Saturday, October 14, 2017

#31for21 #mentalhealthweek : Rudi Webster's WINNING WAYS IN SEARCH OF YOUR BEST PERFORMANCE [1984]

Grief and ambition can do funny things.

In the 1980s we were so much more positivist than I believe tends to be the case today.

This is nowhere more evident when reading Rudi Webster's Winning ways: in search of your best performance which sportspeople read when they were old and young.

Webster reminds me of two of my favourite characters in Gordon Korman's I want to go home - Rudy Miller, who doesn't want to play any sport at his camp - and Mike Webster who is his foil and boon companion.

The reason I read that book in February 1995 was that I was home from my camp and Maman had had an accident because of my cat on the verandah. I picked it up at the auxiliary that day at the hospital. I also made a bond with Mrs Warry.

And I was introduced to the humour of Korman. He was a literary prodigy who was recognised, nurtured and encouraged in his native Canada.

A lot of sports science comes from Canada especially when Montreal and its Olympiad became the focus. A lot of nations wanted to learn from failure and foster success.

And it was recognised that the old sporting ways did not work.

Fast forward to 2017. Yours truly is tossing a ball and working on an overhead serve.

In the 1990s I had a lot of autoimmune stuff going on which made the conventional way quite dangerous and anxiety-provoking at the very least.

Webster points out that logic and analytical thinking was too much in the minds of the 1980s athlete and coach. So much so that it would inhibit performance.

Another thing which attracted me to Webster were the computer game characters standing on their blocks ready to go on the cover.

Obviously, the interviews with people like Ian and Greg Chappell [you get to learn some underarm secrets and what was happening to put them under pressure in 1981 - 82] were the drawcard as well. Raylene Boyle was interviewed; so was Greg Norman who was starting to be part of the United States Professional Golf Association tour.

Who would have thought that in 2 years Norman would have won the British Open?

Garfield Sobers was great to learn from.

There are Webster's ideas and instructions and then the interviews with fields like Motivation; Pressure; Concentration [this is an important chapter for me]; Self-Confidence [this came up with the view of a 23-year-old who has social anxiety as a big factor due to severe bullying in his school life] and Self-Talk.

I have a feeling that the team in Jane Harper's Force of nature had to work on all this to be who they could be and the best they could be in a family business situation.

Webster was involved in the 1980 Grand Final win of the Richmond Football Club. He was probably one of the few examples of leadership that Richmond players trusted. He was also deeply involved with the Melbourne Football Club.

Geoff Hunt - squash player - is another interesting athlete. His sport is squash, and he had a lot to say about motivation.

Penfield had a really good sketch of the cerebral cortex and everything which happens in it or that depends upon it. That book by that neurologist was made in 1975.

1. Improve skills.

2. Improve fitness

3. Select and execute.

4. Cope with demands

5. Control disruptions and distractions which destroy and limit performance standards

[Rudi Webster on Motivation].

Thinking patterns and self-talk were important.

Some experienced sportspeople in my life did not seem to understand about the importance and role of self-talk until I had mentioned it - before I had read the Webster book.

I am intimately familiar with self-talk.

  • Commands and Demands
  • Awfulizing and Catastrophising
  • Irrational Statements
  • Wanting to please [this of course is extrinsic motivation]
  • Self-damning and self-destructive
Webster used Rational and Emotive Therapy from Ellis - I did too in 2004-05. And, yes, this does help with the thinking part of anxiety and depression.

Webster was originally a Barbados boy and came to Australia somewhere in the 1970s. He studied to be a diagnostic radiologist.

There was a really good weblink about self-acceptance and social anxiety. [about acceptance and commitment therapy: Evelyn Lewin] [Happy Maturity with Wendy Squires] [support the accessible playground from Touched by Olivia and maybe buy a million scones - this is how kids should raise money]

No comments: