subconscious control gives speedier and more accurate reactions.
Consciousness can only think of one thing at a time, so give it something useful to do such as focusing on your breathing. In this way it connects with your mental training and supports your subconscious as well as feeding your muscles.
"Remember your focus determines your reality" Qui-Gon Jinn, Star Wars episode 1
February 2, 2020 Visualisation
Visualisation or mental rehearsal is a powerful way of preparing for an event.
It starts with having experience of the event in real time, so, for instance, competing in an athletics event at a familiar venue. Remember the Internet allows us to see venues we haven't visited before and in this way become familiar with them.
Visualising your performance prepares your mind, body and soul for the coming event.
You start with quietening your thoughts. Sit or lie down in a quiet space, close your eyes and breathe normally.
Focus your concentration on your breathing and the action of inhaling, feeling the soothing inbreath; and then exhaling slowly until the breath disappears. Repeating naturally.
If thoughts appear in your mind allow them to pass through without any analysis, say "Hi thought" and away it goes, blown away with each exhalation.
As your thoughts disappear, keep focusing on your breathing and your mind gradually becomes quieter and a space onto which you can imprint a film of you successfully performing your technical and tactical processes.
So now let's develop the film; see yourself arring at the venue of the event. Breathe in the familiar atmosphere and exhale any anxieties.
See yourself competing as you move towards the start and go through your setup. Then at the sound of the [gun for track] [horn for field], see yourself successfully going through your technical processes and tactical strategy, which you have been training to use. It is important to only reproduce your training performance when visualising competition performance; this is because you need to believe in the realism of the image you create in your mind.
Visualisation is about success, it is a powerful way to improve performance, hence you must only visualise success to provide only positive mental imprints.
Breathe and remind yourself with self-congratulation that it is like you to perform well.
You are the success you believe yourself to be.
January 31, 2020 There is no Try
Continuing the theme of positive thinking and positive self-talk. It is important to realise the impact of negative thoughts.
Negative thoughts imprint something we are wary or afraid of happening. These thoughts increase the likelihood of the negativity occurring because as already discussed our brain interprets all thoughts as impulses to be done.
Any analysis of negativity increases the probability of that negativity repeating.
To use an example of a competitive shooter who narrowly missed scoring a perfect score of 600 by scoring 2 nines. When asked what happened? He replied I don't know and it does not improve my performance by thinking about them; I am better off focusing my thoughts on how I scored 58 tens because this improves the likelihood of me scoring 60 tens in the future.
From this we learn that reframing our thoughts towards our successes, the positive performance of our process, is beneficial for our continued growth towards becoming a Champion.
We are focusing our thoughts towards achieving improving performances. Remember to congratulate yourself on things that go well; then plan your training to improve those things that need improving.
Remove all negative thinking and avoid negative analysis. It doesn't matter that something went awry; but it does matter that you only reflect positive memories that create positive imprints.
Whenever anyone asks about your performance, say it went well because I am pleased with ...; then say I'm using what I've learned to train to improve my performance.
As an experiment, from this point forward always speak positively about yourself and the things you do and achieve. You will feel more positive and smile more easily.
"Do or Dont do, there is no Try", Yoda
January 30, 2020
"Do Do" not "Don't Do"
From the outset we need to realise that the brain cannot comply with a Don't Do command because it interprets these as a Do Do.
For example, if you're told "Don't think of Elephants", the effect is the same as being told "Think of Elephants".
Consequently, we realise that our brain wants to give us that which we ask of it in terms of performance.
Therefore, to allow the brain to usefully improve performance, you need to tell it what you want to have happen. But this isn't a wish list.
In order to be effective you need to tell your brain whenever you do something well, you need to congratulate yourself, so that your brain learns to give you more of whatever pleases you.
You need to use positive self-talk when you perform any part of your process well, such as:
"Well done Chris, lengthening your stride made you go faster".
So, Do celebrate your successful processes; and in the spirit of staying positive, plan to train your solutions for everything else.
January 29, 2020 Who are You?
How do You see Yourself?
How you see yourself will determine the extent to which you are capable of achieving your Goals.
This is true with anything you aim for be it competitively, educationally, vocationally, etc.
To be a Champion you must believe you are capable of being a Champion. You must train with a purpose to improve specific aspects of your performance and use your performance improvements to build your mental image of yourself as a competitor and champion.
Champions are a combination of their Technical Skills, Mental Strength, Physical Fitness and Tactical Ability. Your Self-Belief must be equal to your Skills, Abilities and Performance in order to Win.
Every Champion has a display of their best achievements; often called a Wall of Fame; it allows the athlete to remind themselves of their current ability and the goals they're aiming for.
Celebrate your successes and train your solutions; always looking forward to something you want to have happen.
This is an exploration into creating Mental Strength; it is based on my competing and coaching experiences. I am happy to share my knowledge with Dorchester Athletic Club athletes and answer any questions it raises; either in person on training days or asynchronously.
For Individual coaching to develop Mental Strength email Chris