Perceptual positions with Jimmy Petruzzi

Perceptual positions

 with Jimmy Petruzzi

“Do not judge your neighbour until you walk two moons in his moccasins”.
~ Cheyenne Proverb.

Have you ever though had a disagreement with a coach, or a team mate, and upset, angry, disappointed about what was said, only to see it completely different at another time in your life. Certain situations in our sport stir up certain emotions, sport can be very emotionally intense.

Have you ever been hurt by what someone might of said or done? Feel let down, had a disagreement with someone close to you a team mate or coach and carried those emotions for a long period of time. Or felt you were a victim of someone’s actions and found it difficult to move forward with your progression in sport. Or you wanted a member of your team to perform in a certain way, have your expectations for one of your performers.

I once did this exercise which we’ll go through later in the chapter with two team mates that hadn’t spoken for a whole season are after doing this exercise they had picked up the phone decided to meet up and sort their differences, Soon after they had put their differences to one side and played their best football.

Sometimes we can see things in a blinkered way, with out considering another persons thoughts and feelings. It is easy to pass judgement on how someone else may handle a situation, though what is more of a challenge and may provide us with a valuable insight is seeing it from another point of view.

The techniques in this chapter are very powerful when used in our personal life to resolve conflict, in business to alter our perception, in sport to gain a stronger understanding of colleagues, opposition, critics, and fans.

And even times we you are the victim, by seeing things from a different perception we can move forward in a positive way in our life.

I once worked with an athlete who had been  feeling down for many years. His  parents growing up were very abusive for many years physically and mentally.

Growing up he had abusive parents, he said he felt low, wasn’t sure if he could move forward with his sport.

Whilst it was hard for him to put that behind and focus, we looked at things from the point of view of his parents, by doing the exercise perceptual positions, his response was he finally felt free and alive again and pursue his dreams. He was able to let go of the emotions and negative feeling. He felt his parents only did what they knew, they didn’t know any better, their parenting was the best they could do in a difficult time for them. That was it he was no longer going let what happened in his past dictate his future. It was time to let go, and do some living, and living he did, my client had taken their sport  to a new level, training harder and more often, amongst many other positive changes. Letting go of feelings of resentment and pain, claiming his life back, as feeling the way he did and behaving the way she was, was affecting only one person and that was him.

Whilst I don’t condone people who harm and hurt other people, I believe they also don’t have the right to continue to effect people emotionally through the actions they did.

And as an individual you can by understanding their perception. Let go of any negative feelings and claim your life back. Perceptual positions are a powerful exercise

Different perceptions




What Is Perceptual Positions?

The perceptual positions exercise is taken from Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). Its goal is to show you, in a structured way, how to see other people’s points of view. It’s a straightforward exercise that you can do in just a few minutes.

Here’s an example of how you would benefit from a perceptual positions exercise: Imagine you have been disappointed with your children. You asked them to tidy their room and they haven’t managed to do it. When you go up to check whether they have tidied the room you realise they have barely made a start. You become angry, and begin to think they were lazy, couldn’t be bothered, they disrespected you by not doing it. They never listen and the list goes on. On the other hand the reason the children didn’t tidy their room, is because they stayed up the last two nights trying to finish an assignment they were finding difficult. They were having a hard time and school and wanted to talk to you, though you were too tired as you came in from work just before they went to bed, and as soon as you got in you switched on the television and slumped on the sofa.

Situations like this can be frustrating. However, like most things in life, there are usually two sides to the story. A technique like perceptual positions can help you understand another person’s perspective and perception; so that you can both communicate with each other more constructively, and work out a resolution.

Perceptual positions exercise can work on a variety of different areas of our lives helping us to resolve conflict, find a solution think of a way to go forward.

   Technique for sports coaches:

Step 1 of 6:

As you think about a difficult situation or a specific situation in a game or whilst coaching, you begin to remember other times when things did not go quite as well as you would have liked them to. As you mull this over in your mind, you start remembering the interaction (history) in greater detail.

Step 2 of 6: Through Your Own Eyes:

First, you see the experience through your own eyes, becoming aware of what trouble the player gave you. You hear the experience through your own ears, listening to what the player is saying, what you are saying out loud, and what you were thinking to yourself at the time. You experience what it is like to be with this player. What you feel about the player, and also about your behavior during the interaction. Then you freeze the interaction and notice what you have learnt about yourself. It is here, that you can perceive better ways of dealing with the situation, such as; controlling (or hiding) your emotions; better positioning; ways to be stronger or more polite, and making your instructions clearer for the listener etc.

Step 3 of 6: Through the Player’s Eyes:

See the experience through the player’s eyes, becoming aware of what you look like from his perspective. You hear the experience through the player’s ears, listening to what you are saying. You feel what it is like to be the player, what you feel about yourself from here. Then you freeze the interaction and notice what you have learned about yourself and the player. It is here, that you can imagine what the player thought about you, as you were dealing with him. Would it have worked better if you had been calmer; or had used different words; or perhaps used more authority; or by being more friendly and polite etc? Did you really need to embarrass him? These are the questions seen from the player’s perspective. Next time this incident happens, you should now be able to temper your approach to eliminate the things that did not originally work.

Step 4 of 6: Through the Eyes of an Observer:

See the experience through the eyes of an observer who might be neutral. You listen to the coach and the player talking to one another. You become aware of how they have interacted together previously in the game and notice any patterns and repetitions. Then you freeze the interaction and perceive what you have learned about yourself (the coach) and the player. Was there a clash of two strong characters? Who was in charge of the situation? Was the situation resolved in a satisfactory way? How was the situation managed? Etc.

Step 5 of 6: Using the new Perceptions to Improve

What have you learnt?

What could you do to resolve any issues? Improve your ability to handle different situations which may arise?

One of life’s challenges is to be able to have the strength to see things from a different point of view sometimes it is not easy to see things from a different point of view as it might highlight floors we may have ourselves. As much as we like to believe we are always right, or sometimes we may be hurt or upset and feel victimized by someone’s actions. We may feel seeing a situation from someone else’s point of view is irrelevant. Or not resourceful or we don’t want to go there.

The art of seeing things from a different point of view is an opportunity for us to take action, release any negative emotions, take a level of responsibility to move things forward and affect things in a positive way.