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David Hughes, Business Lawyer for Business Owners

"I went to Amanda for help with my batting, which was stuck in a rut. Amanda has really helped me in becoming aware of unhelpful thought processes while batting and working on a positive ‘mental routine’. She is enthusiastic and approachable, and her tips and methods have been very effective. I would definitely recommend Amanda."


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Amanda Owens Radio Interview after Andy Murrays US Open Win

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Amanda Owens interview with Duncan Goodhew on Britain becoming a nation of winners

 

Sports News

Believe Consulting Blog

  • Emotions in Sport

    Monday, 08 July 2013 12:33

    Emotions in sport: The heat is on & can you feel it?

    Emotions are an integral part of sport, the theatre, the roller coaster of emotions that an athlete experiences are intense.  With Wimbledon now past and Andy Murray the new reigning Wimbledon Champion and first British Male winner since 1936; the emotions that the players are experiencing can be intense, real, and effervescent. The player that regulates and controls their emotions will ultimately culminate in being the winner in a mental gladiatorial sport, which requires mental as well as emotional mastery.

    However, what is emotion?

    “An emotion is a reaction to a stimulus event (either actual or imagined). It involves changes in the viserca and musculature of the person, is experienced subjectively in characteristic ways, is expressed through such means as facial changes and action tendencies and may mediate and energise subsequent behaviour.” (Deci, 1980; p85)

    Professional and Olympic athletes need to recognise how emotions can assist them in the critical moments in sport. Understanding emotions and elucidating how one reacts under pressure and in perceived stressful situations in a match is an integral and necessary part of self-awareness. Are the emotions helpful? Or unhelpful? Do they assist or dis-able the athlete and assist in a positive way or affect the athlete in a negative way? How ultimately does it affect their performance?

    According to Jean Paul Sartre, “Emotions like all mental acts are directed towards an object. It is impossible to discuss an emotion without mentioning both the object and the subject who regards this object as e.g., hateful. The emotion is a specific manner of apprehending the world.”(p.xiii).

    When the heat is on… how do you make emotions work for you?

    Emotions are key to performance and how do you learn to regulate the emotions so the emotions and resultant behaviours are conducive for winning and playing at your best?

    “Emotions dictate an athlete’s behaviour; we need to recognise which emotions are helpful and which emotions are unhelpful for performance.  Moreover, understanding and being aware of your emotional responses, especially under pressure, is key to success.”  (Amanda Jane Napier Owens, 2013).

    As human beings we can be irrational and not pragmatic when emotions dictate our decisions and in sport this can be a critical factor of whether  an athlete is able to deal with the extreme emotions of the situation and critical moments in a match or ‘lose it’ due to being overwhelmed and  wanting it too much. Thus, lose the point or set and indeed the match and make the wrong/incorrect decisions due loss of emotional control and potentially being overly nervous or irrational.

    The emotional rollercoaster of a tennis match and meaning attached to the experience of performing under pressure. Being able to control emotions, evoked by the occasion, monitoring and knowing which emotions work for you; not being afraid of showing your emotions and applying self-regulation can help and be the difference between winning and losing.

    Being able to react to success and failure and not exhibit extreme emotions is a reflection of an emotionally intelligent athlete. One that can regulate emotions so that when the heat is on, the athlete can feel it, use it and perform and not burn up and capitulate in the heat of battle.

    Copyright A.J.N.Owens Believe Change Management Consultancy Limited June 28th 2013

  • ‘The importance of the TEAM: How a TEAM works… achieving success and winning medals….’

    Thursday, 13 September 2012 17:36

    By Amanda J.N. Owens BASES, AASP-CC Certified & Registered Sport Psychologist  & BOA Advisory Committee Panel Member.

    We have just witnessed and experienced the most successful ever Team GB London Olympic Games. 29 gold medals and 59 medals in total.

    How has this been the most successful games? The likes of Jessica Ennis, Sir Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, Victoria Pendleton, Laura Trott, Mo Farah, Andy Murray stepped up to the pressure of performing at a home games and Team GB surpassed the UK sport medal target, The athletes were driven by the home crowds, home advantage and the noise levels of support which in turn created added motivation and inspired our Team GB athletes to achieve Personal Bests and increase our medal haul.

