Motivation to train


In sport if an athlete is made to train they will in time quit – they need to want it. An effort of will or effort is tiring. If you have had to force yourself to do something or made to do it your resistance to the temptations to do something else will weaken. This is known as ego depletion. After Roy Baumeister (1998) in Daniel Kahneman’s 2011book ‘Thinking, fast and slow’.


Does exteme training empty the head?


Does extreme training empty the head? Don’t expect an elite athlete to be thinking about much during training – their body is concentrating on going faster. If you need them to think – slow it down.

Not good for athletes at school, unless short periods of epth headiness is of value? Better, as Steve Jobs and Dr Zbigniew Pelczynski and other great minds I know or know off – take a hike. A walk, preferably with a like mind. Not the dog, I pressume.

And where to walk? A local park or countryside may provide a suitable LACK of stimulation, compared to say walking and talking through a gallery or shopping mall?

All this courtesy of page 40 of Daniel Kahneman’s 2011 must read ‘Thinking, slow and fast’.

On the ohter hand most of the Oxbridge rowers are PhD students – or is that there excuse? Do yiu compartmentalise? There is nothing wrong with and no better way to empty the head than during training and competition? Does this leave that vessel, your head, more receptive to learning afterwards?

What could cycle coach Dave Brailsford do for swimming?


I’ve been wondering what lessons we can learn from the Olympics in relation to learning and success so was lighted to follow the interview with Dave Beresford the Team GB Cycling coach.

These are my notes with links. You can view again on BBC iPlayer and via Google I found the inteview being tweeted by various papers and Alastair Campbell.

I’ve been enjoying the TV vignettes with Colin Jackson too.

Simplistic tasters that whet the appetite supported by the BBC Website and links that can provide more.
Potential OU Support
Links to local and regional clubs
Prompts and tasters from The OU via Catherine Chambers in Linkedin to view some content on cycling and so perhaps take a sports science module.

Hero worship such as Dianne Lewis and Seb Coe

The legacy not just for sport, but self–evident proof that learning and hard work in sport can deliver, so hard work, application and knowledge can deliver at work and in the home, with your career, ambitions and family.

Interviewed by Garry Linneker on BBC Olympic Sport, David Brailsford of Team GB cycling on Wednesday 8th August spoke of his approach to seeking out the way to get the best performance from someone and how this could be applied to any sport, as well as work whether a lawyer or accountant.

take cycling out of it
best at anything: lawyer, dentist.
a philosophy
best that a person can be
sports theme park

Psychology for competitive swimmers

Sport Psycology p7 notes

Story of Jules in Australia wanting to quit at 18. 400m IM National Champion then didn’t make the finals persuaded to stay.

Belief about success

low effort


Most elite athletes are high in both.
Need the work ethic.

Recreational athletes
High task, low entity

Age Group Swimmers
Dragged in by their parents

Ignore outcome
Blame othersy

Avoid failure situations
Minimal effort
Impossible tasks

Responses to perception of failure
Maintain self–esteem/ego

Bad when its on its own and isn’t backed up with the task orientation.

e.g. gymnasts story – winning = treats

Understand what the ’urine?’ is …

Motivational Climate

Pursuit of progress
Learn from mistakes

Constant comparisons
Worried about making mistakes


Achievable (Adjustable)
Relevant (Realistic- so that they don’t become a source of stress)
Time (Focused/phased)



Outocme (will lose but no control over it)
Process (get this right and the others will come)

Set training goals every session.

Don’t worry about the w/u or s/d

Fast rotation into the wall
Fast rotation off the wall
4/5 fly kicks off the wall

So can think back and believe they’ve achieved their goal.
Feeding into competition so that they don’t tense up.

after an event

*to maintain self–esteem
*Pick out 3
*be creative
Improvement (moving forward)

Pushy parents and what to do with them!

Set goals strategically they can achieve things incrementally.

Read the athelte
set the ‘baby goals’

Set task and ego

Task – PBs
Mastery of skills
Hard work

Being the best
how are you going to become this person?

Team captains
Gala trophies and medals

True loe as a motivation!
Importance of socialising

What does it take to reach elite level?
Ratin scale. Physical/phsychological/tactical

eg performance wheel

with yiung swimmes:
creating patterns

and then the colour in the lines to where they think they are with 10 best in the world.

A subjective tool as it is how the swimmer perceives.

So thinking about the process goals.

Get them to choose and fill in.
You make choices adn they fill it in.
You fill it all in and compare to gain understanding

Performance profile
and calculate to define priorities closer so 100 the more you need focus.

Relaxation exercise
vs negative thoughts and anxiety
e.g. a script to help anxious athletes relax the night before a big event (first event)

A lot of psychology is trial and error to figure out what each individual reacts to.


Comeptive stress
ongoing and long term

Environmental demands

specifc rsponses to stressors

Trait anxiety
Personality disportion
Predispotion to experience

Arousal state (right now feelings that change to circumstances)

If a predisposed state will react to more sensors

Demands perception arousal otucome
+ve eustress and enhanced performance
-ve distress and impaired performance

ref Wilkinson 2003 Johnny (Rugby)

relaxation script. Can turn to it repeatedly.
Sticking to the plan.
For those for whom it isn’t a recurrent problem, get into a routine.

Seaking advice/support/understanding
Distraction/variety – all personalised.
Degree of trial and error.
Keep doing it until it becomes second nature especially for thise who are predispoed to stress.

Thought stopping. Having something to block out a tirgger from out of the blue.

Leadship skills

good humoured

team notices website rewards social

5.4 Has only been applied to top 16 or so swimmers rather than across squads.

Make the time to spend with each swimmer in turn – probably after a session or at a separate time entirely.

5.5 amonths, annually CBT/swim21

5.6 Process goals

what actions need to be taken to achieve something?

Intrinsic goals
Listening to them
Respecting their individual choices
and supporting these


always have socila fitnessclooks
times to certain or next standard


Democractoc approach
serve of control
Their choice and the worth of it
Personalised to them
Exploiting who they are
Better times
Club engagement

training groups
Creation of a Junior Masters
13–15 needing some control
Give them a choice of sessions,
Also start 6.15 or 6.30
through to 7.15 or 7.30

Identify a & b streams in BSG anda seek thei ‘buy in’ coub teacher/swimmer presentation

There are valuable lessons from sports psychology that can be applied both to education and business management

I’m reading through this (again) two years after attending the Module 5, Amateur Swimming Association Level 3 Senior Club Coach workshop at the Commonwealth Pool, Manchester. The session was run by the former Ireland Olympic IM Swimmer Julie Douglas (now at Chelsea & Westminster SC I believe).

As well as the book and my notes (and copious notes, Julie was studying for a PhD so was more than able to supply references, several of which I’ve followed up and downloaded courtesy of my being an Open University student with access to an enormous digital catalogue) I am doing through the Level 3 Resources too.

Wonderful that there is overlap with personality types from the OU MBA Module B822 ‘Creativity, Innovation & Change’ and from an educational perspective the Masters in Open & Distance Education (MAODE) that I have nearly completed.

‘Poolside is a stage, coaching is a performance’.

I’m reading the notes I took attending a day long workshop Sport Psychology with the Ireland Olympic Swimmer Julie Douglas, now a sport scientist doing her PhD having started out with a degree in PE from Loughborough a decade before.

I love that so much of what I did in my recent Open University Module ‘Creativity, Innovation and Change’ relate to personality type and the role it plays.

I have perspectives on this now from education, from business and from sport as well as two years of cognitive behavioural therapy to make me less a hedgehog and more a guinea-pig (my words!)

This from Eynsenk & Cattell