NLP in Sports












Winning in Sport


With Jimmy Petruzzi











Many elite athletes and sports people, say the mental aspects of sport make the difference between being a champion or not; As little as 1% can be the difference between being a world champion and being ranked 50th in the world.

This book gives an insight into the  skills, principles and mind set that many of the world’s best athletes and sports people use, to be at the top of their game, to help any sports person fulfil their potential.


The book is full of practical exercises on how to use your mind more effectively. To gain more success in sport as a participant, get the best out of yourself as a coach and get the best out of your players as a coach.


To provide coaches, PE teachers, trainers, football players techniques and strategies they can use to enhance their ability as a coach or player, fulfil their potential.


The book provides the reader with techniques that focus on achieving results

If you’re serious about achieving results this book is for you.

Helping you get the best out of yourself, your footballers and athletes

Achieve more consistent results.


whether your a player aspiring to fulfil your physical potential as a player, are coach, trainer, or teacher who wants to get the best out of your team, whether your are involved with an amateur or pro team.


This book is designed so you can use the content over and over again, you can revert to the book to continuously help you to get the best out of yourself and your athletes.




Using NLP in Sport


Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is the process of creating models of excellence. Modelling is the complex activity of capturing in a learnable transferable code the differences that make a difference between an excellent performer and an average performer, between an excellent athlete and an average one, a person who is motivated to get the best out of themselves in training and one who is not. NLP, then, is the process of identifying, coding and transferring precisely those differences in a learnable form to the interested participants and companies to allow significant upgrading of their performance to levels of excellence.

Results in sport depend crucially on your ability to use your mind effectively. Many elite athletes say the mental aspects of sport make the difference between being a champion or not. As little as   1% can be the difference between being a champion and being ranked 50th in the world! what ever the level of sport your compete or coach at, or whether your a teacher a fitness professional your mind set has a major influence of the degree of success and fulfilment you achieve in your sport


The book gives the reader an opportunity to implement techniques and strategies which include:


  •   How to create excellent states of mind at will regardless of circumstances
  •   You will learn how to install confidence and motivation in yourself and others
  •   Communicate more powerfully and effectively
  • use of positive language and positive instructions when coaching / teaching and giving half time team talk
  • Anchoring… focusing on past positive experiences in a sensory manner so as to recreate future success…developing a cue which will enable the footballer to tap in to a state of mind… i.e. confidence, relaxed, motivated
  • outcome setting so that aims are planned and agreed so as to maintain and increase motivation
  • reframing so that all experiences and performances are viewed from a positive perspective, with success being internalised to the performer or team
  • the book aims to show how all methods can be easily incorporated into the practical arena without hours spent in the class room


Many people study NLP to help them become more effective in their chosen field or for their own personal development, becoming more confident, motivated. The patterns can be employed across a wide area of applications ranging from fields as diverse as Business, Sport, education, team building, sales, marketing, personal development, leadership and coaching. NLP techniques provide the opportunity to grow and develop, helping us fulfil our potential and be the best we can be, NLP can be used to develop and enhance performance.


The foundations of NLP are about creating models of success.  The most important thing is finding role models that would allow you to create success.  This could be anything from a behavioral pattern, characteristic, technique, or skill, such as confidence, motivation, a basis or complex sports technique or skill, modeling a skilled sports participant such as David Beckham free kick technique.  Another powerful direction might be about finding athletes that truly participate in their sport in an exceptional way and getting to understand how they do that. For Example Lance Armstrong dedication and determination,

Imagine a situation where you can find, sit down and talk to a true role model of success. 

What goes through the mind of a true champion such as a Federer, Tiger Woods, Then look at exactly how it is they run their brains to create that success.  How about then being able to take that information and install it in yourself and others.  This is what NLP is really about


NLP modelling is the art of identifying, eliciting, and transferring, the set of differences present in someone who is excellent at a given activity compared with someone who is mediocre at the same activity. NLP modelling is by far the highest skill level in NLP. NLP modelling can be used to capture patterns of excellence present in anyone in any context.



The book is full of practical exercises on how to use your mind more effectively, using the mindset of champions, and techniques from NLP, Hypnotherapy and other psychological strategies to gain more success in sport. Get the best out of yourself consistently. The book also has several real life sports stories based on my experience of working with people  linked to the techniques and strategies across a broad range of areas in sport, which helps you the reader understand the applications of the techniques and build an association to your own experiences. The book is intended to provide you a resource to help fulfil your potential. The book provides the reader with techniques that focus on achieving results.

If you’re serious about achieving results this book is for you

Help get the best out of yourself and achieve more consistent results.

Anything is possible in sport.  This book can help you discover your potential and obtain your dreams.  You don’t need to settle for anything less than what you want or what your want to be. 

We are all special and have a lot to offer. Sometimes we need help to get started, with my coaching experience I know how to help people create a fulfilling life.

The book works at the deepest level of our minds, and offers techniques that athletes use to get world class results

This is a how to do book it is easy to follow it has step by step instructions and examples people can relate to. In fact to use an analogy, think of a satellite navigation system in the car. How many people are interested in the complexity of how the system works, how important and useful is it to know how it works? The most important thing to the consumer is knowing where they want to go and how to programme it. If we imagine our mind being similar to a satellite navigation system, and the tools in the book are a set of instructions. There to assist you the reader to programme your mind to help you achieve the results you want in life. This is also a book which you can go back to and use time and time again.


Its the Journey that makes the destination special


If climbing Mount Everest was easy, it wouldn’t be such a beautiful experience.  Sports  is about challenges. It’s not always easy. We have to roll up our sleeves and get busy when faced with challenges. When we make it to the other side of our difficulties and we look in the mirror. We see our truth, what we are capable of, and challenges get fewer and farther apart as we develop our confidence through realizing our capabilities. But sometimes we all need a little advice, support or an objective viewpoint.

This book is best used as a guide for you to help make the most out of your ability as an athlete and create and make the most out of opportunities.


               The Making of a Champion


There are many “impossible” success stories.  Michael Jordan, one of the world’s most accomplished basket-ballers, didn’t make his high school basketball team.


In 2001 Natalie was riding on her motor scooter when she was hit suddenly on the side by a careless driver, causing her to lose her left leg just above the knee. Less than 2 yrs later she qualified for the finals of the 800 meter freestyle at 2002 Common Wealth Games. In 2008 Natalie qualified for both the Paralympic and Olympic games.


In March of 2007 Randy Couture came out of retirement at age 43 and challenged 27yr old Tim Sylvia for the UFC heavyweight title. The insiders of mixed martial arts not only thought Randy didn’t have a chance to win but was actually going to get seriously hurt in the process. The result: Randy almost knocked out big Tim 8 seconds into the fight and completely dominated him for all 5 rounds… gives hope to all 30,40, and 50 yr old fitness wanna b’s doesn’t it!      



In 2003 Bethany was attacked by a 14 ft tiger shark which ripped her left arm off just below the shoulder. By the time she reached the hospital she had lost 70% of her blood. She was surfing 3 weeks later and in 2004 received an ESPY award for Best Comeback Athlete of the Year.




Overcoming Adversity


In 1996 Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Doctors told him he had a 10% chance of survival. Lance went on to win his 7th consecutive Tour de France title in 2005… 






What is NLP?


Neuro Linguistic Programming

Neuro                    The nervous system (the mind), through which our experience is processed via five senses:

  • Visual
  • Auditory
  • Kinesthetic
  • Olfactory ( Smell)

                                          Gustatory ( Taste)


Linguistic               Language and other nonverbal communication systems through which our neural representations are coded, ordered and given meaning.  Includes:


  • Pictures
  • Sounds
  • Feelings
  • Tastes
  • Smells
  • Words (Self Talk)



Programming         The ability to discover and utilize the programs that we run (our communication to ourselves and others) in our neurological systems to achieve our specific and desired outcomes.


In other words, NLP is how to use the language of the mind to achieve our specific and desired outcomes and improve our results.





NLP has three key benefits:


  1. Improving communication
  2. Changing behaviors’ (and beliefs)

      3: Modelling excellence



NLP is based on principles that are very different from traditional psychology. While traditional clinical psychology is primarily concerned with describing difficulties, categorising them, and searching for historical causes/. NLP is interested in HOW our thoughts, actions, and feelings work together right now to produce our experience. Founded on the modern sciences of biology, linguistics, and information, NLP begins with new principles of how the mind/brain works.

Many people study NLP to help them become more effective in their chosen field or for their own personal development. Becoming more confident and motivated, The patterns can be employed across a wide area of applications ranging from fields as diverse as Business, education, team building, sales, marketing, personal development, leadership and coaching. and Sport.NLP techniques provide the opportunity to grow and develop, helping us fulfil our potential and be the best we can be.