    The huge question is how the GB athletes achieved personal bests and achieved our biggest medal haul ever? Team SKY and indeed Team GB created an integrated supported team environment within and across the different sports with the best and most appropriate staff to fit the culture specialists within Sport Science, Sport Medicine, Sport Psychologists, Performance Analysts, Strength & Conditioning, Nutritionists, Bio Mechanists. Not to mention the likes of Dave Brailsford Cycling’s Performance Director and Peter Keen Performance Director at UK sport bringing together and identifying the key ingredients to forge successful teams with performance pathways and systems in place that encourage survival of the fittest and being the best mentality.

    Creating personal bests in the athletes, aligning this in the management and Board themselves. By creating a competitive environment whereby failure and not making the cut, means loss of funding and losing one’s place in the team- encourages the team to be the best that they can be.

    Many years ago Sporting Bodymind recognised the importance of the TEAM. I was part of the Sporting Bodymind Group assessment, team development and Executive Performance Coaching with John Syer & Christopher Connolly for UK sport and Sport England who were one of many clients benefiting from understanding how a team works and what and how a team functions at its best. Indeed, how to form a successful team?

    The athletes and Team GB have made this the most successful ever games. However, the team Sky, UK Sport, Sport England, BOA and all the Olympic partners. One of which ATOS I and my company Believe Consultancy Limited have been a part of their Personal bests campaign. Atos have successfully and seamlessly delivered the best London games; delivering the security and infrastructure behind the scenes Atos Business Technologists delivered their ‘Personal bests’ under immense pressure so that the athletes, management and games organisers can focus on their performance and doing what they do best. Performing under pressure and winning medals.

    The importance of the Team and enabling the team to function to it’s potential highlights the need to place the correct personnel, understanding individuals within the team so that they get their individual team needs met within the team culture. Most importantly enabling the team to realise and fulfil its potential and creating a competitive environment and correct/appropriate support/backing each other.

    Understanding the ‘self’ and others in the team and what a personal best means to them, indeed what success means to them. Team Sky have created the best high performance environment with no stone left unturned via thorough preparation, vision, responsibility, accountability, commitment, determination & resilience as indeed have Atos delivering the biggest Information technology project of all time. The Olympic experience and partners of London 2012 are creating and achieving personal bests. 

     

    What is your Personal Best (PB)?

    Copyright A.J.N.Owens Believe Change Management Consultancy Limited 2012 19/08/2012

     

     

     

  • How Pressure Affects Performance

    Tuesday, 10 April 2012 14:49

    Pressure: Can you handle it? What is pressure and how pressure affects performance! by, Amanda J. N. Owens FRSM, MSc, AASP Certified & Registered Sport Psychologist, BASES Accredited, BOA Advisory Committee Panel Member. Leadership & Change Management specialist.

    Sports professionals day in day out perform under huge amounts of pressure. Some athletes excel and some athletes capitulate and choke under pressure. So how do some athletes learn to cope and perform at their best consistently, whilst others under-perform? In some instances the whole team can collectively choke and under-perform. In the world today, we live in a pressurised environment that includes, longer days, deadlines, and omnipresent technology. Today’s workplace and life is fast paced, immediate responses are now modern day Business etiquette requirements; Ipads, Blackberry’s and emails on the go are the norm. We live and function in a constant vacuum of pressure. For some individuals this is where they thrive; here they perform better, run on high cortisol levels and are in a constant threat mode. For others the pressure can be debilitating, constricting and can lead to mood and anxiety disorders, high levels of anxiety, as well as depression and illness from work impacting family, relationships and one’s mental health. On a daily basis we hear and are confronted frequently this term in sport and indeed in everyday life. While organisational psychology and business psychology appear to have realised the importance of understanding the concept of pressure. It seems sport psychology is far behind with the research. Yet success and failure are the resultants from how an individual and/or team perform under pressure. Much has been written about arousal, stress and anxiety in sport psychology and business psychology. The research looks at the consequent impact relationships on performance, however, very little is known about the concept of pressure. It is a separate construct: What is pressure? It appears that pressure is a combination of anxiety, arousal and understanding the stress response process; however, pressure is more linked to perception of the situation and learnt emotional responses. If the individual has memory and learnt experiences that he or she can draw on and emotionally utilise to ensure they can deal with pressure. This includes the emotional responses and ability to control nerves, positive responses and learnt behaviour. Everyone responds to pressure differently and it is important to note that everyone is unique and would be helpful to ask: Understanding how the complexities of motor control and Schmidt’s model can influence and impact pressure in a positive way in the way we learn and especially under pressurized conditions. In addition, how Understanding one’s cycle of experience (Gestalt psychology) and emotional or physiological responses as well as perception impact behaviour and in some athletes enable them to perform well under pressure while others under-perform and ‘choke.’

