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9 Kingswood Blackrock Rd. Dundalk IE

Performance Coaching for Individuals & Teams

Focus 2 Succeed

Get YOUR world in focus & design Your future.


Using Training Diaries For Peak Performance

Posted on May 4, 2013 at 12:37 PM Comments comments (216)
What happened out there? You thought you were ready. You thought your training went well last week. You thought your pre-competition routine was the same as always. Now you’re wondering why you hit the wall early and just had an off day.
Consistently performing at a high level depends on creating the right combination and pattern of training that yields the best outcome. Even a small change to that ideal routine can result in a poor performance. Finding that wrong turn requires retracing your steps through your recent training sessions.Unfortunately, many athletes lack a system to capture not only the quantitative data but also the qualitative information about their mood, motivation and daily activities that may have affected their results. In all of the noise of today’s high-tech monitoring devices, the simplicity of a training diary often gets overlooked.So, what exactly is a training diary? 

It can range from a paper notebook with an athlete’s thoughts about the day’s practice to a sophisticated, online app. For either version, the key ingredient is consistent and accurate data. Without an athlete or coach entering data, the diary is like staring at a map with no roads.

Recently, human performance researchers at Dublin City University (DCU) studied the effectiveness of using training diaries for young Gaelic footballers as a way to assess their overall training load. Without proper management of their time and activities, young athletes can suffer burnout from overtraining.

Siobhán O’Connor, a researcher and graduate student at DCU, and Professor Noel McCaffrey gathered 162 players from U14, U18 and adult teams to measure not only the response of players to using a diary, either paper-based or online, but also to validate that what the players self-reported was an accurate reflection of their actual training.Previous research has shown that athletes prefer easy and efficient data entry for a diary to succeed. O’Connor designed a format that, on average, took the players just under 4 minutes per day to fill out. 

Initially, the paper and online versions received about the same participation rate but when e-mail or text reminders were sent out for the online version, the players use of the online version increased substantially.Filling diaries with the right information is just as important as timelines. As they say in the computer world, “garbage input produces garbage output.” 

To check this, a subset of the players also wore accelerometers and/or SenseCams to objectively capture data about the training sessions. When this data was compared with what the players actually recorded in their diaries, there was a 95% agreement, confirming that the players could accurately self-report their own data.

O’Connor is encouraged by the results, “This study will benefit Gaelic Footballers throughout Ireland and beyond by enabling them to quantify their training load in a quick and easy manner.”

Although training diaries were initially designed with amateur or semi-professional sports enthusiasts in mind, online diaries combined with communication portals are being utilized more and more by professional organizations and elite athletes.Of course, the payoff for athletes to entering this information is being able to quickly review the data and ensure consistent performance improvement. That’s where online diaries shine, especially those that can analyze the data and identify cause and effect patterns. Being able to understand how your daily habits contribute to your results makes it all worthwhile.

The Duel Core Processing Systems of the Mind.

Posted on February 26, 2013 at 5:56 PM Comments comments (85)
Like Computers, our minds have a duel processing system when it comes to how we operate. These are, what I like to call, the Intuitive Self and the Considered Self, and both operate in tandem to help us through life. 

The Intuitive Mind operates predominately at the Subconscious  Level. It's the system that's constaintly running behind the scenes. It allows us to process and action lots of tasks without us having to "Figure it Out". Things like -"Scratching an itch, Rising from a chair, Turning towards a load noise in a resturant, riding a bike etc." From instinctive "fight or flight" type processes that were with us from birth to "learned processes" that we aquired over the years.The Intuitive system operates automatically and quickly with little or no effort.

The Considered Mind operates at the Conscious Level. We engage it when we are looking to check things or process difficult tasks. It allows us to consider options and come up with solutions. It focuses our mental attention on mental activities that demand it. 

Our Intuitive Self is gathering all the information around us but it's the Considered Self that provides the filter that selects the information that it considers to be relevent. For instance, when you enter a packed room and you are looking for your friend. You see everybody and everything in the room but your Considered Mind is scanning for associated imagery (eg Hair, Glasses, Jumper etc).

A key difference of Top Performers is their ability to use the Considered Mind to make the required changes to the Intuitive Mind. They realise that not everything they believe is always the truth, and because they know this, their Considered Mind is more alert to challenge their Intuitive side. This allows them to be more "Aware". They are also more used to challenging the way they have done things in the past and will consider, and try, new ways ..................... Are YOU!!!

My Plan's Not Working?

Posted on January 27, 2013 at 8:37 AM Comments comments (66)
A lady who had been full of enthusism and had been progressing really well asked me this question last week -"Why is it not working. I know what I need to do, I'm motivated to achieve my end goal, but I don't seem to be making any progress .... Heeellp!!!!".

The most important thing here, to correct the situation, was knowing that it wasn't working. This was already progress as previously it would have taken till the end of her plans for her to notice that she was unlikely to achieve her goal. (It's important to note the success even in setbacks). So she felt she waisted 4 weeks, but she also saved the remaing 22 weeks. The Access & Review part of the plan was a success. But what's gone wrong?

MINDFULNESS! This is the art of being in the moment. It's about knowing your Purpose and having that Focus & Awareness when actioning that plan. So lets see how it relates to this situation. We'll look only at this particular issue.

The Goal - "To develop a real on-line presence for the business"
The Plan - "Market Research including, competitors & customers"
 - "Build a Website"
 - "Write a Blog to help drive traffic to the site."
The Issue - "Only a small increase in traffic."

Me: "Who would be impressed by the blog content?" Client: "Anybody in my trade."
M: "Are these likely to buy from you?" C: "No, of course not"
M: "Who should your blog relate to?" C: "Joe Bloggs Customer"
M: "What will Joe Bloggs respond to?" C: "A Sale or Freebee or Trick of the Trade"
M: "How do people know you have written a new blog?" C: "If they search by --------"
M: "How do you hear about websites and blogs?" C: "Social Media or Local Adverts, but I don't know how it works?"
M: "Do you know someone who does?" C: "No?"
M: "Do you know any of the people who's site has been promoted by Social Media?" C: "Yes!"
M: "Whats your next step?" C: "Arrange a coffee and chat to them?"
M: "And then?" C: "Write a Customer Relevent Blog, offer a free prize and get it out on social media. I'm still mad I didn't see this before now."
M: "Yeah ..... or glad?" C: "Glad I didn't waste another 22 weeks lol. Progress & Success! Yeah yeah, i know ..... I do see it."

So Mindfulness is about knowing the purpose for doing something and keeping that to the forefront of your mind. It's about knowing why you are doing something and keeping foucsed and aware to ensure that you are staying -"On-Track".