If it’s not working change what you are doing


Our specific thoughts, actions, and feelings consistently produce specific results. We may be happy or unhappy with these results, but if we repeat the same thoughts, actions, and feelings, we’ll get the same results. The process works perfectly. If we want to change our results, then we need to change the thoughts, actions, and feelings that go into producing them. Once we understand specifically how we create and maintain our inner thoughts and feelings, it is a simple matter for us to change them to more useful ones, or if we find better ones, to teach them to others. As well as using a winning mindset through out the book, we use techniques which are derived from NLP and human excellence.










The structure of the book the book is an easy to follow guide which you can use as a manual over and over again.


Chapters are as follows:



Chapter 1:

Taking responsibility

As a sports performer we cant dicate certain elements of the game such as the weather, refeering decisions, the oppositions performing, we can only focus on ourselves.This chapter focuses on how to play the cards your dealt with.



Chapter 2:

Breaking Bad Habits


To create a new balance when your stuck out of form, amid the pressure and anxiety we all face in sport, it can be difficult. Start making changes by asking yourself what you want to achieve, how you would like to perform. Then begin to focus on positive and not the negative.



Chapter 3: Re aligning yourself

Imprinting self belief

I remember when football manager Jose Mourinho first did a press conference  for Chelsea and called himself the special one.

You could go alot further back than that when manager Brian Clough said he was in the top 1 of football managers.

imprinting self belief in your indentity

The key to self belief and our identity is  a sense of purpose and satisfying human needs aligning with the individual‘s

goals, Each of us has an identity, a set of values and beliefs which impact our performance in sport, find out yours and get on the path of success.


Chapter 4: Dare to Dream

one of the most important things in sport is to dream,

every successfull sports person talks about the dream, re discover and ignite your dreams.


Chapter 5: Setting Goals and Staying Motivated

Dreams will only ever be dreams if they are left in the shelves of our mind.

The underpinning of any sports persons sucess is setting goals, if were not driving our own bus then you can be sure someone elese will drive it for us,

Having set goals its important to stay the course through thick and thin


Chapter 6: Self Talk

The vocabulry of success

We are often our own biggest critic, some of the things we say to our self. We wouldn’t say to anyone else.

Self talk is important. Staying positive in the messages you hear and tell yourself has an impact on what happens and what you do. The mind does not process a negative instruction, for example if  a coach,tells his/her players “Don’t lose the ball.” the first

Thing the team will likely  do is lose the ball.  A better choice of language would be “Keep possession.” ,  This chapter will teach you how to focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses using the power of self talk


Chapter 7: Metaphorically speaking


Using the power of metaphors to overcome challenges and obstacles in sport.

Metaphors have the power to transform our mind, probably the most powerful metaphor of the last century in sport was Muhamad Ali

float like a butterfly sting like a bee.







Chapter 1 Responsibility for your own performance:



You have no control over what the other guy does. You only have control over what you do.
-A J Kitt



I remember watching the Wimbledon tennis semi final in 2000

Tin Henman was playing Goran Ivanisevic.  with Henman in a strong position and looking likely to win an make the final, rain had interrupted the match and the players went of. After the rain interval Henman seemed to have lost his momentum and Ivanisevic took the initiative and went on to win the match.


I remember watching a interview after the match, were Henman had eluded the break in play being a potential factor in losing his rhythm and the match.

Was the break in play a important factor, I am sure it was, though it was a break in play for both players. One of which used it as a opportunity to refocus. And the other who would end up using it as a potential excuse.

I am sure you will have heard the saying you get lemons squeeze lemonade.

Sometimes things don’t go the way we want it, though its during these times we need to be focused. And make the most of every situation.




Victim Thinking

Two long time golfers were standing overlooking the river getting ready to hit their shots. One golfer looked to the other and said, “Look at those idiots fishing’ in the rain.”


In sport athletes, managers, coaches can have a tendency to blame the referee, the weather, the pitch, everything else other than looking within themselves


 The belief that ‘they’ cause our feelings begins at a young age, is confirmed throughout our teenage years, and becomes our unquestioned reality. The referees don’t like us, we cant win away, those fans get on my nerves, my coach stresses me, the club doesn’t look after me, and you’re ruining our team!


 Our aim is to become aware of how we respond to outside circumstances and to exercise more choice in our responses. So if somebody typically ‘makes’ us feel good we choose to accept and thoroughly enjoy this. And if somebody typically ‘makes’ us feel upset or irritable we choose to cease cooperating in this. In essence, our aim is to develop our ability to ‘drive our own bus’ instead of being passive passengers.

Do you make excuses or you’re always looking for excuses people to blame for your circumstances.


Or do you do the running, you take control of the situation, you become empowered and stronger than you were before.



In NLP we talk about people living either at Cause or Effect.

If you are at effect you may blame others or circumstances for your bad moods or for what you have not achieved or for your life in general. You may feel powerless or depend on others in order for you to feel good about yourself or about life — If only my coach, my manager, my team mates, my parents, my athletes, … understood me and helped me achieve my dreams, or did what I wanted or what is best for me, then life would be great.

If you wait and hope for things to be different or for others to provide, then you are at effect or a victim of circumstances. And really, how much fun is that? And how much fun do you think it is for others to be around you? Believing that someone else is responsible or making them responsible for your happiness or your different moods is very limiting and gives this person some mystical power over you, which can cause you a great deal of anguish. Being at cause means you have choices in your life — you can choose what is best for you while ensuring the choice is ecological for those around you, those in your community and your society. That is, you consider the consequences of your actions on others, while not taking responsibility for your emotional well-being — believing you are responsible for the emotional well-being of someone else places a heavy burden on you and can cause a great deal of stress.

Those who live their lives at effect often see themselves or live their lives as victims with no choices whatsoever. The irony is that they do have choice and they have chosen not to choose but to be responsive to whatever is given to them.






List 3 areas of your life you are living at cause within your sports environment ?

(Where you do the running)







List 3 areas of your life you’re living at effect?

( And would like to change, i.e. my team mates are making me unhappy, I can never play well away from home)





By changing your attitude and accepting responsibility you feel more empowered and in control.


One of the exercises I do with my clients is the responsibility contract, to put them in the drivers’ seat.


Taking responsibility for your life


Responsibility Contract


I hereby take full responsibility for my life from today onwards.


You can either live your life out of cause or effect. True winners take responsibility and under some of the most difficult circumstances turn things around to their advantage.


The old cliché you get lemons you make lemonade. Life is about looking at the big picture, it is easy to lose track of the big picture.


Sign the contract


What ever the situation in your life at what ever point you are, you can turn things around. Of course life isn’t always fair, how do you explain some of the injustices of this world.

There are a lot of things in life I cannot explain and I don’t have any reasoning for. Certain elements can have an effect on a game of sport i.e the weather, bad decision, poor refereeing decision,  Some of the things I see in the in football matches, sporting contests. aren’t always just of fair and influence the match. Of course I think we all go through times were we question certain things, poor referee decisions, the managers tactics, question our team,  our team mates,  family and even ourselves.

I don’t profess to know all the answers or any answers for that matter. However life is short and all in all does anyone really know the meaning of it all.

What does anyone know about anything other than what were told, read.

The only thing for certain is that we are only on this planet in our present form for a short time. And we owe it to ourselves to make the most of every situation, every millisecond.

Life can be very challenging at times and we have all got a story to tell, some people tend to tell it more than others.

Dwell in the past spend a life time going over the same problems and stories, though never do anything to change it.

Sometimes you don’t get dealt the best cards in life, though we have a choice in how we respond. And it is within our response that our lives are shaped.










Breaking bad habits


Chapter 2



If you have an athlete who is struggling to perform a technique, struggling with confidence, or generally stay motivated, this NLP technique can be effective and is a quick and easy way of building a strong motivation for a desired behaviour. It is also more likely to produce a lasting change with your athlete.



“Bad habits are easier to abandon today than tomorrow”. ~Yiddish Proverb

Do you ever find yourself hitting your golf swing at the golf range really well, or in practise hitting your tennis backhand really well, or scoring penalties in training easily enough, though when it comes to a match situation you struggle to perform.


Or you find it really hard to grasp a technique or a skill, it just wont sink in


Do you ever find yourself repeating certain types of behaviour over and over again? Once you have repeated the behaviour you think dam I can’t believe I did that, I can’t believe I have done it again.

All of us have habits, some of them serve us and some of them can be detrimental and self destructing to ourselves and the people around us. Do you have any habits you would like to change? are the certain things you do that you are fed up doing, and have reached the point you want to kick that habit.

Whether it’s faltering under pressure, fear of failure, technical errors such as kicking the football, slicing golf swing, messing up your tennis serve.

The good news it is possible to change negative habits very quickly, with a technique we shall go through later in the chapter, so providing you want to remove an existing habit it is possible to remove it very quickly.

Once a habitual behaviour has been learned it can be beneficial for positive behaviours i.e. exercising, training hard, or be detrimental to negative behaviour such as fear and complacency. Sabotaging our sports performance, living with our limitations.