    With the London 2012 Olympic & Para Olympic games under way in less than 150 days. How many of the athletes will perform under pressure? The media circus that surrounds the Olympic Games could have a negative impact on certain athletes. Recently we have witnessed a British diver being possibly distracted by the media and a public spate between the Diver and the performance Director due to media commitments. With the wealth of sport science support available to athletes and the subsequent training facilities this should be manageable. It seems the external perceived stressors such as media commitments and perceptions of ‘expectation’ not too mention emotional responses trigger a plethora of nerves, perception distortions and panic all have a role to play in the pressure felt by the athletes.

    Within sport psychology worryingly there is very little written on the topic and concept of pressure within sport. Within Organizational and Business psychology the term pressure is more understood. An article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) discussed the pressures of banking and how these are confronted by the traders and on the floor. In the finance and banking sectors performing under pressure is a pre-requisite for success, attaining targets, maintaining performance and keeping their job. Therefore, how can athletes and teams as well as management and support staff deal more effectively with pressure?

    What athletes should be asking themselves when under pressure? Acknowledging the pressure and acceptance of pressure. Utilising and applying the 5 steps of Change Process (5 steps of change). Building a memory bank both within the brain function and muscle memory of how to perform under pressure will improve overall performance. Get practicing, thinking and feeling the experiences of performing at your best and winning. Whereby, you have performed well under pressure. Utilise and apply as part of your daily routine and utilise as your preparation. Apply and use as a model, be aware of how to perform better under pressure rather than allowing the pressure to get to you! What does pressure mean to me? How does pressure affect me? What positive experiences do I have of pressure? How is pressure different from stress or anxiety to me? How behaviourally can an athlete or team learn? What muscle memory: what memory and experiences can an athlete or team draw on to perform better and consistently under pressure? How many athletes have learnt to perform under pressure? How many athletes have been prepared for the unique pressure of the London 2012 games? Having home games can add additional pressure. What type of pressure do the athletes face? Are they aware of these? Building models of effectiveness under pressure collective and individual Increasing intensity in training to cover pressure scenarios to ensure as realistic as possible Using biofeedback and psycho-physiological methods to assess pressure Understanding individual and team perceptions of pressure. What is exactly? Does it change? Alter depending upon situation, leader/captain & Manager? How have you dealt with pressure situations before? Individually and collectively in a team environment? Behaviours to apply under pressure. Understanding default behaviours, emotional attachments, experiences (positive and the emotional response) negative and the emotional response.

    What I notice?

    What do I more of, less of?

    How am I with others?

    What do I imagine when under pressure?

    What is my mood state under pressure?

    How do I communicate under pressure?

    What do I hear myself and others say under pressure?

    How do I react in a pressurized situation?

    What do I repeatedly do under pressure (patterns)?

    How do I feel?

    Building models of effectiveness under pressure collective and individual Increasing intensity in training to cover pressure scenarios to ensure as realistic as possible Using biofeedback and psycho-physiological methods to assess pressure Understanding individual and team perceptions of pressure.

    What is exactly?

    Does it change?

    Alter depending upon situation, leader/captain & Manager?

    How have you dealt with pressure situations before?

    Individually and collectively in a team environment?

    Behaviours to apply under pressure.

    Understanding default behaviours, emotional attachments, experiences (positive and the emotional response) negative and the emotional response.

    What I notice?

    What do I more of, less of?

    How am I with others?

    What do I imagine when under pressure?

    What is my mood state under pressure?

    How do I communicate under pressure?

    What do I hear myself and others say under pressure?

    Handle the pressure – not for pressure to impact and have a handle on you!

     

    Copyright A.J.N.Owens Believe Change Management Consultancy Limited 29/03/12

  • Sport Psychologists in London: Resilience in Sport and the Workplace

    Wednesday, 29 June 2011 14:47

    Sport Psychologists in London

    Resilience in Sport and the Workplace

    “That which does not kill us makes us stronger. - Friedrich Nietzsche

    Let’s start with a fact: Human beings, technology, Mother Nature are not perfect. Consequently, in sport and the workplace, as in life, you can bet that things will go wrong at some point. We will have bad days (along with the good!), matches that go terribly wrong, weeks when the weekend can’t come soon enough, and general slumps in performance. Sometimes, even when we do our very best, there is no guarantee that will be enough. So, what do we do when things go wrong? How do some people seem to rise above and come out the other side better for it? The answer is…RESILIENCE.

