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“Peak Performance” Bear Talk with Nick Bishop

A big thank you to those that attended our first Bear Talk called “Peak Performance” by coach Nick Bishop.  As promised attached are our slides and below are some notes to go with them.  (Content should not be reproduced without prior consent)

Peak Performance Slides

Much of creating our own Peak Performance is about self-belief. It’s as much about training our belief systems as training the body.

The synopsis that follows is to support the accompanying slides from my talk.

Slide Three & Four

Whenever we want to improve our performance, it’s important to model ourselves on the “recognised attributes” of the person(s) that we want to emulate in performance.

Study slide three: It shows the Psychological profile of an elite athlete…These are based on research into the profile of such a group of people.

Step Change shows us the gap:

  • Where am I now?
  • Where do I need to get to?
  • What is the gap?

No one is born lucky and there is a growing acceptance that a “talent gene” does not exist, instead…simple hard work. Aptitude 10% and attitude 90%.

The figure 10,000 hours is now discussed as the amount of hours of effort to reach your true potential.

For a great example of achievement by sheer hard work, effort and determination read about Steve Way https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Way.

Slide Five

The T.E.A.R Cycle…Far too often, results are expected of us, from a given set of actions, without considering our emotions and our thinking not even being in plan!

It should be that our Thinking (powerful & positive), drives our Emotions (in a good way), which determines the Actions that we take leading to best Results.

Slide Six & Seven

Our conditioning is the process that determines are behaviour and ultimately performance. It comes from past experience. We live our lives on our perceptions of reality and not what is real. Our conditioning can be determined by input (good & bad) from others, our self talk and our own beliefs. We need to change our thinking so that we climb the right side of the triangle, and not the left.

Cliff Young is a great example of having no pre conceived notions (lack of negative conditioning) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cliff_Young_(athlete)

Similarly Sir Roger Bannister https://www.nomeatathlete.com/4-minute-mile-certainty/

Slide Eight & Nine

Our thinking explained. In simple terms, there are two elements to our mind…The Conscious mind and The Subconscious mind.

The Conscious mind is the element that is in touch with the outside world. Everything that happens is stored in our Subconscious.

There are four stages:

  • The storage of information ( the Subconscious is just a filing cabinet)
  • Asking if we have seen any given situation before
  • Checking in the filing cabinet (Subconscious) on how we behave given any set of circumstances
  • Deciding the default behaviour to any situation (The taxi driver just takes you to where they are told to go).

We always behave based on our perceptions of reality…i.e. I am no good at running up hills!

Our Self talk perpetuates the situation. A spiral of self talk…The chatterbox in our mind. Usually negative, and rarely positive!

Slides Ten, Eleven & Twelve  

We have tens of billions of neurons in the brain. They connect with dendrites which are simply pathways in the brain…Positive and negative dendrites. We create our own pathways based on our thinking (perceptions) and self-talk (usually hindering). The more we change our thinking and self-image (for the better), the faster the flow becomes in our positive dendrites.

The less that we talk in a negative way about ourselves, the slower the flow becomes in our negative dendrites. Like any muscle in our body, we need to grow the positive dendrites and reduce the negative dendrites.

The great Mohammed Ali from a very young age would say 70 times daily…”I am the greatest”. His beliefs became reality. We can change our thinking and behaviour by creating new habits and beliefs.

Affirmations are simply powerful statements about an event that you are picturing in your own mind. Something that you want to achieve. So powerful are the words that you can picture the success.

Slides Thirteen, Fourteen, Fifteen & Sixteen

The word motivation is often used. We cannot be motivated without having powerful goals that we buy into with belief and determination.

Having a set of races in plan become landmarks or goals that set the plan for your training and focus. Our thoughts become focused once we have a clear plan and goals in place.

Towards motivation…Something (the goal) that you really want to achieve is the most powerful form of motivation.

Away from motivation can work, but is less powerful. It means that the thought of not doing something is more powerful of the actual plan of doing something…The example was someone struggling to motivate themselves to train for a HM…To counteract this they got sponsors. The away from motivation was not wanting to let them down!

On our journey to achieving our goals, we need to celebrate our small steps and successes on the journey.

John Naber broke his goal down into such minutia that he only had to improve his pace by 1/5th of the blink of an eye for every hour of training that he could commit to, in order to hit the Olympic qualifying standard! Said like that, it was simple! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Naber

Pictures are very important and creating a vision of our goal is very powerful…Keep playing the video.

Slide Seventeen 

To perform at our peak in anything, we need to “get in the zone”.

Triggers can be used as stimuli for small steps that you will experience as you prepare

  • Walk to the track
  • Wave to the crowd
  • Get into the blocks
  • Look at the finish line in the distance…etc.

Slide Eighteen

Nerves are good! It shows you care, but the key is how you handle them. Similarly, most of the things that we think of, will never actually happen!

Practice your breathing techniques and smile!

Slide Nineteen

If you want something badly enough just go out and do it! You have to WANT it. There are seven people on this earth, help is all around, but ultimately it’s down to YOU! When you point the finger elsewhere, three more point back at you.

Yet is a very powerful word. I have not run the Virgin London Marathon YET.

Slide Twenty



Have useful failure. Think of Edison inventing the light bulb. Not two thousand failures, but two thousand learning opportunities.

  • Reflect on what has happened
  • Analyse the situation
  • Implement the findings
  • Learn and move on

Slide Twenty One

Working together makes the likelihood of achieving being far greater.

When England won the Rugby World Cup in 2003, Sir Clive Woodward left no stone unturned, he planned for every single eventuality. Your success will not be down to anyone thing (hard work and belief apart), but small marginal gains.

Every individual in the squad had a purpose and this included creating their own team charter. Something that they all bought into.

Tuckman’s model explains how teams develop and grow. This same model will apply to all of the teams that we are part of. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuckman%27s_stages_of_group_development

Slide Twenty Two & Twenty Three.

Virtually everything can be done…It just takes a shift in mind set, and training the mind, and not just the body. When will YOU start!

Wilma Rudolph is a fabulous example of someone who could so easily have given up had she listened to others. She chose not to, and proved what can be achieved.



Recommended Reading

Will Harrison, one of our “Faster 5K Group Runners”, makes the following recommendations:

Black Box Thinking: Marginal gains and the Secrets of High Performance: The surprising truth about success

The Greatest: What sport teaches us about achieving success

In terms of Self talk, check the below:

Self Talk: How to Train Your Brain to Turn Negative Thinking into Positive Thinking & Practice Self Love

And in terms of pure Sport Motivation:

The Complete Guide to Sport Motivation

In Conclusion

Whatever you do, do it well and do it with passion!

Any questions, please contact me using my number 07919 565904.



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