Examples of some positive and negative habits


Keeping your self in good shape by exercising = good habit

Messing up golf swing under pressure = bad habit

Focusing at key moments in match = good habit

Confidence in your ability = good habit

Doubting your ability = bad habit

Not performing at your best = bad habit


Consciously we can distinguish a good or bad habit; most people know how to perform technically and tactically in their sport . And what foods such as fruit and vegetables are good for them. However why is it that people carry on sabotaging their lives by smoking, drinking, feeling negative?


If people are aware something isn’t good for them why don’t they change?
Habitual behaviour is typically a way of creating order or structure to day-to-day life. Habitual behaviour is learned and then becomes automatic without the person being consciously aware of doing it. Negative habitual behaviours can be detrimental to physical and mental health, the most common being smoking and drinking. They can last a life time and be detrimental to someone’s life.



First let’s explore the mind


The mind has two parts: the conscious and the subconscious. A useful analogy is an iceberg. The conscious mind is the bit that sticks out of the water. The subconscious mind is the bit hidden away underneath the surface.

The subconscious is where all the things that you have learnt to do without thinking is done.

For instance, when you first drove a car, you had to consciously work out where to put each foot and how to use each new control. As your driving skills developed, you handed more and more control over to your subconscious mind. Now you are so proficient that you can drive, navigate and talk to your passenger all at the same time!

Surprisingly, it is the subconscious that can be in control of our behaviour most of the time. Once you realise that, a lot of things begin to make sense. This is the reason people find it very difficult to stop smoking – they have consciously decided that smoking is bad for their health, costs a fortune, is ruining their complexion, etc. However, they have not taken into account their subconscious reasons for wanting to carry on smoking. Go back to the iceberg analogy; if the little bit at the top wants to go one way and the huge bit at the bottom wants to go the other way, guess who’s going to win?

Consciously we know smoking is bad for you, we know eating too much chocolate makes us put on weight; we know drinking to much alcohol isn’t good for you.

So why do we do it?

Once you understand about the role of the subconscious, you can understand where a lot of odd behaviour comes from. People get stuck in a rut because their subconscious doesn’t know how to change. People can get disturbing thoughts or feelings because the subconscious thinks that something bad is about to happen. The conscious mind is only aware of a limited amount of information at any given time, (i.e. try drive, talk on your mobile phone and do your make up at the same time).The unconscious mind is aware of everything else, the sound of the cars outside, the breeze blowing through the window, the sound of the TV in the background, your feet landing against the pavement as you walk, the aeroplane flying overhead. The million of memories we store in our mind from the day we are born, birthdays, scoring that winning goal, your first kiss.


Roles of Conscious/Subconscious Mind

  • The conscious mind does your intellectual thinking. Is responsible for your self-talk.
  • Your unconscious mind does your perceiving and feeling.
  • The conscious mind is logical. It likes things to make sense – have a reason.
  • The unconscious mind is intuitive and can make associations of information easily.
  • Your conscious mind is associated with the waking, thinking state.
  • The unconscious mind is associated with the dreaming (including day dreaming), reflecting, meditating and sleeping state.
  • The conscious can voluntarily move parts of your body.
  • The unconscious can involuntarily move parts of your body.
  • Your conscious mind is only aware of the now.
  • Your unconscious mind is unlimited in time and space. It holds all your memories and future constructs.

Our Behaviour


Because our behaviour is governed by our subconscious mind, think about it, physiologically do we need to tell our finger nails to grow, do we need to tell our hair to grow, our heart to beat, tell ourselves to breathe, when we are hungry, feel like going to bed, do we need to consciously tell our selves how to make a cup of tea.

We just do it almost like we are auto pilot. SUBCONCIOUSLY

Successful people, whether they are top athletes or entrepreneurs, have mastered the power of their conscious and subconscious mind to produce their success.  Many of us haven’t tapped into the unlimited potential of our minds because we lack the understanding of how our minds actually work. When we decidedly focus our effort on creating unity with the conscious and subconscious minds, we can achieve a greater sense of happiness and success in our lives than we ever thought possible. 

That explains why people make conscious decisions at the start of every January to go to the gym and get into best shape ever only to give up by February; statistics say 90percent of people who join gym give up in first six months. We have all the right intentions though the sub conscious mind steers us away.

In order for behaviour to make change and last  we must work at a subconscious level ,if we are going to give up the cigarettes and stay off them, then we need to change at a sub conscious level. How you ask, how I can give up the chocolate, give up smoking, stop biting my nails, stop sabotaging my success.

The New Behaviour Generator is one of NLP’s simplest and most powerful patterns for changing behaviour. Use it to…

  increase confidence

  motivation

  get rid of anger problems

  Break habits

  improve technical skills

  Increase performance

  overcome fears and anxieties

  improve tactical awareness


You see, the subconscious mind needs clear directions in a very specific format if it’s going to motivate you to do something. Without this “roadmap,” change can be very difficult. With this powerful technique the new behaviour is easy and automatic. Old habits you want to get rid of fall away; new healthy habits you wish to replace them with take their place. One of the things to bare in mind with this technique is by changing your state of mind i.e. the state of mind your in when you make mistakes under pressure, lose focus, make tactical and technical errors. You can change you state of mind from a negative one to a more positive one, and in the more positive state of mind, you achieve a more positive outcome.

For example you may link feeling nervous in a certain situation in a match, and you begin to make technical errors, be changing your state of mind from feeling nervous, to feeling empowered. The new state of mind produces a new outcome, so instead of making technical errors, in your new empowered state you feel more confident and take intiative.


Here are the steps to the New Behaviour Generator:

Technique to assist you in over coming negative behaviour and unwanted bad habits.


Technique 1




1. Identify an technique or resource such as confidence  you’d like your athlete to do or have – one that

your Athlete understands is an important part of their training

Schedule, but doesn’t necessarily enjoy. It could be going for a

Passing a ball, being more confident, or developing a skill.


2. Ask your athlete to imagine a time when they successfully

Completed the technique or were supremely confident and ask them to recreate the positive

Feelings they received from it. Now ask them to go back into

The experience, ask them what they felt, saw, heard and what

Was it like?


3. Ask your athlete to imagine themselves in the future having

just completed the technique successfully,  and then to look at themselves

after actually doing it. Get them to notice the benefits of having

done it right now, and to think about the results that will arise

from it.


4. Then, ask your athlete to think of themselves doing the

Technique or skill in the future easily and enjoyably. Every time they

think of the technique or skill, they get a good feeling of anticipation,

and hear positive and encouraging internal voices. Ask them

to see how good that “future you” feels about the progress

they’re making, then see them having a sense of joy and

pleasure at having successfully completed the technique or skill  and

enjoying the benefits.


5. Ask your client whether they are happy with the change.

If yes repeat steps 3 and 4, fine-tuning the benefits.


6. Identify when your athlete is next going to do the

Technique in a game , and get them to imagine themselves doing it, easily

and enjoyably.

By doing this process you can assist your athlete to alter their

perspective on difficult exercises in their training schedule and

limiting beliefs which could be stunting their progress towards

their performance goals.


Technique 2


First decide on a behaviour you would like to change and decide on a new behaviour to replace it

1. Think of a time you demonstrated that behaviour you would like, or choose a role model that has the behaviour, skills or abilities that you want for yourself.

I.e. confident, motivated, excellent public speaker.


2. Close your eyes and visualize yourself or that person in action. Watch it like a movie in your mind.



See how you or they look, how you or they how they use their body, how you or they their posture; how you or they how they stand, walk, and sit. Pay close attention. Hear how you or they talk, what you or they say, and how you or they say it.


3. Ask yourself: do you really want to adopt this behaviour to change the old one? Confirm that it is what you want for yourself.


4. See yourself as the model or yourself conducting this choice of behaviour. You have stepped into the role model’s place. You are watching yourself do as the model does. You have taken over the role and are acting exactly like your role model. Or imagine reliving a time you did the preferred behaviour


5. Do you feel any negativity come up within you when you watch yourself? Any doubts that you are capable of doing as the model does or producing your new behaviour? Go through them one by one and adjust them, or adjust your action in the movie, until you are happy with what you see and hear in this new behaviour. Feel positive and confident in your abilities.


6. Mentally step inside the picture. You are now inside your movie image, looking through your own eyes. You are no longer watching yourself. You are doing the new behaviour just as you did it in the past or the model did it. How does it feel to perform this new behaviour or be this person with these new behaviours? How does your body feel? How is your posture? What do you hear? How does your voice sound to you?


7. Imagine a future situation where you want to behave this way. Put yourself there. Look through your own eyes at this situation. You are the star of this movie and behaving in the new way! Is it all working? Do you need to make any adjustments?


8. Open your eyes and come to the present moment.


9. Imagine that you are now the new you with the new behaviour. Get up and walk around as the new model. Walk the walk and talk the talk as they say. How does it feel?




