Presence… Getting my best performance

I remember in my last post, I spoke about the importance of Decision Making. Before I continue, think about 3 decisions you have made in the past 5 years that have shaped your life.

If you were to have made a different decision in those three moments, where would you be now? what would you be doing? who would you be with? what would you have experienced?

Decisions are critical, and their importance is overly magnified and evident in the sporting arena. Every decision an athlete makes is highlighted for everyone to see. There is no hiding.

So, what do I do to help make sure I make the right decisions at the right time?

Firstly, it comes down to knowing in advance what decisions you want to make. What are you trying to achieve as an individual and as a team? If you know that in advance, you can think about the scenarios you are likely to be confronted with and you can plan your decisions in advance for those moments. Before a match, I stand in position on the field and talk myself over all the key decisions I need to make in the match for my performance to be as good as possible.

Secondly, I try my hardest to get into a state of confidence, certainty, and excitement. I feel like when I’m in these states, I play my best hockey. I think about what my body does when I’m in those states and I try to replicate it. I think about what language I use when I’m in those states and I try to replicate it. I think about what I focus on when I’m in those states and I try to replicate it.

Have a think about your own performance in the various areas of your life. What do you need to do in order to be able to make high quality decisions every time?

Presence… The art of decision making

From a fairly early age, I realised that the quality of the decisions I made had a huge impact on the quality of my outcomes.

I remember making some great decisions that I saw immediate benefit in. Choosing to go to hockey training instead of hanging out with my friends in a local council estate with other gang members; Choosing to spend my spare time dribbling with a hockey ball in my living room to develop my skills instead of playing on the computer; Choosing to support Arsenal instead of Tottenham ;)

However, I also remember making some terrible decisions. The interesting thing was though, was that I was always aware that the decision I was making would lead to a bad outcome… but I did it anyway.

As I look back on it with experience years later, I realise that the decisions I made were dependant on the state I was in at the time. The decision you make in a state of happiness is different to the one you make when in a state of anger. As is the decision you make in a state of hunger compared to a state of fullness; fatigue compared to a state of vigour, and so on.

So what is the answer? If I know my decision making is impacted so heavily by the state I’m in at the time, what can I do about it?

I made a conscious decision to make sure I was in a clear state of mind whenever I had to make an important decision – something I knew would impact on what it was I wanted to achieve. With hockey, I knew that my goal was to play for Great Britain at the Olympic Games. Every decision I made was either going to take me towards that goal or away from it. So, when it came to making a decision about something I knew would impact on my hockey, I made sure I kept that in mind, thought about what was the right thing to do, and acted.

Did I manage to do it every time? No. But I know that I made a lot more better decisions due to this than I would have otherwise.

What state do you personally need to be in to make your best decisions and achieve what you want to achieve?

World Class Support

Last week, I was asked to speak at Emirates Stadium at an event for Arsenal F.C.

I shared a couple of simple strategies with them around goal setting, but the most important thing I spoke about was the need for a world class support team.

You cannot be successful on your own, no matter how hard you try.

- Identify the areas you need support in for you to achieve your goals
- Hand pick the best person to support you in each area
- Convince them to join you on the journey
- Stick with them throughout

Click here to see the article written about it on Arsenal’s website.