NORTHERN TERRITORY INSTITUTE OF SPORT The Playing Attitude: Why we cant think technically if we want to perform at our best. with VICKI AITKEN BA, PGDipPE, MPhEd; BASES Accredited, Member SESNZ Mental Skills Coach/ACE Coordinator Northern Territory Institute of Sport Email: [email protected] or [email protected] DEPARTMENT OF SPORT, RECREATION AND RACING About todays webinar Todays webinar is part of a series being produced jointly by the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) and Human Kinetics. It scheduled to last for about an hour and will be recorded and made available for download and playback. You will receive an e-mail containing a link to the recording when it is available. All microphones and phone lines are muted so we ask that you submit questions by typing them into the question box, located in the lower righthand corner of your screen and click send. Well collect any questions sent throughout the presentation and Vicki will answer as many as possible during a Q&A segment at the end of the session. About todays speaker Vicki Aitken is a kiwi and re-accredited member of BASES and lived for the best of 10 year in the UK when she was the official sport psychology provider

to the Ladies European Tour from 2001 to 2007 inclusive where she worked with over 60 players. She is the co-author of the book Caddy-Talk: Psychology of Being a Great Golf Caddy and is currently the Mental Skills Coach and Athlete Career and Education Co-ordinator for the Northern Territory Institute of Sport in Darwin, Australia working with a variety of athletes from different sports. SCHEDULE Assessment Peak Performance & Flow Rotellas Playing Mentality and Aitkens Playing Attitude

Over all Philosophy within periodised programme Research backing Playing Attitude: Motor Control General Research & Golemans Low Road Goal Orientation Theory & Process Goals My experiences and control The Yips Wrap Up ASSESSMENT

Golfer comes to an initial session with a desire to improve performance or rectify issue. Performance Profiles holistic assessment of golfers performance Adult athletes = semi-structured interview style using profile as my guide to dig deeper and truly understand what is going on Younger athletes = complete the performance profile and its used as a prompt for conversation. Performance Profile Eg. The Foundation: Keep Peak Performances in Mind Players need to understand what they do when they are in FLOW or in the ZONE: 1. Retrospectively record details of best ever round(s)

2. Check how many of 9 FLOW characteristics were experienced 3. See how Playing Attitude and other areas can help player get into FLOW on more regular basis FLOW 9 CHARACTERISTICS OF FLOW EXPERIENCE (which occur when our skills match the challenge of the environment): (1) Goals were clear you knew what you were aiming/going to achieve. (2) The course / competition was challenging but you had enough skills to meet this challenge. (3) No thoughts of self - so totally engrossed in the game that time seemed to warp. Game was over before you knew it or you experienced a kind of slow motion over the ball. (4) Felt every shot went where you wanted it to go -> total sense of control over the ball. (5) Mind and body feel as one - Swing felt automatic

(6) No evaluation of the feedback not judging each shot as good, bad or otherwise. (7) Totally focused on the right things at the right time. (8) Aware of what was happening but not consciously thinking about it. (9) Totally enjoyable that were motivated to do it again. (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975; 1990; Jackson & Csikszentmihayli, 1999) AIM OF MENTAL SKILLS: How do I get into FLOW or have the opportunity to get into FLOW regularly? ANSWER: THERE IS A TWO STEP PROCESS (1) Self Awareness and (2) Get the Playing Attitude PLAYING ATTITUDE

Performance Building House Building IPS/ FLOW Playing Attitude Foundation Playing Attitude is based on concept of being IN FLOW and is process focused! Rotella & Cullen TRUSTING MENTALITY Golfer accepts shot Lets things happen

Feels like reckless abandon Patient Full routine to every ball (1995 p.196-197) TRAINING MENTALITY Critical Analyses shots Tries to make things happen Very thoughtful Impatient Rakes ball after ball

The Playing Attitude Leaving all technical swing thoughts etc on the practice range /area. Being target focused All self talk is positive No judging of performance DURING the round. Accepting all shots. Trusting your swing and ability (Vicki Aitken, 1999)

OVERALL PHILOSOPHY PRACTISING ATTITUDE (strictly off course on practice area) Involves: Technical swing work Tactical, physical and psychological work Practising to play i.e. full pre shot routine shots to varying targets in the playing attitude. PERIODISING OF ANNUAL PLAN - Takes into account when you want to peak for certain events, and means you can spend more time in the off season working on technique and then closer you get to playing the more you want to be practising to play in the playing attitude. PHASES GUIDE PERIODISED PLAN PHASES GUIDE

Off-Season - General Preparation Pre-Season Specific Preparation On-Season - Competition S&C (Rehabilitation) Prehabilitation (flexibility, mobility & core-stability) Cardio fitness 2x/week Increase strength 2-3x/week (start high volume and decrease with increasing

intensity) Max strength increase Power 2-3x/week Maintain Cardio fitness 1x/wk Continually increase flexibility, mobility & corestability Practice 80 -90% 3 or 4 sessions/week Long game 75% Short game 25% Technical 90% Play attitude 10% Play 10 20%

