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Are You Willing to Learn?

I read an article in the Times this week (Monday June 14th 2010) which gave an overview of Sir Clive Woodward's approach to coaching, highlighting why his system has proven to be so successful. He is a good teacher, which is what makes a good coach. He also pays a great deal of attention to attitude, not just to technique.

Sir Clive distinguishes between a sponge and a rock. In actual fact we all have minds which are like sponges, so long as we allow them to be so. If you have hardened your mind so that it has a toughened and rock like exterior then you have also stopped yourself from learning, stretching, progressing and winning. This is not just true in sports; it applies to every area of life.

We see this effect so often in relationships; you become afraid of getting hurt, and so you harden your mind and your heart. But when you harden your mind and heart you also lose your fire and your passion. Life becomes lack-luster and tarnished. In sport the effect is clear to be seen. It may appear as a display of anger or a dose of the Yips. You have to have passion to win in sport as well as in life.

And so whenever you become aware of a hardening of your mind or your heart it is worth expending a little time and effort in chipping that rock like surface away, thereby allowing your mind to return to its natural sponge like state and putting your heart back into things once more. The coaches' first job is to guide you back into this open state in which you are willing to learn; otherwise no matter what he or she does it will not work.

My mother is an avid tennis fan. She passed comment upon the difference in attitude between Nadal and Murray. Nadal constantly looks towards his coach throughout the game, seeking eye contact. Murray, on the other hand, would appear to almost avoid looking towards his coaches. Who's mind do you think is more sponge-like and willing to learn?

There really is such a thing as a winning mind set. Some people think that you either have it or you don't, but this is not true. There are several different mental attributes which together provide an environment conducive to success. Sir Clive identifies ten different aspects of attitude which are all important and essential to master along the road to winning and all of them can be learned, so long as you are a willing subject.

I like to think of these mental skills in terms of a tool kit. There are basic tools which everyone uses from time to time and so they become familiar - hammer, spanner and screw-driver come to my mind most readily. And then there are other tools which you may be less familiar with, but if you needed to do so you could learn what they are used for and how to use them. This task becomes easier with the help of a good teacher, a good coach.

Mental skills have a similar range. Some we use more often and others are relied upon less often. But if you want to achieve mastery, you need to familiarize yourself with them.

Hypnosis to me is like a "super-tool". It doesn't do just one job; rather it does many. In itself hypnosis is a state of relaxation which also allows easy access to your subconscious mind. Hypnosis calms and relaxes you, shows you how to step back and also opens the door to the enormous power of your inner mind.

And it doesn't stop there! As you access your subconscious mind, your mind becomes more sponge-like and you can learn more easily and quickly. Your creative mind also comes to the fore and so visualization skills are automatically enhanced. With hypnosis you can learn to focus more clearly and change your attitude and expectations more easily.

Hypnosis is like the box in which all of your tools are stored, and is somehow a vital part of each tool as well. To not use hypnosis is like trying to use a drill bit without the drill. If you are seeking mastery, can you afford not to acquaint yourself with this super-power which we call hypnosis?

Roseanna Leaton, specialist in hypnosis mp3s for winning and success, and author of the GolferWithin mental skills tool-kit.

P.S. Would you like to make mastery easier? Grab a free hypnosis mp3 from my website.