Building new pathways in the mind is a great way to adopt a new behaviour, one way I like to put it is re patterning existing negative thought process and replacing it with a more productive level of thinking, even by doing this technique it can be powerful enough to move us forward into a more productive thought process and outcome.







Re aligning yourself chapter 3


Effort within the mind further limits the mind, because effort implies struggle towards a goal and when you have a goal, a purpose, an end in view, you have placed a limit on the mind.
Bruce Lee


With so many sports psychology and sports performance books on the market, DVD’s, cd’s, motivational speakers, conferences and courses, programmes, coaches.

So many people seem to have the answers to many of the problems athletes and coaches face, and you look around you pick up a paper, watch TV, and you could be excused for thinking nothings seems to change. Or you might be a member of a team, a coach, or as an athlete read all the sports psychology, coaching and training books, you may improved your performance, for a game or two, maybe even a few games, and then bang, back to were you where.


This chapter helps you to get to the bottom of who you are, you inner strengths, and establish the relationship you have with your sport when your at your best.


When I was working at a football club I used to bring in students from university for work experience who all had aspirations to work in football. Many of the students had an idea of what it would be like to work in football, in the mind they had built an image of rubbing shoulders with some of the top football stars, owning fast cars, living in mansions, dating glamorous women, loads of money and a few hours work are day.

I would take the students on work experience, a week in the life of working in the coaching department of a football club. And by the end of the week, most of the perception of what it was like completely changed. It had given them the idea of what it was really like. Different to their perception they had built up. That said there was occasionally the student which really enjoyed what they did, and pursued a career.

On one particularly occasion a student worked with me over a week, and it was a demanding week, as we had lost a couple of games, the mood at the club wasn’t great.

 The getting up early and finishing late had started to make the student a bit tired. I asked him half way through the week his thoughts; he said he’s enjoying it though a bit more demanding than what he thought it would be. However he was in the midst of his final dissertation at university and it was keeping him up till the all hours of the morning, though if he did the hard work now things were sure to get easier in the future.

In his own words he gave me a Muhammad Ali quote in regards to work hard now things become easier later.

I said sure so after you finish your university course everything is smooth sailing, as easy as that.

As we finished work at 9pm that night after an 8am start, I dropped the student off at his bus stop; he was looking tired and weary after a long week, of helping me with different duties.

Soon came Saturday and it was match day, a huge excitement came with match day, anticipation, after all its what we prepared for all week. My student came in to report for his duties looking far from enthusiastic after a long week. As the day progressed the game had gotten under way, it was nearing the end of the game. We were losing as a team it didn’t go to plan, I asked the student could you fill in the ice baths in the change room so their ready for the end of the match for the players. He went off to the change room which had three rooms, players change, cubicles, and a spare room for ice baths.

As we walked into the change room with the players at the end of the match after a defeat.

The manager was not happy to say the least emotions were running high.

 There was a silence in the change room, until we could here someone tried to get out of the spare room. Amidst the silence the manager flung the door open and on the top of his voice said who in the world that is. Of course it was the student who had locked himself in the spare room whilst preparing the ice baths.

The student had looked to go for the exit, as he left for the exit the manager bellowed no one leave the change room, and he sat in for the end of match discussion, which was emotionally charged to say the least.

When all settled down and we were making our way home, I asked the student if all was well. He said fine it had been a good week.

I asked him whether he was going to report for training in the morning. As we had scheduled an extra session Sunday morning to prepare for Tuesdays game. He said no, he didn’t think football was for him, he wanted to get into teaching.

This is when it dawned on me some people like the idea of doing something. Though not the doing, what they thing it might bring to their life, and not the purpose, enjoyment and fulfilment. I would go so far to guarantee a David Beckham would still be playing football for a Sunday league team, if he wasn’t gracing the field for the greatest teams in the world.



An excellent way to re align our participation in sport  and identify the exact area we need to work on in our game is using logical levels; logical levels give us an understanding of ourselves, and other people. Can help to identify the exact area of your life to work on to achieve long lasting consistency. Align yourself with your goals, and turn game, or team around into the right direction you want to go. Just imagine a ship at sea leaving one destination for another, with no compass, or a plane flying from one destination to another with no navigation system, you could be searching and seeking this destination all your life and never find it, just drifting in the abyss. Logical levels helps you find your path and stay on course.

Before we start with the logical level application to your participation of your sport, or goals you may have, let’s run the concept and its application to gain an understanding of how they work.

Follow the sequence below, and map it towards a part or parts of your participation in your sport, i.e coach, trainer, athlete

You can reflect of the answers at the end of the chapter when you have grasped the understanding of the logical levels application.


Time to get a pen and paper out and answer the questions in the tables below.


Six Logical Levels

Level Questions corresponding to logical levels
Spirituality/Purpose This can be viewed as your connection to a wider purpose. What is your sense of purpose on a individual level? Why are you participating in your sport? What is your sense of purpose in your sport? Why do you do what you do athlete/coach, position? What does participating in your sport mean to you?
Identity/Mission  Who are you as an individual in your role within sport? Who are you to different people, other players, participants, coaches? Who are you professionally? Are you achieving your purpose? How do you think of yourself on a personal level are you enjoying your participation? And professionally? – i.e. what are your strengths in your role? Tactical, technical? Intelligence?
Beliefs and Values  Why do you do what you do? participation on a Personally level? And professionally? What do you believe about yourself personally and professionally ability to perform your role within your sport?  On a personal level? What are you key values personally? And professionally? You may believe you are an excellent coach. Or you may value honesty. From a professional perspective, you may value good high work ethic in training, 100% commitment from all your players as a coach.
Capabilities/Strategies  How do you go about doing things? Personally? And professionally? As a coach and or participant.What are your personal and professional capabilities, skills, strategies or action plans?
Behaviours  What are your behaviours?

1)     Personally? Professionally?

Environment Where? When? With Whom? Where, when and with who do you display your behaviours? Personally? Professionally? What are the external influences on you?

 An Example:

To gain an appreciation of how these logical levels work, assume it is 3pm on a Saturday afternoon and you are with your team mates at your home ground ready for a match (environment).

1)You left out of the team and your not quite sure, some possible choices are: you could go up to coach and ask why. You could tell one of your team mates how the coach has got it wrong. You could start shouting and acting silly – with the hope you will grab the coach’s attention and call you into office.

2)The behaviour you select depends on your capabilities/strategies. If you’re confident approaching the coach and asking what may have been behind decisions? Tactical etc, on the other hand you might You could tell one of your team mates how the coach has got it wrong

3). Or you might start screaming and acting silly grab the coach’s attention who calls you into office and you ask to leave club.

4)The capability/strategy you choose will depend on your beliefs and values. If you believe that you are an important part of team,  good performer and have allot to offer the team when you get the opportunity to play. Then you would more than likely go up to the coach and ask them the decision to leave you out. If you felt you or the coach was inadequate and you were left out because your ability or coaches ability to understand the game (even without asking them) you may look for the exit strategy and tell your team mates what a ridiculous decision it was. Your beliefs and values are determined by your identity. If you see yourself as good performer, then it is very possible that you would hold the belief that you are an important part of the team, or  finding a suitable to you which will be able to perform.

5)Your identity is dependent on your purpose in your sport – the impact that you wish to have on your team, sport etc.  Contribution, winning, enjoying yourself.


Logical levels is for long lasting sustainable change and consistency in your sport

Making a change at a lower level (i.e. environment — going to a different team) may, but not necessarily, affect an upper level. However, a change at an upper level (i.e. belief) will have a distinct impact on the levels below it, as illustrated in the above example.

Using Logical Levels to Explain/Understand Change

The above leads to a number of interesting explanations/discoveries:

 Short-term vs. long-term consistency: Sometimes people find that attending a course, buying a book, seeing a coach worked great at changing an aspect of their game for a short period of time, and eventually the unwanted behaviour returned. How can this be? If the new behaviour was not in alignment with the person’s beliefs and values or identity, the higher level would override the lower level.

For change at the behaviour level to be long-term and produce the ingredients’ of a successful career, the desired behaviour change must either be in alignment with the higher levels or the change must take place at a high level i.e. identity.


 Making changes:

Have you ever made some changes?

Bought a new pair of boots? Purchased some new training gear. Started training with a different team, this is change at the level of environment. Do you think it will be long-lasting? Only if the change is in alignment with the higher levels. Or maybe you start going to the gym doing extra sessions and get in tip top shape (behaviour) learn some new techniques to participate in your sport (capability/strategy). Though still change doesn’t last, you may perform better  for short period of time though go back to how you performed before.

Sports/Career: Suppose you have a goal for yourself (Sport, Career, and it is not in alignment with one of the higher levels. How successful do you think you will be in achieving your goal? For example, I know many people who like the idea of doing things, as we discussed earlier in the chapter though actually doing it is no what they want. I.e. they like the idea of being a sports star because they think it will bring them fame and fortune. Though they don’t like the idea of working hard and training while every one else is out partying. Or extra hours on the training ground, work on their technique, starting out playing to potential audiences of a few people.

