We can learn a huge amount about positive reinforcement from elite athletes. They are, or have been, faced with demons just like the rest of us – after all they are human too, even if their performances may seem superhuman to us! One of the many benefits that top level athletes have is that they generally work with a coach. You may be wondering, what reinforcement does a coach provide that you can’t do for yourself? Well, a great deal! Check out this article by top level coach Matt Fitzgerald in Competitor Magazine.
I want to select one of the points that Matt mentions, and focus on that one. It’s not that elite athletes don’t know how to train, although a coach may suggest new or different approaches that the athletes may not have thought of, or used before. The main factor for me is, as Matt says about Kara Goucher, “she relies on her coaches to help build her confidence and to take the burden of planning and interpreting her training off her shoulders.” We are often our own worst enemies when it comes to building our own confidence. Negative self-talk can become a chronic pattern that we all listen to, and often don’t attempt to interrupt. A good coach will be listening out for patterns like this. When Roger Bannister switched from being self-coached to working with Franz Stampfl, the biggest change was that Stampfl got Bannister to a place where he actually believed he could break the 4-minute barrier – prior to working with Stampfl, Bannister had been struggling with self-doubts. The outcome of that change is history!
Research by sports psychologists has shown that positive reinforcement is highly motivating, and can have a significant impact on behavioral changes. It is suggested that 80 to 90% of reinforcement from a coach be positive in nature. Now think about how much positive reinforcement you give yourself each day? Do you hit 80 or 90%? Anywhere near? Most of the athletes that we have worked with are just like Roger Bannister – we all have abilities, that are limited by the level of self-belief, or self-confidence, that we have. So, how can you be your own coach, and give yourself the 80 to 90% positive reinforcement that generates motivation and yields behavioral changes in your training and racing? activacuity™ is the answer! Our app gives you the tools to empower you to be your own positive reinforcer, giving you the chance to achieve your potential.
Feel free to contact us is you have any questions on activacuity™, or positive running.