The Wright Way

The Wright Way

Monday, December 17, 2007

Why we all gripe at politicians

Last week I watched the news.....something quite rare for me!!

There was a report about the Police pay dispute and the tinkering nuances of the Home Secretary, backed up by the Treasury and the PM. Monetary downside to government - circa £20m.
Immediately following this there was a report on the new government package of aid for Afghanistan - £105m.
Later on in my local news there was a report on the job cuts in the Fire Service brought about by reduction in central government support for Local Government.

Bearing in mind the government is already in murky waters because of treatment of pay for soldiers overseas (some in Afghanistan I might add), you'd think they might take a look at the big picture here. Some tinkering with the pots of money mentioned could sort all their problems out at a stroke....and still leave the Afghans well catered for.

Perhaps, as a dealer in quick fixes and efficacious therapies, I wear the wrong coloured spectacles......but then I expect in the eyes of such opinionated and important politicians I deal in quack remedies.
Strange world isn't it?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Basic Goal Setting

In life coaching they talk about two main types of goal – Outcome and Process.

You have a dream (outcome) and how you achieve that dream is the process. The dream just doesn’t happen though – there has to be a plan, a strategy of how to get there. This is the nuts and bolts of how the various Goals will be achieved. In sports also there is a third type of goal – Performance – which relates to measurable aspects of your own (or team’s) performance irrespective of the outcome.

Goal setting is present in everything we do. A sports person might go into a game not worried about the result, but just happy to play well and enjoy the exercise. So – here the outcome is enjoyment and happy to play well is performance. But say their processes were lazy and unmotivated – then I wouldn’t expect them to achieve the other goals. (They also need to examine their beliefs as well if this is the case!) Alternatively, they might also go into a game where winning was all important no matter how well they might play. So here the performance goals might be very low priority – but how might you view the process goals? They are still vitally important, because no one ever sets out to WIN by not trying to play to the best of their ability.

My contention therefore is that for whatever you want to achieve as an outcome, the most important set of goals are the process goals. Good performance is a bonus – but can be relied upon if you perform the processes well. Reminds me of an amusing comment from Ted in “Ralph and Ted” from The Fast Show when asked what his take on life was. “The way I see it sir is that you’re born and then you die – and what goes on in between? Well that’s a bonus.

But what if your process goals are not oriented towards achieving the outcome goal? Well then your plan, your strategy, has not been thought through well enough. For either the outcome goal(s) or the process goals ,their outcome is not well-formed. So you can now see that the nature of the plan becomes multi-dimensional and complex. And it is at this point where it will begin to dawn on you that if the Plan is complex – then you cannot carry it around in your head. So – write the plan down – commit it to paper. Write down your goals. Put the whole thing into something tangible, and not just a collection of thoughts.

Writing everything down is absolutely vital to the success of your goal-setting exercises.

The other well known association in goal setting is the acronym – S.M.A.R.T
You need to make your goals SMART

S Specific (Not vague like “become a better person”)
M Measurable (How will you know when you have achieved your goal?)
A Achievable (Don’t make it too difficult OR too easy)
R Realistic
T Timely (Set a timescale for achieving your goal)

Break your big goals up into a series of smaller goals – bite sized chunks. The big picture might seem daunting at first, but if you progressively plan in a series of smaller realistic and achievable goals then the big picture will soon come into view. Get yourself a small notebook and use it as a journal. Put your goals, beliefs and other info at one end, and diarise ALL your activities working towards your goals at the other.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Visualization in Action!

The sports oriented among you might like to venture onto our coaching forum at
I have posted a number of sports psychology, NLP and hypnosis related topics there which you might find of interest.

One of these is called Visualization in Action and describes a short experiment I conducted with a group of eight 11-13 year olds which involved throwing at cricket wicket targets.
I will describe it here also, as it embodies the part that mental processes can play in improving a physical activity.
I set up three targets, one much smaller than the others being just a single stump. I then asked each of the group to visualize for a few minutes the targets, which were on the other side of a sports hall. Part of their visualization process was to make the targets bigger, brighter, bolder, closer. They were next given three throws at any target of their choice - starting with their backs to the targets, taking a bounce off the wall and turning and throwing across the hall.

In the first round there was 1 hit in 24 throws.

I then asked them to continue visualizing and we would proceed to the second round of throws. This time they were to throw with their eyes closed.

In the second round there were 9 hits in 24 throws, with 5 of them being on the single stump.

This "magical" outcome was a total convincer for them that visualization is a very powerful tool indeed, even and more especially after just 15 minutes or so. As I said at the time - "think of all the other ways you can use it, how beneficial it might be for you?!" Needless to say their imaginations began to run riot!

The point I made to our other coaches was this:
when you normally field a ball and throw it in this is a dynamic situation, where the eyes are actively searching for the target but only once the ball is in your hand. This information gathering process has time constraints on it as the throw has to be made as soon as possible - consequently the data the brain processes to allow the body to adjust to executing an accurate throw is not always 100% perfect. In essence its a bit of a rushed job.
However, by visualizing the position of the target(s) beforehand and enhancing the data by making the targets bigger, brighter, bolder, nearer, you are now enhancing the quality of the hurried data being gathered in real time.
Plus, if you rely solely on that almost hot-wired and 'clean' data (by throwing "blind") then you get even better results.

Needless to say, I'm not advocating all fielders throw "blind"! But if they can activate powerful mental processes to enhance their physical actions, then the accuracy of the outcomes is increased considerably.

Visualization is as powerful as your imagination allows it to be. Whether its hitting physical targets, building confidence by re-experiencing a perfect past performance, or seeing yourself delivering the perfect presentation sometime in the future - the benefits are the same. You can practice your visualization skills too, as there are many adjustments and fine tunings that can be brought into play in all the submodalities.


Monday, December 3, 2007

Profound effect

I first saw this film a few years ago, but it had a profound effect then and still does. I think some of the images stay with you forever once you have seen them....

Bilateral Co-ordination

In "my day" we never did bilateral co-ordination as part of PE at school. Maybe it was in its infancy when I was - but it and balance are such an integral part of all sports that some ground work would be useful for everyone as they grow up.

In an ideal world I'd like to see bilateral co-ordination part of an enhanced and expanded PE programme in schools from ages 5 upwards. Then maybe there'll be many more brilliant and dextrous people like Tommy Baker........marvel and enjoy!


Friday, November 30, 2007

Contemplating Life, The Universe, and everything

On Tuesday 20th November I sat in St George's Hall, Bristol listening to Angela Hewitt play Part 1 of Bach's 48. As she played I was transported to another place by the depth and quality of the compositions - and there one was able to contemplate the real meaning of it all, spellbound by music written over 280 years ago.
The more baroque music I hear, the better the experience gets, the more dimensions there are. It was an amazing evening - very wet, awful traffic, but made life changing by music and performer with special qualities.