 “The problems of today can only be solved at a higher level of thinking than that which created them” – Albert Einstein:

I have heard many people refer to this quote and few can explain how you can actually do it (i.e. move to a higher level of thinking). Using logical levels, you can easily explain it. For example, if there is a problem at the behavioural level, to solve it we must move to at least the capability/strategy level. NLP can assist you in making change at the higher levels (beliefs and values, identity and spirituality/purpose) or can help you to ensure that your goals are aligned at all levels. Once this happens, your goals in life often become clear and obtained effortlessly.

 Spirituality/Purpose, Identity/Mission, Beliefs and Values, Capabilities/Strategies, Behaviours and Environment. In this chapter, we present other ways to look at the logical levels and an exercise to assist you with achieving personal congruence – all of the levels are in alignment.

Building a team through logical levels

You can only observe two of the logical levels of another person – behaviour and environment. You can observe what they are doing and when, where and with whom. This will give you some idea as to their capabilities/strategies, beliefs and values, etc. To really be sure, you need to engage them in a conversation on these subjects. Having conversations with another person at the higher logical levels provides you with a more intimate understanding of that person and why they behave the way they do. How often do you have a conversation with someone you really care about and the topic is the weather (environment) or what they are doing (behaviour) rather than who they see themselves being (identity/mission) or what are their beliefs and values. And to engage in this type of conversation, you need to create a space where each of you feels safe in disclosing your ‘inner selves’.

Successful teams such as the ones Sir Alex Ferguson manager of Manchester United has produced over the years. All have the desire to keep winning, even after winning several matches and trophies the winning doesn’t stop, and if players don’t conform new players are brought who buy into that culture.

Using logical levels to identify were conflicts exist professionally or personally  with your players

  • How many people partake in a sport only to realise they are not suitable, it’s not what they want to do, it’s not for them.
  • How many teams have deep divisions between management and players?
  • How many of the teams conflicts exist because misalignment of the higher logical levels.

A number of years ago I did an observation of a team

coaches and players:

the desire, ambitions, attitudes  of some of the coaches and players were completely different on many levels, which would effect the functionality of the team

Spirituality/Purpose (connection to a larger system):
Identity/Mission: Well trained professional footballers that can produce an exciting brand of football
Beliefs and Values:  The fitness skills and abilities to win matches. Another important belief held by many of the players is that they think it’s important to play a style of football to win matches and entertain the fans, two training sessions per day, work in gym, technique  rather than spend the afternoon off at golf course, (the players said they didn’t go into the industry to spend high proportion of time participating in non productive training sessions and aiming just to survive in the league  .

Capabilities/Strategies: Many positive capabilities/strategies for participating in a match, better planning of sessions, extra sessions, more individualised training. Less than supportive (in some cases dysfunctional) capabilities/strategies for taking every afternoon off and short training sessions.
Behaviours: The behaviours of a competent confident, motivated,  professional football when training in the right environment, well kept training ground. Distressed behaviours when asked to perform in training at less than suitable venue’ — in some cases, fed up feel like walking out.

From a logical levels point of view, you can see why player and coaches relationship was a problem?

You had a group of coaches driven to put as little in as possible and get as much out, neglecting existing  players believing they weren’t good enough for high aspirations, somewhere along the way, the team had lost its key priority and focus on providing a match  their fans could be proud.

Which conflicts with some excellent key members of staff at a higher logical level?

(Training at the highest level and working hard is the foundation of a winning team, rather than going through motions)

Could you use a similar approach with your team, your players fellow team members that would allow them to see the situation differently and to draw on their strengths to overcome a perceived obstacle?

Aligning Logical Levels for Personal Congruence

For many of us, the logical levels operate outside of our conscious awareness. Whether we are aware of them or not, they have a significant influence over the quality of our lives.

The following exercise will help you to: 1. become consciously aware of what factors influence how you live your life. 2. Identify possible conflicts. 3. Recognize possible changes you can make to bring the levels more in alignment and hence achieve a higher level of personal congruence (reduced inner conflict). I suggest you take your time doing this exercise and write down your answers.

Spirituality/Purpose: For the larger system (i.e.yourself, family, team mates, fans,), what is your purpose or the impact you wish to have?
Identity/Mission: Who are you or what role do you play in your sport i.e a coach helps performers fulfil their potential, the team win as a player/performer, bring fans enjoyment, win for personal gratification? Is it the role necessary to achieve your purpose? What do you need to change?
Beliefs and Values: What beliefs do you have about yourself, and about others in your sport  in general? Do these beliefs support you in fulfilling your role? What do you value – in yourself, others, in your sport in general? Are these values in alignment with your role? Are there other beliefs and values that you could take on that would be more in alignment?
Capabilities/Strategies: What capabilities/strategies/action plans do you have? Do you need to develop new capabilities, strategies or action plans? Are they in alignment with each of the above logical levels? If not, what needs to be changed? Maybe you need to change your capabilities (get more training,improve technique,fitter, faster), your strategies or action plans. Or maybe, given this new information, you need to reassess your purpose, your role or your beliefs and values.
Behaviours: What do people really see/experience in your behaviours? Are your behaviours in alignment with each of the above logical levels? Does something need to be changed?
Environment: When, where, with whom do you do these behaviours? whats your relationship with your coach? team mates?Are they in alignment with the above logical levels?

Aligning Your Goals with Your Logical Levels

Many of our goals (we have in our chosen sport) are based on the requests, desires or expectations of others – coaches,parents, spouse, teachers, society, These are not our goals and hence do not have the energy that propels us forward to truly achieve our goals. When we struggle with our goals, almost always there is some hidden inner conflict that must be resolved. Often we are less then fully alive because of these inner conflicts. The following exercise will assist you in identifying these conflicts and realigning your goal with who you really are.

Think about your goal and answer the same questions for the logical levels as you did above. Notice if there is an alignment between the answers. For example you may find that achieving your goal would take time away from being with your spouse and children (assuming this is an important value for you). If this is the case, is there some way to adjust your goal or your strategies/action plan to spend time with your family and still achieve your goal? You may wish to ask those affected by your goal, as they often come up with solutions that you would never think of.

This process will allow you to become aware of the alignment (or lack of it) between your inner self and your goals. As you fine-tune your goals and align them with your inner self, you should find that your goals become clearer, more compelling and more easily achieved. You have a stronger sense of fulfilment and understanding or your role in your sport.



Chapter 4: Dare to Dream


                                            Living a Dream



Regret can describe not only the dislike for an action that has been committed, but also, importantly, regret of inaction. Many people find themselves wishing that they had done something in a past situation. Most people regret the things they haven’t done, not the things they have.


As a child did you ever have a dream, what did you want to be and do.

Did you ever imagine kicking the winning goal at Wembley stadium in front of 80000 cheering fans? Hitting the winning put at Augsta, Serving for a Wimbledon title, winning the 100 metres sprint finals?


As a child you may have mentioned your dream to one of your teachers, parents, family, and friends. You were told you weren’t good enough, clever enough, or talented enough.




Stop and think about it for a minute, what would you like to achieve as a coach or a performer?


If you were approaching the end of your last match what would be thinking?


Take a few minutes to right down your thoughts


what would it be like playing in your last match





What are some of the dreams you once had though put away?





 Life is short and you owe it to yourself, every dream starts with a vision


Did you ever have a vision or have a vision?


Do you have a dream?




All things are possible if we dare to dream we have the most amazing powerful resources at our disposal the human mind

We are all wired up with the same resources within our mind; it’s how we use those resources which make the difference.

Some people dream big and go for it; some people decide to dream with in the realms of what they perceive as reality. It never ceases to amaze me what is possible when we let our mind just wander and flow.

The following exercise is developed from eliciting some of the greatest sporting minds, who had the most amazing strategy to come up with the most amazing ideas.

By using the same strategies with your mind, let you mind wander knowing you don’t have to tie yourself into anything you don’t want to follow up. Though rest assured that every positive though we have will reward us in some way.





Turning a vision into a dream a dream into reality exercise



Write down as many things as possible you would like to achieve, if all things were possible, just let your mind run wild, your not accountable to any commitment if you don’t want, just have some fun?




Step 1:

1: Think of a time when you were really creative, when you were making some very creative choices. fully association to a time you were really creative and relive that time what did it feel like, what did you see, colours, images, what could you hear, let your self go completely, it might of been a time you were on a beach relaxing, going for a country walk, having a meal with family and friends, listening to some music. Let your mind run free, relax and go into its creative state. Close your eyes really relax and let your mind wonder.


In your creative state.


Now think about your life’s purpose, what are you here for?

What are you passionate about?

If you could do anything what would it be?

If money and time was no object what would you like to do?

Imagine living in a world with no limitations even for a few minutes, have some fun.


