A program to enhance your mental game.

Understanding Performance

A methodical and processed approach to the enhancement of mental performance is now achievable with a precision paralleling that of physical training. Efficient and Effective performances are symptomatic of balanced ratios of perception and a prioritised mindset.

High-Performance Behaviors and Neuroscience

Enhancing physical performance through targeted processes has become a mainstream concept. Similarly, mental performance can be dramatically improved through comparable processes, though this approach is less widely recognised and utilised than in physical training.

Systems 1 thinking v Systems 2 thinking

Two key brain regions significantly impact our performance, leading to what’s often termed as System 1 and System 2 thinking.

System 1 thinking, rooted in the Amygdala or “Animal Brain,” governs primitive seek and avoid based behaviors. It is the driver of erratic and inconstant performances and progress. This region of the brain is activated by highly imbalanced ratios of perceptions (all bad, no good, all good no bad, all support no challenge, all challenge no support etc). It is responsible for:

  • Prioritizes immediate pain avoidance and short-term gratification, not strategic athletic goals.
  • Leads to quick, emotional reactions rather than calculated responses.
  • Unsuitable for long-term, focused athletic planning and execution.
  • Generates memories based on fears and desires, affecting subconscious athletic behavior.
  • Causes reactivity and emotional vulnerability, detrimental to consistent athletic performance.

System 2 thinking stems from the Pre-frontal cortex, the brain’s most advanced area. When we have balanced perceptions (a balanced mind) and are focused on a meaningful objective there is an increase in blood flow, oxygen and glucose to this region of the brain. Consistent efficient and effective performance are only possible when our thinking is rooted in the pre- frontal region. This area of the brain is responsible for:

  • Long-term strategic and tactical thinking and actions.
  • Overrides the Amygdala’s influence, ensuring rational decisions aligned with meaningful objectives.
  • Regulates emotions related to pleasure seeking and pain avoidance for more efficient decision-making.
  • Sustains focus on selected goals, countering impulsive behaviors driven by immediate gratification.

The fall to the Amygdala, erratic performances and low levels of belief and confidence

Erratic Performances – Systems 1 thinking occurs when our perceptions skew significantly towards seeing more positives than negatives in events (or vice versa), we create imbalanced perception ratios (like 4:1 or 1:4, and in extreme cases, 1:7 or 7:1).

These skewed perceptions create our fears & fantasies and cause a shift from the rational prefrontal cortex to the primitive, impulsive & pain avoidance-driven amygdala. This behavior stems from the evolutionary need to avoid predators and seek prey.

In high level sport where decision making is what sets individuals and teams apart, reducing erratic and impulsive amygdala based decision making is paramount.

Low self-confidence and self-belief – The entomology of the word confidence comes from con meaning with and fidence meaning trust. Self trust is an outcome derived from consistent focus on priority objectives resulting in a trust and belief that you have gained a level of proficiency in a certain area. When you see and experience incremental improvements your self belief and self confidence expands because you trust yourself in that particular area and you also believe you have the skill set to execute a particular task.

An athlete who’s mindset is rooted in Systems 1 thinking will be unable to maintain this focused attention because they are fighting against extremely powerful primitive instincts and impulses which create extreme volatility in their decision making and actions.