It might come as a surprise but one thing I've noticed in the majority of individual and team sport athletes I've worked over the years is that the main limiting factor that either prevents them from dominating the competition or enables them to dominate the competition in their chosen sport is not necessarily their physical attributes such as how fast they run, how strong they are, how high they jump, or even their skill levels. It's what goes on upstairs. Nothing is worse then seeing a guy or gal bust their butt for an entire offseason and make dramatic improvements across the board in strength, explosiveness, skill, and every other "measurable" physical quality, yet still ride the bench or play under their potential because they can't get it together and get the most out of their talent. Watch any sport and this becomes readily apparent. Some people just have it.
Therefore, I'm always searching for ways that enable an athlete to put it together mentally and get more out of their existing level of talent. What I'd like share with you to day is an interview with someone who specializes in this very thing. Her name is Sindee Gillespie.
KB: Hello Sindee. Can you tell readers what it is that you do?
SL: The simple answer is that I'm a "belief buster"...I work with people to help them identify and then overcome whatever is preventing them from achieving the level of success they want in life...especially in the area of sports and usually it ends up being some archaic belief they've picked up along the way and are still carrying, on an unconscious, level as "true".
KB: How did you get started in this?
SL:I have always had a fascination with achievement and then even more so with the mind-body connection after a near-fatal car accident where I sustained a brain injury. I had so many pieces of the puzzle and yet was unable to put them altogether until a few years ago. Once I did, I was so passionate about what I "believed" could help so many people I started to share it with every one I knew. A friend of mine that is a Golf Professional introduced me to the mental side of his sport (at his level) and no where are there more "walking wounded" than in the world of golf...they carry a badge that says "I am my golf score". From there the progression to a more formal way to teach the material developed.
KB: What is the most common thing you see that typically holds people back from fully using all their ability?
SL: Sadly, it is nothing more than a person operating under a belief system that has some erroneous programming in it.
KB: What is the underlying mechanism for how belief systems and all this stuff comes together to impact our performance?
The articles posted on my website explain at a fundamental level how beliefs are created and stored in our subconscious mind so I will only give the 'Cliff Notes' version here to provide the background required to answer you - the more intensely you feel an emotion at the time of an event the deeper it is stored in your subconscious mind. That is why it is SO easy to remember a scary movie or something really tragic that happened...almost everyone can tell you what they were doing when they found out about the planes flying in to the Twin Towers on 9/11 and even on the day the Space Challenger blew up in 1986. So we have these deeply, deeply held, most often painful memories, from our programming at an early age that basically serve up "fear" every time we attempt to do something out of our comfort zone or beyond what the subconscious mind "knows" is the norm for us (because that is one of its functions).
What I do is disconnect the emotion from and event or situation - either in the past or what we can imagine for the future - and it clears the way for us to establish new levels of performance, a new level of "normal" for us, as it were. For this I use a lot of something called EFT. When teaching in person I also use some educational kinesiology movements and some NLP (neuro linguistic programming).
KB: What is EFT?
SL: EFT is the acronym for "emotional freedom technique" which is a form of energy psychology. It is similar to acupuncture except you use your fingers to 'tap' your meridians instead of needles and there is an emotional component to it. Basically it realigns the bodies energy system, bringing balance to it. Sounds "out there", looks "odd" and yet it is extremely effective in eliminating negative emotion and thoughts thereby allowing an increase in performance.
KB: Is there any science behind this?
Although there is much research on acupuncture, acupressure, and therapeutic touch, we are only now seeing any credible research on the results obtained with EFT. The medical & scientific world as a whole, especially in the western hemisphere, are slow to embrace anything that runs counter to their belief system even though something like acupuncture has been around for more than 5000 years. I have a research report by David Feinstein, PH. D. posted on my site that references some studies including one by the Journal of Clinical Psychology. The most fascinating page in the whole report, to me, is where it shows the changes in EEG brain scans for a person being "treated" with EFT for anxiety. I certainly am no scientist and yet I have seen the results first hand of change in people and these brain scans certainly confirm its effectiveness.
KB: Can you give us some examples of cases you've seen and athletes and people you've helped?
SL: I personally have had client's have breakthroughs with everything from fear of spiders (and fear is such an understatement because I almost had to strap this particular client in her chair to even talk about spiders) to a mom that was unable to watch her son compete in wrestling because it upset her so much. I've worked mostly with golfers in the past and am just starting to offer my services to other sports so I have a ton of golf stories to tell!
One significant one that comes to mind that will help your readers understand how this works if a Golf Professional that I worked with who kept blowing his lead in every tournament he played in. He had so much "potential" according to his mentor and yet he would give up strokes as he headed in to the back nine every time he competed. After some general probing and 'tapping' on some various issues we started to get to what REALLY was going on and it turns out that in high school (and this man is 40-something) he was SO good that his teammates ostracized him from "the group" because his talent made them feel so inferior. AT the time of course, he was unable to connect these "dots" so to speak (why they treated him so badly) so he buried his hurt and 25 years later it shows up in "fear of success"...I mean, when I would ask him to visualize putting on his green jacket he felt very uncomfortable doing that, reasoning that people weren't going to like that. Anyway, to make a long story short, we got him over that and he plans to compete in the U.S. Open and his mentor is pleased enough with his performance to sponsor him.
KB: How do you typically work with people?
I have had so much success with client's over the phone that I am dedicating most of my efforts to that now. It allows me to help so many more people and is equally effective as it is in person. It is also more cost effective as people don't have to fly to Dallas to see me. As much as eliminating fears is important I also work with athletes aiming for a particular goal and can enhance the "positive attitude" they need to achieve that as well.
KB: Thanks Sindee. How can people find out more about what you offer?
SL: The best way is through my website http://www.ThinkWinningThoughts.com