Step 2:

Think of a time when you were realistic about some plan and put it into action in an effective way. It might be your own plan or somebody else’s. An idea you had which you put into action, it could of been a completing a course, setting up a business, going travelling, As you recall this time relive the experience. Think about what you saw, what it felt like, what you heard, gather and recollect some of your thoughts and actions of a time you had an idea which you put in practise and relive the situation.

In your realistic State of mind

Come up with some logistics for your plan

What are some of the resources you would require for your plan, if you were to implement?

i.e. resources?





Step 3:

3: think of a time when you criticised a plan in a constructive way and saw weaknesses as well as strengths and identified problems. Again it might be your plan or someone else’s. As you recall this time relive the experience think of the images you saw, the feelings you had, what you heard, now gathering your thoughts reflect and recollect your actions.

in your critical mindset

Come up with potential pitfalls of the dream

i.e. cost? Time?


Step 4:

4: Now think again of a time when you were really creative, when you were making some very creative choices. fully association to a time you were really creative and relive that time what did it feel like, what did you see, colours, images, what could you hear, let your self go completely, it might of been a time you were on a beach relaxing, going for a country walk, having a meal with family and friends, listening to some music. Let your mind run free, relax and go into its creative state.

Really relax and let your mind wonder, and as you let your mind wonder notice what you learnt from a time you planned an idea and implemented it and a time you criticised and idea and think about what you have learned.

Now reflecting and processing your thoughts, what are some ideas and plans you would like to live.




What dream or dreams do you have that you’re a ready to take out of your cupboard draw again or have sprung to mind?




Be excited, get excited and passionate knowing you have awaken your mind again. Remember it’s never too late and there is not better time than the present. A dream is only fantasy unless you take action,

How do you take action?


Next chapter we will design our destiny and turn your dreams into a reality.





Chapter 5: Setting Goals and Staying Motivated



Sports quote

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
– Mark Twain




You see whether you realise it or not goals are a fundamental part of achieving excellence at sport. The two choices you have is either you carry on leaving things to chance in your event or sport or you take control of your participation  performing  in are way that brings you fulfilment, purpose and achievement.


I guess with setting goals comes the fear of not achieving them, which is understandable, imagine setting these awesome goals only to fall flat on your face and not achieve them, what then. Well I think the most amazing thing about setting goals, is the journey and sometimes we don’t achieve what we set out to achieve. We achieve something more significant, and more often than not in the process of working towards and achieving goals so many other possibilities and opened and in our life we achieve so much more than we set.

After your have listed your goals, we will then utilise a powerful technique to achieving your goals.





Though before we begin the goal setting strategy

Create Your Vision board

Get a piece of poster board and attach it to a wall in your dressing room locker  or home where you will see it often. As you go through magazines, brochures, etc. and you see the pictures of the things you want, cut them out and glue them to your vision board. In other words, make yourself a collage of the goals that excite you…knowing full well that as you look at them everyday, they will soon be yours.

I.e. cut out a picture of grounds you would like to compete at, the stadiums, the performers you would love to challenge yourself against.







Now complete the following Exercise

Write one goal you have for each of the following category, you may think of others, though for now write one goal you have in each category.



I.e. improve golf swing, tennis serve, free kick in football, goal kicking rugby






Is any part of your mindset holding you back i.e. self belief, self esteem, confidence? Is there any part of the way that you behave that upsets you? If so, set a goal to improve your behaviour or find a solution to the problem.



What are you aspirations? What level do you want to play? Who do you want to compete against? How do you want your sports career to go, amateur, semi pro, professional?



What would you like to learn? About your sport? Your role?



How would you like to improve tactically?



What are your physical goals?  Levels of fitness through fitness testing?

Speed ?power? stamina? Agility?



How many goals are you aiming to score in your season? Length you want to hit golf ball? How fast you want to run a certain distance?


        Spiritual /contribution

 Biggest contribution you will make in your sport? Entertain fans?

Your intrinsic values enjoyment?


Now choose one of the goals from the above category


(You can use the following strategy for all the goals you have listed above, and incorporate it into to your planning, though for now choose one.)

(A common question many people ask is can I set more than one goal, of course you can, you can set as many goals as you wish, particularly for different aspects of your sport to ensure growth) however I would suggest using the strategy and the following exercise for one goal till you develop your action plan, then you can set different action plan for different goals.


Using the following powerful strategy you can take a goal you have listed in the above category to put into action



  Goal Setting


1) State the goal in positive terms

        What do you want to achieve, what would you like to happen, what outcome do you want?

          Remember the mind can not process a negative instruction, for example if I say doesn’t think of the colour red, what comes to mind?

So be specific if a 5 year old can’t understand it, it’s to complex, (for example in the playing for a professional team or level, stating you want to play professionally, is vague and not specific. Write your ideal team you want to play for) ( and or the exact level or league you want to play? type of team, what tournaments  you would like to win? ) be as specific as possible.

State it in the positive (what you want to achieve).   Where are you now ( level, team, ability)?

(This is your road map) in the context of your goal (i.e. just starting up in a new sport, playing a certain level,  certain level of ability)


        Where do you want to be?

(Were do you want to be in the case of your goal as in outcome you want)

(A professional athlete competing in the European circuit running under 10 seconds for 100metres, playing semi pro football for certain team scoring 20 goals per season, complete marathon under 3 hours)



2) specify the goal in Sensory Based Terms

Remember we learn through our senses, and build an association through our senses which makes it real.

Engage all of your senses in this description process to employ more of your brain and nervous system.

And build pathways in your mind making it real.

What will you see, hear, feel, etc., when you have achieved your goal?

Close your eyes and imagine what it would be like having achieved your goal, what will you see? Hear? And feel?


        What steps or stages are involved in reaching this goal?


Formulate a plan what steps are necessary in achieving the goal

Step 1:  2:  3:    and so forth

 (I.e. step one might be to email or phone someone step two set up a trial, get in peak fitness, improve technique)


3) Specify the goal in a way that you find compelling

(Make the goal have meaning, specify your goal in a meaningful way)


Now Imagine in your minds eye the steps you have mapped taking you to the point of having achieved your goal. See yourself having achieved your goal like watching yourself on TV. Notice the screen the clarity of the image, what you are wearing, what people around you are wearing, the surroundings, what you are saying, people around you are saying and what it feels like to see yourself achieve the goal.

What would achieving the goal mean to you?

To your family?

The impact it will have on the greater community?

Is the goal compelling? 

Does it make you excited?



4) Run an ecology check on your Goal (the consequences of working towards your goal or achieving it) to make sure it is for you in all areas of your life. Making sure it whets you want for you.


·       Is the desired goal right for you in all circumstances of your life?

·       Is your goal appropriate in all your personal relationships?

·       What will having your goal give you that you do not now have?

What implications does it have on other parts of your life? I.e. spending time with your children, your partner, family.

·       Is your goal achievable?


5) The plan

·       Where, when, how, with whom, etc. will you get this goal?

 Where? (I.e. celebrating winning a trophy, making a team at a certain level, running New York Marathon,)

when?: set a time limit,  i.e. set a an exact date, by 12/10 /2012 ( playing professional football for a certain team at a certain level, scoring x amount of goals, winning  the league,   set are date and even time for when you will achieve your goal)

how?: ( how you intend to achieve your goal step by step) ( generate a plan) ( phone up for trials, get into peak training, improve technique fitness, hire personal trainer, agent, promoter)


Whom? (List of the resources as in people that can help you achieve your goal) (Family, friends, team mates, coaches, collegues)



6) State the Resources needed to achieve the goal


·       What resources will you need in order to get this goal? 


·       Who will you have to become?


·       Who else has achieved this goal?


·       Have you ever had or done this before? 


·       Do you know anyone who has?


·       What prevents you from moving toward it and attaining it now?



7) Evidence Procedure.


·       How will you know that your goal has been realized?

(How many times to we achieve a goal without even realising it, its important to know when you have realised your goal, you wouldn’t climb the highest mountain and not sit and admire the view)


        What will let you know that you have attained that desired state? 


( how will it feel when you have achieved your goal, how many people achieve a goal and think is that it, or not sure if their getting closer, identify the feelings the will come with achieving your goal, close your eyes and think about it what feeling you will have, having achieved your goal)




Placing goals on a timeline


Placing your goal in a timeline gives you the opportunity to note the progress you are making step by step.

Starting with the end in mind .At the very top write specifically what you goal is and the exact date you will achieve it.

I.e. July 2012 run 100 metres in 10 seconds, play for certain team in top league, play certain golf handicap.

March 2012 run 100 metres in 10.4 seconds, play for team in 2nd highest league,

Jan 2012  run 100 metres 10.6 seconds, play for team in 3rd highest league

December 2011 run 100metres in 10.8 seconds, or play for team in 4th highest league,

August 2011, enter competitions for 100 metres sprints, or trial with pro sports team

June 2011,hire athletics coach, join athletics team,  begin intensive fitness training for football, improve technique, or set up meeting with agent  with an eye to play pro football.