1x round/week Play attitude 100% TRUST Imagery 1-3 sessions/week Approx 50% 2-3 sessions/week Long game 25% Short game 75% Technical 50% Play attitude 50% Approx 50% 2-3 rounds/week Play attitude 100%

TRUST 3-4 sessions/week Maintain Cardio fitness 1x/wk Maintain Strength & Power 2x/week Continually increase flexibility, mobility & corestability Approx 25% Approx 3 sessions + 1 practice round (tactical assessment)/week Technical 10-20% Play attitude 80-90% (Increase to 100% before

competition) Approx 75% Approx 3-5 rounds/week Play attitude 100% TRUST Daily 2005 Vicki Aitken & Liz McKinnon Other Research to Back up The Playing Attitude... MOTOR CONTROL Masters & Maxwell (2004, p.211) The reinvestment of task relevant knowledge that is responsible for break down of performance under pressure.

Consciously processing what one has to do is detrimental to performance! TRADITIONAL EXPLICIT LEARNING IN THE BRAIN: start Main Neurons involved in task Instructional Neurons finish Thinking technically is equivalent to taking the neural LONG CUT.....making performance inefficient and beginner like Brain works on two levels... Daniel Golemans (2007) basic analogy of our brain circuitry: LOW ROAD - Automatic

- Super fast / instant - Sub-conscious / below awareness - Effortless - Instinctive - Efficient & Effective HIGH ROAD - Controlling - Slow / deliberate - Conscious - Effortful / tiring - Rational / logical - Clumsy & Inefficient

High Road can over ride Low Road Most likely to happen in novel, problem or stressful situations RESEARCH - Perkins- Ceccato, Passmore, & Lee (2003) Found high skilled (elite) golfers did better having an external focus (ie focus on target) than low skilled golfers who did better with internal focus (ie swing thoughts). - MacPherson, Collins & Morriss (2008) Javelin throwers found that the athletes who won regularly had holistic focus during execution vs those athletes that were ranked 35-80th who focused on parts on their technique. - Mullen & Hardy (2010) Anxious athletes using holistic process goals (focused on global movement

patterns) outperformed those using part process goals (focused on part of their technique). - One swing thought or single process goal thus no deterioration against baseline TRANSITION INSTRUCTION -Technical / instructive thoughts EG: swing club inside the line on back swing HOLISTIC - Translate technical into a

holistic goal chunking EG:MS Coach = What does that feel/ look/ sound like to you? AUTOMATIC - Can operate with out thinking = optimally efficient & effective TRUST & LET GO

Need to Operate on Low Road When refining a swing move: Elite players should be encouraged to focus on club (grip, shaft or head) rather than body parts Beginners can also focus on near externals too IE effectiveness of Gallweys (1981) Back-Hit drill Elite players when working on technique need to keep target (external focus) in mind Chunking the moves together..... Make it holistic and nonforcive. Use an analogy EG: Daisy- Cutter, hot knife cutting through butter, washing machine... RESEARCH - Land, Tenenbaum, Ward & Marquardt (2013) Putting task using skilled golfers (<6 hcp). 3 groups: external = focus on where ball to go, irrelevant = tone counting, control = no instruction all with full & occluded vision. Found significant advantage to those with external focus and

occluded vision. Concluded it must be cognitively mediated. An ex-client: Never looked at the target but because she thought about it I let her do it....requires massive discipline. GOAL ORIENTATION THEORY Outcome, Performance & Process Goals Researchers (e.g. Kingston, Hardy, Swain , Hodge, Aitken and colleagues) started to differentiate between Performance Goals and Process Goals in 1997 and 1998. Key because: Mastery/Task oriented goals self comparative can be divided into two categories: (1) Performance Goals (eg comparing your score last week with this weeks score) of which you have large amount of control over but not 100% . Self competition => more like Outcome Goals.

(2) Process Goals which are your PURE task/mastery oriented goals. Because you have 100% control What are Process Goals? - THE HOW TO.... Kingston & Swain (1999) suggested that process goals should focus on for example the grip, the stance, the pre-shot routine. All happen before you initiate the swing. Process goals should be goals that: Facilitate Concentration The athlete has100% control over Specify the behaviours to be engaged in during performance Is the primary focus when performing Helps lead to automation of performance (Kingston & Hardy, 1997)

PROCESS GOALS MUST ENCOURAGE STATE OF FLOW Clearly defined goals where action and reaction become so well synchronised that they appear spontaneous and almost automatic (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990, p.18) Therefore process goals cannot be technical/instructional in nature especially if it relates to the critical time of the pre-shot routine (i.e. After the moment of initiation....this is the point to give up conscious control in accordance with motor control theory). Helpful Process Goal Examples: - Any from the playing attitude - Do your full pre shot routine - Switch off between shots Hurtful Process Goal Examples:

