31st JANUARY 2023
Remaining aligned with your spirit is everything. The modern world of analysis and data is destroying instinct and making people sick.
BELOW I LOOK AT WILKINSON, NEYMAR, MERTESAKER AND GOMES AS I DELVE INTO THE BIGGEST ISSUE WE HAVE RIGHT NOW IN HIGH PERFORMANCE
The tunnel-vision dedication which he believed at the time to be the secret of his success, he now sees as self-destructive.
“During my rugby career I was incredibly fit but I wasn’t healthy. Doing more weights or three hours’ kicking or watching videos of the opposition every day was mostly stressing the hell out of me.
"I was gaining maybe half a per cent over a year but probably losing more than that through the stress. “The massive gain – the 10 or 20 per cent – came from realising that if you want to explore your true potential start learning to take the shirt off ""The tension becomes almost unbearable. "My stomach starts churning and I feel like I'm going to throw up. Then I have to choke so hard that I tear up. "He always turns his head to the side with his chin facing his shoulder so that no one can see what is happening -- no TV cameras, no coaches, no teammates. So that no one will ever ask what's wrong with him before each match, what's wrong with Per Mertesacker, the quiet, confident defender."
- Per Mertesacker , Arsenal & Germany
"On more than one occasion, I didn't want to leave my house because [of the way] people look at you -- you have fear of going on the street out of shame," he said. "My friends tell me I am going with the handbrake on. I close myself off. I don't take allow myself to get rid of the frustration I have. Then I don't talk to anybody, I don't bother anyone. It is like I feel ashamed. "Thinking too much has hurt me. I think about the bad things and what I have to do. Although my teammates help me a lot, the things don't work out the way they want them to work out."
-Andres Gomez, Barcelona & Portugal
My experiences of the emotional torture of playing professional football for a living mirror all of the above. stomach cramps, nausea, anxiety and fear.
What have i learnt?
How has that made me the man and coach I am today?
How do we help prevent this happening with people in all walks of life
Above are three outstanding sportsman , guys who reached the top but, were tortured... absolutely tortured. Then one current star for Barcelona. Pressure, fear, anxiety ,lead to physical symptoms. They show in lethargy, nausea ,vomiting, stomach cramps ,diarrhoea.
But why are these guys suffering this way?
Surely they are just getting paid millions to play sport ? ....what a life
In my experience its nature and nurtureIf you look closely at what Wilkinson is saying , he was chasing an edge, desperately trying to find something to let him KNOW he will play well, that he will fulfil what he knows he's capable of .It was an illusion and it made him sick . All the gym work all the kicking all the perfect diet maybe gave him 2% where as acceptance of who he was ,understanding himself and the incredible gift of competiveness mixed with intelligence and sensitivity wouldn't have led to him Chasing and searching.
If I look at my life and my football career, it was spent riddled with pain ,anxiety and fear ,constant fear. what I realised today is there is no fear in the present moment that fear is a construct of the mind and can only exist in the future. It was a Ekhart Tolle ,author of The Power Of Now, who articulated this when he had a moment of enlightenment. It came in the early hours of the morning pitch black wide-awake staring at the ceiling riddled with 1000 forms of fear when he noticed physically feeling as if there was a tiger in the room but, there was no tiger. His body was feeling the physical symptoms of fear . A fear that was made in his mind.
In the world today, certainly in high-performance and sport , with a quest for certainty and results driven by fear. Fear of losing jobs, fear of losing matches , fear of not performing, fear of losing money all these mind made fears have created more analysis, more data, more proof , more science.
Science has taken over, completely overwhelmed the spirit and faith spontaneity and creativity. You see these things can't exist where there's thought. Only in the absence of thought can they be available. Its why children are so creative, their minds haven't been overloaded with information
Science has its place of course it does. Its revolutionised many areas in professional sport. A player I work with said to me last Friday after we had met and talked,
"Is Nandos bad for you because I have lived so well all week , just want to chill tonight and have a Nandos before match tomorrow"
I said " mate, you are 6% body fat ,train 6 days a week ,are 20 years of age. Have Nandos, ice cream and a coke if that's what you love having. Don't over think it all.
" It's not remommended on our club nutrionist sheet I have here for foods the day before a game"
"Written by a sports scientist who has NEVER had to cope with the expectation and pressure and fear that pisses all over the 2% the perfect nutrition might give. I tell you now, if you ate Nandos 5 nights a week but, trained hard and loved your life because you didn't feel restricted you would play 20% better and thats what im here for! This shit drove me into Rehab cost me my potential and relationships. I was so shot after years of overthinking, overtraining , over controlling, listening to experts and not my heart "
"Your hero is Neymar right?"
"Yeah " he said" Neymar is falling out of nightclubs 3 nights a week and up all night with models! but, look how well he plays, how free he is. Now I'm not saying do that, do what you need to do, that's what works for him to go out there with everyone judging and tap into his source of creativity"All of this is just more food for the brain, food for thinking. I spent my life thinking and overthinking and over thinking and overthinking. When I was an athlete I would over train and over train and over train. I will try to make my diet perfect, my sleep pattern perfect, a schedule stuck to the fridge, every training session, hours of rest , timings of when and what I would eat it was relentless. All the time the great myth inside was that I was doing absolutely everything I could to be the best I could but in truth I was crippling my creativity.
You see I believe we will have gifts science can't quantify them or measure them they can't be improved by training or analysis.
I look at the components that make an athlete - physical, technical, mental and then the great missing one… Spiritual. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. To be human is to be of flesh when we die the flesh crumbles. Physically we can improve ,we can train we can make our self stronger, more flexible, quicker. Mentally we can improve, we can learn, we can study, in sport we can know the game inside out ,we can know tactically what we need to do it in a positional sense. Technically we can improve with the right drills and some skill exercises.
But… Spiritually? now we going to get into the area which I really believe and which is what Wilkinson is confirming above is the missing ingredient in so much of big business and a top level sport.
Below is Sadhguru. Someone who has greatly influenced my life having listened and met with him 5 years ago. Wilkinson sights him as a major influence on him also.
Because the talk about spirituality is scary to many. You see it can't be proved ,the scientist will bat it away as pseudoscience. I'm not interested as I have lived it, Wilkinson has lived it. Daily I attempt to battle fear on clients behalfs and watch them soar, Neymar is living it. Gazza lived it, Cipriani lived it, It was scary to me seven years ago. At the end of my career broken alone career finished and soul in tatters , I had no choice but to surrender.
What was I surrendering to?My control my fear of the future who I was , of everything. I was afraid.I started to realise what I could control and what I couldn’t.
Where I think the changes really need to happen is in the education process. In Professional Football for example the FA's quadrant model- physical ,technical social , psychological for me is leaving coaches short . Nothing talked about spiritual. I would suggest implementing Psychotherapy for students, I would make HOMECOMING buy John Bradshaw a course book and I would make all coaches get back in touch with lost inner child.
I have coaching badges but what makes me as busy and successful is being able to give back and offer spiritual solutions which, trust me 90% of players need.
Spiritual is not religion
I'm not aligned with a religion or sect. I am however completely aligned with my complete powerlessness. That is what I covey, teach and lead my clients to, so they can walk out there under the spotlight and try to keep at bay all instruction and all experts advice
SO THAT THEY CAN ONCE AGAIN KNOW AND TRUST THEMSELVES AND NOT GET SUCKED INTO DOING MORE BECAUSE......
IT'S A MYTH!