The following exercise brings a sense of reality to achieving your goals and makes them manageable.


After the exercise is a chart you can use to break your goals down in a time frame.


1. Step 1

Write down what you envision for yourself in 10 years. Write down your goals in list form using complete sentences. Use adjectives and be specific. Instead of writing “playing professional football,” write “I am playing for a successful professional team, winning trophies bringing enjoyment to the lives of others.”


2. Step 2

Create tasks for each goal. Assign each task a due date, step 1, 2, 3 and so forth. Begin each task with an action verb. Instead of writing “sprint coaching,” write “Enrol in a specific athletics, golf, tennis, football  team (i.e. town, county)


3. Step 3

Write down what you envision for yourself in one year as a milestone to know your on track. Use your list of 10 year goals as a template.


4. Step 4

Create tasks for each one-year goal. Use your list of tasks for your 10 goals as a template. Assign each goal at least one task per week.


5. Step 5

Place your lists in a visible location. Put your lists on your bedroom wall or somewhere else that you look at daily.


6. Step 6

Write your goals and tasks on a calendar. Put the tasks on their corresponding due dates. Write the goals onto estimated date or dates of completion.


7. Step 7

Use the lists and calendar as a template for one week tasks, one-month goals, 10-year goals and other time frames.




See below outline to achieving your goals what you aim to achieve in specific time frames.

Write down were you want to be in relation to achieving your goal at each time frame.



10 years











5 years


















 3 years
















2 years




















1 year
















1 year

















  3 months



















1 month












1)     List your long term, medium term, and short term goals in here and write the miles stones along the way.













 Weekly planner

Action Plans are essential if you’re going to get the most out of your time.


Weekly planning helps you to: decide how to make effective use of your time.

Work proactively rather than reactively.


Write down your daily tasks taking you closer to achieving your Goals


Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
6am to



task 1,2,3

(i.e. phone coach, email, go for run to build aerobic fitness)

7am to 8am









8am to 9am







9am to 10am







10am to 11am







11am to 12pm







12pm to 1pm







1pm to 2pm








2pm to 3pm








3pm to 4pm







4pm to 5pm








5pm to 6pm







6pm to 7pm







7pm to 8pm













Chapter 6: Self Talk


                                                  Self Talk

  • The power of words, think of some of the most inspirational speeches you have heard. Words can have an impact on people, because the association to that word may have a much deeper implication or meaning. The same can be said in a positive way, a thank you, please, well done can go along way.
  • Have you ever sat in the dressing room before the start of a match and the coach said a speech or found the right words to inspire you and the team. Or have you  done something well during a match and nobody acknowledged you, gave you any praise.
  • Seligman analyzed the explanatory styles of sports teams and found that the more optimistic teams created more positive synergy and performed better than the pessimistic ones
  • One of the most important people if not the most important people you will ever communicate with is yourself.
  • At this point your probably thinking communicate with myself, yes we do communicate with ourselves and the impact our inner dialogue has on our life is immense, in this chapter I will explain how our inner dialogue works and provide you with exercises which can give your life a completely new perspective and meaning,
  • Often we are our own biggest critic, how we communicate to ourselves at times, our inner dialogue can have a big influence on how we think and feel.It has been established by psychologists and neuroscientists we carry on an ongoing dialog, or self-talk, of between 150 and 300 words a minute. This works out to a dialog between 45,000 and 51,000 words a day. Most of out self-talk is harmless dialog that evolve around our daily activities like, “I need to stop at the shop to pick up some milk.” I wonder what’s on television tonight, what should we have for dinner on tomorrow night. The danger in the context of sport is when inner dialogue takes on a negative connotation related to our participation as a coach or athlete such as, “I am not good enough to play at this level,” “I am useless, I always mess things up,” or “I cant handle the pressure,  we always lose at penalties, I haven’t got the natural ability to play sport.” The ongoing negative reinforcement created by habitual negative self-talk results in the creation of a limiting belief(s) that goes on to become self-fulfilling prophecy. Your parents, family, partners, teachers, coaches, team mates, fans,friends have such an affect on you that their words can become buried in your brain and phrases echo around your head. Sometimes you hear your parent’s comments in a situation you’ve experienced before only this time you’re telling yourself the same thing! If you hear the same negative comments too often you may believe them and tell yourself what others think is true.Take a moment to think about your own inner self dialogue,and the impact it is having on your life, think of some of words going through your mind.
  • It is estimated by research, that it’s necessary for the ratio of positive-to-negative comments be at least five to one for a relationship to be healthy and survive long-term. For these reasons, we’re taught not to let others put us down. And equally as important not to put ourselves down.
  • Our self talk, or the words our inner dialogue uses when we think, can shape our ability to perform in sport, and influence our attitude and behaviour towards our participation, how we respond to certain situations in a match i.e. . Whether have the confidence to express ourselves during a game, or attempt a new technique or skill. It can affect our confidence, can increase our stress levels, limit our potential, and can influence our outlook on an experience. Can almost become a self fulfilled prophecy. If you keep telling yourself something you may end up believing it.
  • Language can be influential
  • They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel
  • Carl W. Buechner
  • Inevitably, every coach will hunger for the right words when trying to communicate with his team, especially in certain situations. Whether the situation is before a big game, after a loss, while overcoming adversity, or otherwise, articulating the right idea in words can be most important in the ongoing drive for success. There is always a need for saying the right thing at the right time
  • If you’ve been told by a team mate, that someone in your team is completely useless. You will probably perceive that person as more incapable than if you’ve been told they ‘need assistance with certain tasks’ or ‘need a bit of guidance’.
  • Limited by our vocabulary
  • If you say I will never be good at this, I don’t deserve it, I am stupid.
  •  “I can’t do this” or “This is not for me” “I don’t deserve it”, you more likely can’t. This is because your subconscious mind tends to believe the thoughts it hears. You can limit your abilities by telling yourself you “can’t”, that “this is too hard” or that you “shouldn’t even try”.



  • I once remember working with a group of coaches of a football team, that would shout at the side of the touch line off the top of their voice to the players dont lose the ball, dont foul, dont miss the target and  inevitably thats what excatily would happen on the field, we will look into this a bit more later in the chapter.

And the negativity would rub off onto the players, i conversed with one of  the players and he said he felt stifled, he was afraid to make a mistake, i asked him to tell me a list of phrases and words going through hes head  whilst playing and they were al negative.

We transformed his inner dialogue, like changing feel stifled, to feel like a powerful, and the use of language had a massive impact getting gim back into form



  • Exercise
  • Just think about it for one moment, take a few moments to think about a write down some of the things you say to your self. Jot down a couple of phrases, words. As you write some of the things down, imagine the impact these words are having on your life. 

How would you describe yourself in your ability to participate in your sport ?

  • How would you describe yourself as a sports person or coach?
  • One of my clients once had a list of over 50 negative statements they were continuously saying to themselves over and over again in their mind. Whilst driving to training, they found themselves saying I hate this team, though I am too useless to find a better team. Then every time they made a mistake, at in training they would call themselves a moron, a useless idiot, good for nothing. Even when he was playing a match he would find himself saying this teams out of my league, I am not goods enough to play against a team like this? And the list went on. I said to my client, how important is it for you to succeed in as a footballer? He told me it was all he ever wanted to do. I said would when did you first have the dream of being a footballer, He said around 4 years of age. And I said if you were coaching a  4 year old who had a dream of being a footballer would you say those things to yourself. Some of the things we find acceptable to say to ourselves we wouldn’t dream of saying to any one else as we are aware of the impact it would have on our relationship with the person. Well the most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself.
  • Now lets look at some techniques you can implement to transform your inner dialogue
  • Techniques to break negative states and strategies for positive self talk

        Thought-Stopping: As you notice yourself saying something negative in your mind, you can stop your thought mid-stream my saying to yourself “Stop”. Saying this aloud will be more powerful, and having to say it aloud will make you more aware of how many times you are stopping negative thoughts, and where.


        Rubber-Band Snap: Another therapeutic trick is to walk around with a rubber band around your wrist; as you notice negative self-talk, pull the band away from your skin and let it snap back. It’ll hurt a little, and serve as a slightly negative consequence that will both make you more aware of your thoughts, and help to stop them! (Or, if you don’t want to subject yourself to walking around with a rubber band on your wrist, you’ll be even more careful to limit the negative thoughts!)


