Logical Levels With Jimmy Petruzzi





Logical Levels

With Jimmy Petruzzi




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.