  • Press Release: Believe Consulting Ltd Website Re-Launch

    Friday, 17 June 2011 13:25

    Amanda Owens, Founder and Director of Believe Consulting Ltd is proud to announce the re-launch of Believe Consulting Ltd’s website. The new site can be found at http://believeconsulting.co.uk
  • Overtraining and the Importance of Sleep to Athlete Performance and Wellbeing

    Thursday, 09 June 2011 22:21

    The sporting world has become a hyper competitive environment with athletes pushing themselves further and further to achieve national and international status, secure professional contracts, break records, and achieve personal best performances. In the lead up to London 2012, athletes are bidding for those elusive spots to represent their country and sport on the foremost world stage. The consequence of this high performance atmosphere is the prospect of athletes developing Overtraining Syndrome also known as Unexplained Underperformance Syndrome (UUPS). The psychological and physiological consequences of which can be extremely detrimental to not only an athlete’s performance but more importantly their wellbeing and health.

  • Don’t stumble at the Start Gate: 10 Tips for Recruiters and Candidates to Achieve a Podium Job.

    Wednesday, 13 April 2011 11:32

    Preparation:

    Tuning into Me the Recruiter

    Tuning into Me the Candidate

    Tuning into the Mood

    Choosing the right Environment:

    Is it noisy? Is it comfortable? Is it the right atmosphere?

    How can you have a confidential conversation?

    How can you build trust?

    Tuning into my aim

  • ‘Time Outs’ & ‘Pit Stops’:Pushing the pause button to improve work performance

    Wednesday, 13 April 2011 11:28

    ‘ Time outs and pit stops’

    How many of us, stop, reflect and take ‘think weeks’ to be more creative and allow us, ‘ourselves’, to slow down in order to speed up?  By Pushing the ‘pause’ button individuals and teams can  improve work and personal performance- significantly.

    Bill Gates is as an example who applies and requests a ‘think week’ taking himself to a retreat once every spring and every fall, taking with him ideas submitted by microsoft employee’s and mulling over the ideas in a relaxed and conducive environment.

  • Social Intelligence and The Biology of Leadership: What makes a successful Leader?

    Wednesday, 13 April 2011 11:05

    An article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) highlights the importance of  Social Intelligence and the Biology of Leadership . So what makes a good and successful Leader?

    ‘New studies of the brain show that leaders can improve group performance by understanding the biology of empathy’.

    http://hbr.harvardbusiness.org/2008/09/social-intelligence-and-the-biology-of-leadership/ar/1

    This article portrays the importance of self-awareness of how your own mood affects others as well as yourself and your own effectiveness; How you can inspire others to be more effective at work and indeed in their life by acquiring better social intelligence and understanding empathy.

  • Where’s your head at?

    Wednesday, 13 April 2011 10:57

    Where’s your head at? Amanda Owens a Leading Sport Psychologist provides 10 Mental Skills/psychological tips to improve your skiing and race performance.

    Where’s your head at?

     

    Tip 1- Gate 1- Preparation:

    ‘How’ and ‘what do I need to do mentally and physically to perform at my best for this race, run 1 and run 2.

    • Have I inspected the course? How many times?
    • Have I thought about my best past and current skiing performances and experiences?
    • What do I need to focus on before the race? During the race?
  • Sport Psychology and Successful Leadership in Action

    Wednesday, 13 April 2011 10:34

    Andy Flower An Integrative leader

    Integrative thinkers don’t mind a messy problem. In fact, they welcome complexity, because that’s where the best answers come from.”
    (Roger Martin, 2007; Cited Harvard Business Review Winter 2008).

    We are in interesting, challenging and exciting times and no more so than in sport. It is refreshing to notice and convey the leadership skills of both Andy Flower (England Cricket Team Director) and Alan Shearer (Manager of Newcastle United Manager) both taking over in messy and uncertain circumstances and prevailing as well as creating a change in belief, culture and attitude amongst players and the team.

  • The Thinking Skiers PRET Sandwich

    Wednesday, 13 April 2011 10:33

    Pret Sandwich The Thinking Skiers PRET Sandwich: How to think and focus appropriately before, during & in between your first and second run.

    During races as a skier you have so much to time to think, in fact TOO MUCH TIME TO THINK, which can be unhelpful for you to race at your best. You can be distracted by: spectators, partners, sponsors, media, race competitors, FIS points and a poor first run… Working with Rob Bullen at The British Land Skiing Championships in Meribel, we worked on the race and run sandwich.

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