Turning a Negative into a Positive

  • 1. Describe a situation in your sport which you often tend to think/talk negatively to yourself.
  • 2. Identify the negative statement you say to yourself.
  • 3. Identify words or thoughts you can use to help you stop the negative thought.
  • 4. List positive, beneficial statements you can use to replace your negative thoughts. These should be meaningful to you.
  • Positive language The main reason for giving a positive instruction is the mind does not understand how to process a negative instruction. I.e. if I say to you don’t think of the colour black, what do you think of? The very thing you were asked you not to do!
  • By using the principle of using positive instruction -Stating what you want rather than what you don’t want can have a powerful positive effect on the mind, but many people still tell themselves  what they don’t want, producing negative thoughts.
  •  An example if football, a coach might say to his players don’t lose the ball or when you shoot doesn’t miss the target might be the instruction, but would it not be better to instruct the player when he shoots to hit the target?  Or keep possession. Phrases such as ‘don’t foul’, ‘don’t lose the ball’, ‘and don’t lose the game’ can all be replaced by more.
  • Positive instructions
  • The same applies to different aspects  of our sport whether we are a coach or player, using our inner dialogue or communicating to someone else. Like have you ever told one of you team mates or as a coach, dont miss the target, dont lose the ball. And that’s exactly what they process in their mind.
  • Communication exercise positive Self Talk
  • List 5 negative instructions you say to yourself, and replace them with a positive instruction.
  • For example as you might make an error in your game, and say to yourself you idiot you always get that wrong.
  • Are more favourable instruction might be how can I learn from this and improve the situation.
  • Remember Focus on the outcome you want
  • Negative instruction
  • 1:  I am hapless I will never get good at this
  • 2:
  • 3:
  • 4:
  • 5:
  • Positive instruction
  • 1:  I am an amazing person; I have learnt many techniques in the past and will do in the future
  • 2:
  • 3:
  • 4:
  • 5:
  • Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
  • Author Unknown
  •                           Communication exercise Giving Instructions
  • List 5 negative instructions you give to your players, performers, team mates and replace them with a positive instruction.
  • An example in football the coach may say don’t lose the ball to one of his players.
  • Are more favourable instruction might be keep possession.

Focus on the outcome you want!


  • Negative instruction
  • 1:
  • 2:
  • 3:
  • 4:
  • 5:
  • Positive instruction
  • 1:
  • 2:
  • 3:
  • 4:
  • 5:
  • Transforming the way you perform in your sport by using the power of linguistics, the more you work at this the better an easier it becomes. This is a resourceful chapter you can revisit time and time again, however the impact of changing even one negative word to something more positive can completely change your mindset and outlook on your sport.



Chapter 7: Metaphorically speaking





Metaphor is based on a Greek word meaning to carry something across or transfer.


“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”

         Muhammad Ali



The power of a metaphor!

Do you remember story time back at school, or looking forward to having a bed time story read by your parents? Some of the stories your heard when you were young. Stories which would create an impact on your life, stories like Cinderella, the Ugly Duckling, no doubt you can think of many more. The impact some of these stories and metaphors had on your life. Being able to draw from metaphors and stories to get a sense of perspective of your life. The first time you had your heart broken, or experienced a level of rejection like not making the school cheer leading or football team. Through out our life it’s these stories and metaphors that galvanise our resolve through our life’s challenges. Metaphors provide people with hope, and light, draw on our resources to be able to find a meaning from difficult and challenging situations. Metaphors provide us with multiple perspectives.


There is nothing better than a good sports story, to inspire other athletes to greatness. Drawing from someone else’s strength in adversity


Or the metaphor in a song such as you will never walk alone at Anfield home of Liverpool FC

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm
There’s a golden star (sky)
And the sweet silver song of a lark


  • One person’s participation in sport  can be the same old same old
  • And another person’s participation  can be a bed of roses

Which in turn can influence the way a person thinks or feels and approaches their sport. Using metaphors were able to step out of the problem and see it from a different context to help us find solutions and draw strength, draw upon all of our minds resources. Metaphors are useful to be able to shift our mindset to a more creative resource. Helping us to generate solutions, and reconnect with ourselves, the metaphors we already use can have a positive or negative impact on our sport they can completely alter our perceptions on the situation we find ourselves in our sport and make an impact on how we feel and  play our sport.


A powerful example is I am sure the one we have all come across, same shit different day, I remember being a  kid seeing people have it on little sign posts on their car and even printed of on tee shirts,. Imagine waking up with that perspective in life imagine how you would feel think what state of mind you would be in, probably not the best. I am sure we have come across and have possibly used many other negative metaphors for different parts of your sport or even  life for work, relationships.

Some examples of metaphors people use.

  • are my game is like a roller coaster
  • Couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery
  • Couldn’t hit a barn door (metaphor used in football for someone who is struggling to score goals)

A metaphor can change your whole perception of a situation, a challenge in your sport and in the process move you onto a new level. Move you out of a problematic situation, put your in a more resourceful state of mind, make you happier, give you hope. (If you have every watched the film Forrest Gump).

Forrest Gump says during a scene of the film: My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get. Through out the film Forrest attitude and outlook to life was one of anticipation taking all of life’s events in his stride. A metaphor can be very influential in the way live our lives, forming an attitude and becoming influential on our behavior and outlook on our sport and our life. When I was working with Bury football club, one of our players coming through who would go on to achieve the most amazing success as a football player, a meteoric rise to the top, from the depths of League 2 to champions league football. I recall setting a physical training programme for the players were they would run tough 400 meter sprints, I don’t think Colin particularly enjoyed this part of training, he would sometimes let me know his thoughts about doing the 400s, I used to say to Colin your a machine, your built like a machine. This was a metaphor which transformed the way he perceived the training. I remember bumping into Colin when he was making his way up in the football league at a match, and one of the things he said was I am a machine, which brought a smile to my face.

The following exercise is very powerful and can help you transform the way you feel about your life.

What are some of the metaphors you use in your sport and think about the impact, if it has a negative impact change it to something more resourceful?

For example

  • “We are all just a drop in the ocean”
  • Change to something more profound “by throwing a pebble into a river we can create a ripple”
  • “At work I am just a number”
  • To “I am an important cog in a wheel”

Complete the exercise write down the metaphors you are using to run your mind.

Take a few minutes to think about some of the metaphors you’re using in your life.

Write the metaphors down


Now think of the impact it is having on your game, the perception you gain from the metaphor.

From the list you completed the following exercise is to change anything negative to more positive.

Take a moment to think and notice how different you feel by creating a more resourceful metaphor.

For example.

I am Stuck in a dead end team can be changed to my job is a stepping stone to better things.



My team…………….



My ability……………………..



My character……………………………………………………



 Using  metaphors to create stories



This can be very useful having worked with many clients over a number of years this technique is a powerful and special technique to help people develop an inner resolve and greater perspective on many situations.

Some of the clients I work with have been through some of the most challenging experiences in sport and life; they have suffered physical injuries and loss of form, confidence, personal problems and get stuck in a negative place. Finding it difficult to move forward and make the most of their life, One of the techniques I use is  ask the client to come up with a metaphor for the situation they are going through in their life, it often has a powerful effect on their life.

I was working with a sports person once who had a loss of form for several months; they had been told that they were feeling negative and anxious . They told me how they felt they had no hope, no motivation, found it difficult to get participate in their sport they once really enjoyed.

They were going to give up on playing their sport, cut themselves off.

One of the techniques that helped them to move out of the situation they were in was I had asked them to create a metaphor for the situation they were in and close the metaphor with a positive ending, the state of mind they would like to be in (so taking the present state of mind they were in and focusing on the desired state of mind). And having created the metaphor put it in a place they could see it daily.

Having done this, this person completely transformed their game, they found top form again, got back on their feet again, joined new team, revitalized their career, started training extra sessions. They completely transformed their sports career.








An example of a metaphor


For someone who is experiencing situations were things may be challenging in sport of life, however by persisting they can get through.

Consider a river; how it flows to the mighty seas, on its journey it meets many challenges and obstacles along the way, though never giving up hope, it keeps flowing.

The nature of the river is such no matter what gets in its way, hills, forests, fields; it manages to find a way round or through the obstacles until it succeeds in achieving its goal. Regardless how difficult, challenging impossible it may have seemed to begin with, the river keeps flowing until it meets the sea.


Create your own metaphor


Now using the above metaphor as an example do the following exercise with a situation in your sport. Take the time to create a metaphor for a challenge you may be going through at the moment.

When creating your metaphor take your time to relax and let your Mind wonder let your subconscious mind take over and be creative.


Identify the situation or problem in your sport


 Write down whets going on


Who is involved?


How is it a problem?


How would you like things to evolve?



Key points in writing your metaphor


  • In writing your metaphor decide on characters and settings that reflect the relationships of the people involved.


  • Develop a plot that reflects the current problem.
  • Develop the story reflecting the current problem into a story which has a positive ending.
  • Making positive changes to the story.
  • Building the metaphor.
  • Populate the metaphor with characters (egg super heroes, wizards, trees, birds, animals, people.)
  • And what reflects the relationship of the significant people involved in developing the plot of the metaphor, include anything you may have already tried to change things.
  • Offer resolutions by developing the story so its moves towards a positive ending, be creative and draw from your sub conscious mind


Having created your metaphor notice how differently you feel about the situation, your perspective