onsdag 1 februari 2023

Veckans Podcast-avsnitt! v. 5


The Growth Equation - With Brad Stulberg & Steve Magness

Avnitt: #154 - The Athlete's Psychology (With Stu McMillan)

Längd: 52:22

Släpptes: 2023-01-18

Spotify-länk: https://open.spotify.com/episode/0qyT8ebso4pgAptlsGCOk8?si=5571a7c6ad8a47da

Här kommer ett otroligt bra avsnitt av en podcast jag faktiskt aldrig lyssnat på tidigare, trots att jag har hört talas om den. The Growth Equation Podcast drivs av Brad Stulberg och Steve Magness (ja, samma Steve som driver On Coaching Podcast). Både Brad och Steve är väldigt inspirerande och är duktiga att uttrycka sig verbalt om komplexa saker. Gästen i det här avsnittet lockade mig till att lyssna, och det är Stu McMillan. 

Stu är en av de främsta coacherna inom friidrott och har coachat fram atleter till mängder av olympiska medaljer. Han är en otroligt kunnig människa och berättar väldigt bra om hans tankar och erfarenheter kring främst en atlets psykologi, i detta avsnitt.

Nedan har jag nästan ordagrant samlat ihop mängder av det som sades i podcasten, som jag tar med mig och tycker är oerhört intressant.


"That specific arousal level of an Olympic Final, or a World Championship can not be replicated at all, in any way, physically, mentally, psychologically. However you try and replicate it, it's impossible."

They (high performance athletes) sort of require a certain level of arousal, to be able to compete, just at an average level. Andre de Grasse required a high level of arousal just to get any sort of high intensity out. 

How to prepare for arousal:

  1. Do a repetition by yourself at the track. No expectations from you, no expectation from the coach, you just go for a run. It could be just a jog, it could be a 100 or a 200 meter rep. Whatever. Very little arousal there.

  2. Now you are getting timed by a coach, which gives a little bit more arousal.

  3. Now you do it with a couple of training partners so the level has gone up again.

  4. Now you do it with a couple of training partners and a timed trial in training.

  5. Now you are in a small competition.

  6. Now it's a national level competition with a couple hundred people watching you.

  7. Now it's an international competition, even it it’s not a hard one.

You climb this arousal level latter until you are at the olympic games. 

If you have a skill that are not stable at a really low arousal level, then we are probably not gonna put that athlete through an international competition. 

First and foremost, it’s understanding where the challenge point is, where they are on this continuum of arousal that is required of their event to challenge them appropriately and continue to push them towards the point that they eventually have to be, which is ideally an olympic final. 

(Great athletes) have such inherent confidence in their ability that they can step up when required. They don’t care. Until, it was time to care. They don’t care about small meets (competitions), they don’t care about training. They work on stuff. Extremely focused on the process. What do they need to do that is required of them to be Olympic champions? This, this, this and this. So that's what they focused on. Nothing else mattered. It wasn’t outcome KPIs, it wasn’t that, it was about technical things. They have so much confidence in their ability that they require high levels of arousal to bring that out. 

Sometimes you over try in practice, over try when it doesn't matter. It’s almost like you have to prove to yourself that you are good enough.

They focus on the wrong stuff. The metrics that don't matter. They focus on all this stuff that doesn’t matter. What matters is that race. That's it. Nothing else matters. The insecure athlete and the insecure coaches focus on that stuff at the expense of the stuff that really matters. As a coach you have to identify that and put in strategies to combat that. 

Define all the variables that you can control, and then control them. Chiropractors, performance physical therapists, coaches, mechanics on set for competitions. That makes sense, because you wanna control all the controllables. But make sure the athlete has such flexibility, that if somethings changes, so they don’t freak out if everything isn't exactly as planned.

We try to frame that first and foremost as a large complex system. And I talk to them about the

importance of understanding performance through that. You don’t need to be perfect in any of the parts within that system, you just need to be pretty good at all of them. If you are pretty good at all of them, you are gonna do really well. That’s literally our goal. Our goal is not to be perfect in any part of that system. There are four major parts. There are:

  • Training. Physical training.

  • There is recovery from that physical training.

  • There is the fuelling.

  • There is an athlete's mental health.

Those are the four earners. We just give them the goal to be an 8/10 at all of them. I don’t want them to be a 10/10 at anything. Because if you are 10/10 at any of them, chances are you are gonna be a 4/10 at one of the others. That takes away that virus that creeps in. That perfectionism virus, where they think they have to have everything dialed in. If that pressure is taken away, then that doesn’t become a problem. If they think that everything doesn’t have to be perfect, If they think that I can still do whatever I can do, then that's not an issue. Performance is complex. If you try to nail every single detail always - then you are gonna mess yourself up. 

What are your expectations of yourself to be a 8/10 at physical roam of your system?

Wilt (an old coach) wrote on the notes of his athletes training: She had gone out and did a workout when she was supposed to rest and the coach writes as a note in her training journal “This is a manifestation of insecurity”. You are fit. Just trust it. 

Q: How do you deal with your own securities and insecurities around this and not put it on the athletes?

A: It manifests generally in more work. If you see an athlete or a group of athletes doing a ton of work, that’s because of the insecurities of the coach. Generally. The more and more work, the more insecure the coach. But it is really really hard. Because that's almost human nature. The goal isn’t to do more, the goal is to do as much as I can while still being able to adapt positively from the stress. That’s the goal.

Do the things that make you anxious, but in a calm and safe environment. Make your athletes face their fears, instead of avoiding them.

Always ask: What do you want with this?

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