Reframing the ‘critical’ voice

November 8, 2009 Post Comment Uncategorised

Some 9-10 days ago I did a 2 hour session with a couple of young cricketers. These were guys I had coached many times before.
Technically I know their levels of expertise relative to their elite-aspirant status – and there is nothing technically to hold them back from achieving county selection prior to next summer. Emotionally and psychologically are where their issues lie, and so these were the areas of investigation I wanted to open up for them.

I laid out some basic issues surrounding reality and perception and challenged some of their currently held views. My gateway to this is usually the question “how many ways are there to get out of this sports hall?” Most people usually count the doors, windows and other sources of egress…and they were no exception! Having established for them there were thousands of ways, we then looked at how reality is pared down by our senses and filters, through a process of deletion, distortion and generalisation, into what we what we then compare with our maps of knowledge and experience and then finally perceive as reality.

Along the way, they each identified how their state and how they react to events and (more especially) their own technical actions, all contribute to the next and subsequent actions in some way. Ergo a positive reaction and frame of mind will lead to a better function of process and thus a better outcome.

They were both, primarily, victims of the effects of their own self-critic – which was manifest in a damning and earnest inner voice. Having discovered this helpful ‘individual’ they were able to reframe the voice to a degree where the earnestness became comical.

We installed a number of other processes to help maintain a grounded state, and they both discovered that mastery of themselves was now a significant step nearer. However, this was an unconscious discovery, since most of my delivered communicative intention was aimed at the unconscious.

Having seen one of the lads yesterday for another session I was able to observe some interesting feedback. It turned out that he had gone to a county training session in such a positive and assertive frame of mind that he had almost surprised everyone but himself in the way he was now performing. His other sporting activities also had taken on a new positive mental framework. His father was amazed and delighted at his new approach, whereas the player himself was quite matter of fact about it all.
What I know, though didn’t reveal to father or son, was that having liberated him from the constant self appraisal and the vocal effects of damning and earnest self-criticism, that he is now able to fully express himself with total confidence. And this IS liberation for him, because he can now move on to the next part of his road to mastery, his game has gone up a level, and now the work on a new set of technical and psychological issues starts in earnest.