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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 

Let's face it, it is difficult to stay focused all day long.

The trick is to know first where you want to end up. Know the big goal, what is essential.

Then, even when you get pulled off task and your mind goes on walkabout for a bit, you can refocus more quickly, by asking, "Is this necessary to my goal?"

bulls eye
Get Serious About Smiling
woman smiling on computer
An essential to getting where you want to go is attitude. You gotta be happy to deliver stellar stuff to others.

Turns out kids smile about 400 times a day, but only about 25 percent of grown-ups smile more than 20 times a day. And 14 percent smile only 5 times a day!

Smiling reduces stress, releases mood elevating endorphins, adrenaline and the trust hormone oxytocin.

Do yourself, and the rest of us, a favor. Get focused on smiling.
Here's a little jump start to your smile 

"Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed, there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book." Ronald Reagan
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You and your team find their focus.
Our job is to educate, motivate and activate. 
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