CARVER Coaching & Performance Newsletter

Hi, Paul here,

I hope this finds you well and thanks for joining again. This week’s topic is:

The Faults in Our Thoughts

In sport and sports preparation we strive to leave no stone unturned in our physical, technical and tactical preparation. Through rigorous preparation we develop confidence in ourselves and our teammates which fosters a sense of belief in who we are and what we are about to do. While our body may be physically ready for the challenges of competition, we could argue that it’s our mind that has control over whether we perform or not. We are often never more than one thought away from complete demise or heroism. In reality, the inability to correct and control a negative thought can lead to a downward spiral throwing all our preparation out the window, leaving us helpless. The faults in our thoughts can disable even the most prepared people leading to anxiety, self-doubt and fear of failure. They create an inner battle that can impede peak performance and hinder us from performing how we know we can. These faults in our thoughts are normal; and not only that, they constantly happen in our daily lives.

Have you ever broken a mug and thought ‘you idiot, you can’t do anything right’, or simply thought ‘where’s the dustpan?’ What is the difference here? If only we could be so solution, or next job, focused in sport, we would never let those negative events make us spiral onto such counterproductive thoughts, to the demise of our performance.

We must learn to shine light on these faulty thought patterns in order to fix them. We must identify the unhelpful perfectionist attitudes which make anything outside of the norm bad, and fix them quickly and effectively so we can carry on with our game. To fix the faults in our thoughts we must identify them, source the cause and reframe these faulty thought patterns. There is a myriad of ways to do this. The former Irish, and current New Zealand, rugby coach Joe Schmidt relentlessly used a very simple mantra with his players. It was, ‘Win the moment in front of your face’.

Simple… but not easy.

What can you do to reframe your counterproductive thoughts?

CARVER Insight

When I published my first book Coaching Children in Sport- The CARVER Framework I wrote on the back cover that it was a book to ‘build a coaching world’. The first true keynote presentation I delivered was titled: ‘Building a Coaching World- Creating a Learning Environment’; I still deliver this presentation on an almost weekly basis.

Back then I intuitively understood that the true start for any coach was building what could be termed ‘a philosophy of practice.’ A philosophy of practice refers to a set of guiding principles, beliefs, and values that inform how a particular activity or profession should be approached and conducted. It outlines the underlying ideas and ideals that shape the way individuals should engage in their practice. It helps establish a framework for decision-making, problem-solving, and goal- setting. It enables one to work in a manner that is an aligned to their own conclusions.

Fast forward to today, and the core of our work is still philosophy of practice however the application for this has moved far beyond coaching in sport. In the last month we have worked with teachers, students, athletes, engineers, elite level management teams and sport coaches. The work centres around defining, refining and redefining their philosophy of practice. The rational for this is that, when you know who you want to be, it is relatively simple to know what to do or where to go to seek information and guidance.

Over the past few months we have produced journals for sports coaches, athletes, teachers, professional practitioners and performers. They all seek to help the individual figure out how they want to approach and conduct their practice and provide a systematic approach for them to follow in order to deliver on this, and learn as they go. Simple stuff… but far from easy. Then again… most of our success in sport and life, is determined by our relationship with ‘hard.’

Do hard things,


Copyright Paul Kilgannon 2021
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