- Clear the hip -Turn back on the target - Keep head down on putts What Bubba Watson Thinks 2012 Masters Champion Thats the trouble with amateurs they just think about everything way too much. The pro golfers are the best in the world and they think about their swings, but when they get to the golf course, they arent thinking about that anymore. They are thinking about game plans and how to plot their way round the course. They dont think about technique and the ones that are, well, theyre probably struggling. Amateur golfers cloud their mind to an extent where they cant play golf. Yani Tseng

World No. 20 Professional Women Golfer (when she was at no.1 she said:) When Im out there, I dont think about anything. I just grip it and rip it. I dont like to worry about technique. Gary Gilchrest Yanis coach says When anybodys playing at their best theyre not thinking. So we work on Yanis preparation and setup and on training muscle memory. Were not trying to change her swing, just improve on her tendencies. MY EXPERIENCES Golfers at elite and even at beginner levels perform much better if their focus is external to keep target in mind (cf. to Perkins -Ceccato et al., 2003) Any athlete which replaces excessive self talk with simple technical instruction is on a slippery path But in golf you have time to think.....

Instead athletes need to focus on things that lead to flow or automation of performance such as those aspects in Playing Attitude Orlick (1990) Time to connect...time to reflect Open skills easier than closed skills.. Later requires knowledge and discipline When is time to let go of conscious control? THINGS YOU SHOULD/SHOULDNT CONTROL Closed Skills - Trust & letting go = Eg: Pre-shot routine in golf can consciously control preparation and set up (although automatic with purpose better) Moment of initiation need to consciously give up control Open Skills

- Connection time Eg: Netball - Reactive & in the moment. Can consciously locate players/gap to throw ball to but shouldnt instruct how to throw. Playing Attitude Personal Experience Personal Anecdotal Observations: Beginner golfers learn quicker when not bogged down in internal focused thought Elite golfers can only perform at their best when they are unhindered by technical thoughts. Those who are maybe getting away with technical thoughts are underselling themselves.....potential is greater again. Extra seconds on the routine = extra thought Process goals need to be set and written down for every round.

What are the Yips? The Yips Continuum Paralysis By Analysis Shank Yips/ Dartitis Focal Dystonia Roberts, Rotheram, Maynard, Thomas & Woodman (2013): Looked at the yips and perfectionism in golfers, dart players and cricketers. - Individuals with yips engage in obsessive thinking and experienced a lack of control, decreased confidence etc and experienced a significant sport related event (eg the shanks?) at onset of yips. - Unhealthy perfectionists have both increase in perfectionist striving and an increase in perfectionist concerns.

- People with unhealthy perfectionism more likely to experience the yips. YIPS Success with helping people conquer the yips... Playing attitude, eyes closed (trust) and react and go drills (for reaction) EG: I thought you would be pleased to hear that within the last 10 days I have achieved a BREAKTHROUGH. I was beginning to despair when on the 15th at [my golf club], I suddenly found that by applying your trick of focusing on the target and then bringing one's gaze back to the ball, I was able to swing and hit it without any stutter, yips or whatever. It hadn't worked previously and so, not believing it I played again on Wednesday, and during a full round, I had absolutely no problems whatsoever. I still don't quite believe it, but am keeping my fingers crossed. At least I persevered, and you did say that it would require hard work. I am therefore, provisionally! very happy to give you the fullest praise and grateful thanks for your expert guidance 20 Handicap Club Golfer May 07 (whod been suffering from the yips for many years).

AIM OF MENTAL SKILLS: How do I get into FLOW or have the opportunity to get into FLOW regularly? ANSWER: THERE IS A TWO STEP PROCESS (1) Self Awareness and (2) Get the Playing Attitude WRAP UP To think technically or even mentally what you are doing is to perform below your potential. To maximise performance we need to trust our ability -> to do the playing attitude and /or function on the Golemans low road.

Playing Attitude remains something that is so very helpful to all athletes I work with and the research only reinforces its value . Golfers, athletes, coaches, sport psychs, mental coaches would do well to employ the playing attitude as the foundation stone to building performance! Any questions? We have received quite a number of questions and we will try and answer as many as possible in the time remaining. Ill keep the Q & A session going as long as is practical and we still have an audience to address. Any that remain unanswered will be forwarded to Vicki and shell try and email you a reply in due course. Thanks

Thank you to everyone for joining us today and thanks also to Vicki Aitken for what Im sure you will agree was a great presentation. Please take a few moments when your webinar window closes to complete a short survey on todays webinar we appreciate your feedback as it helps us continually improve our webinars. We will email everyone a link to the recording of todays presentation, so you can view it yourself or pass it along to friends or colleagues. Thank you again for your participation today and I hope you will join us on Wednesday, 20th November, 2013, 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM GMT , when Professor Alison McConnell will present Inspiratory muscle training: the state of the art and its application Thanks and enjoy the rest of your day.

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