How do the world's best athletes train?
I was reading an article on Olympic hopefuls and discovered that there are some very cool machines out there to help. Like the zero gravity treadmill and Wattbikes.
But what most intrigued me was stress inoculation imagery
. The practice of inducing stress both mentally and in practice so that when you encounter the real thing, you can handle it. Essentially this is a specific role playing scenario or what I refer to as, Live Action Simulation
I bring this technique to your attention because sometimes 'acting' is thought of as game playing, and without lasting benefit. However, Live Action Simulation is a trusted and viable coaching technique used by the highest caliber athletes and even by the military. Key is trust, the right facilitator and clear objectives.
As you consider using visualization and role playing with your teams it would be helpful to also consider implementing another high level athletic training tool. Sean McCann, a senior sports psychologist at the US Olympic Training Center (OTC), uses this with his athletes before inducing stress. He teaches relaxation
. That may seem counter intuitive to those who think that athletes need to be energized to compete. But McCann explains that being pumped up and tense depletes energy, while relaxation can provide control. And your body has to be relaxed and under control to be responsive.
Above all he says,"I try to instill a sense of mindfulness in athletes. Mindfulness, or understanding what you are thinking, can help you stop and recover from a mistake."
Although a different industry, an athletes training tools are just as useful in your business:
- Practice different scenarios before they're real
- Relax to de-stress and be at your best
- Focus in the moment with your eyes on the prize