Is Sports Psychology for Real? (Answering Questions About MMA Mind Power)

July 13, 2012
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MMA Mind PowerSince 2007 I have been helping people be the best they can be through a combination of highly advanced disciplines, mostly based on Neuro Science and Sports Psychology and my approach has always been very practical; by that I mean that we always seek to produce measurable results. I use strategies and techniques that are based on facts, not beliefs. You don’t have to believe in what I do for it to work. If you follow the instructions and put in the work, the results are likely to be satisfactory. If you don’t, they wont.

Still, some people seem to have misconceptions about how it all works and so I have put together a very quick list of commonly asked questions with relevant answers to create some clarity.

Q: Is this motivational speaking?

A: Not at all; what I do is based on making changes at the conscious and unconscious level to alter the messages that our thought patterns may send to our nervous system, which in turn affects the way we behave.

Q: You mention often that being light-hearted and have a happy outlook can help martial artists perform better. Is this based on positive thinking and the old “fake it until you make it” theory?

A: Absolutely not. I don’t believe in loose positive thinking; I believe in realistic thinking. Anxiety, fear, tension and other sometimes limiting feelings and emotions are based, more often than not, on false information that we put in our minds; such as “I am not good enough”, “he/she is much bigger than me”, etcetera.

Thoughts like these, which are often responsible for negative and uncomfortable feelings, are not real. They are guesses and distorted information. If you are there, ready to get in the cage, chances are that your coaches, your teammates and even the matchmakers feel that you are good enough to be there. More often than not, your opponent is not bigger than you – or not enough to be a detrimental factor in the fight – you just see it that way.

Most of the negative thoughts are false or distorted information. I don’t do positive thinking, but I don’t do negative thinking either. I am a realist and when my clients see the real facts, the anxiety disappears because it was based on false information.

Q: Does a mind coach need to be qualified?

A: Although most of the “real” qualifications are obtained during actual work with clients and athletes, which gives a coach the experience required to produce positive changes, the answer is categorically YES. It is important for a professional sports psychologist and/or mind coach to get the relevant qualifications from trusted schools/organizations.

Q: Can mind coaching or sports psychology interfere and actually cause damage?

A: If the practitioner is qualified and experienced, the changes of causing counterproductive results are very slim. The way I personally work is that during each session I ask my clients to tell me what the problem/challenge is and where they would like to be at the end of the program or session. This way it is very easy for the client to realize if what we do is working as they wish. When this type of calibration is not possible, there are other ways for both clients and coach to monitor the progresses.

Q: Does everybody need a mind coach?

A: I am big fan of “if it is not broken don’t fix it” and so I would say that if you do not feel the need to change anything then chances are that you do not need to change anything. However, it is also true that everybody can benefit from having a mind coach to talk to from time to time, to bounce ideas off each other and to get the most out of the mental side of the game. The job of a mind coach is not necessarily to fix things. The goal is often to help good athletes become even better athletes by going from good to great.

Q: How can I select a good mind coach?

A: These four questions to ask a mind coach can help you understand whether they are capable and a good fit for you:

  1. How long have they been mind coaches?
  2. How many people have they worked with?
  3. Do they have experience in martial arts or combat sports?
  4. What do others who work with them say?

Plus, do a Google search on them. There are many others, but this is a great start.

Q: There are a lot of articles on your website. Some seem straight sports psychology and mind coaching stuff; others are predictions, analysis and generally opinionated pieces. Why do you publish those?

A: Correct; some are straight-forward mind coaching facts (whether you agree with them or not, they are facts) which come from studies, text books and professional experience. Some others are opinions, which of course may or may not be right for everybody. Read what you please; discard what you don’t like.

Q: Can I work with you on a one-on-one basis even though you are in the UK and I am in the USA or elsewhere?

A: We work with professional athletes all over the world, some UFC fighters from the States, too. In some cases we can work over the telephone and in other cases we need to meet. Sometimes I travel to see my clients; sometimes they travel and come to my office. However, most of the time, Skype offers a compromise that allows us to work with people anywhere in the world. Contact me here if you need help and if I can give that help to you, I will.

Luca Senatore
Head Mind Coach
MMA Mind Power


Follow @MMAMindPower on Twitter or e-mail MMA Mind Power.
For more information about MMA Mind Power and Luca Senatore, go to MMAMindPower.com
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