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 Maintain a Performance Monitor 
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Post Maintain a Performance Monitor
Maintain a Performance Monitor
by: Lloyd Irvin

A performance monitor is a kind of diary or record to regularly track your training program and your skill improvement. You can either use a paper-based diary or record on audiocassettes. This performance monitor must be used after every training session to record different aspects of the session,

• What did you learn? – Styles, techniques, moves, submission, defense strategies, and so on

• Your mental framework during the session - Rate yourself-poor, average, good, excellent-on each of the following factors.

 Your ability to handle distractions
 Your calmness: Were you relaxed or not?
 Your confidence
 Your alertness
 Your attentiveness

• What mistakes or slip ups did you make?

• What do you want to learn in your next session? Make a list of learning objectives and a list of mistakes that you want to avoid

As your training progresses, the aim should be to minimize your slip-ups and advance your rating on mental skills issues to either good or excellent.

The performance monitor is a simple daily assessment method that has the dual advantage of taking into account your training on grappling or combat athletics techniques as well as mental skills preparation. You will be assessing yourself, and must be as objective and as tough on yourself as you possibly can to benefit from the exercise.

Advantages of maintaining a performance monitor:

 You always have on record a benchmark of your previous session on which to build and improve in a new training session.

 You start out with a set of objectives for each new session, which makes the training sessions a lot more useful.

 Mistakes don't get swept under the rug. You address them in your next session.

 You can monitor your progress over a period especially when you rate yourself on mental skills.

Consistently Follow the Principles in Mental Skills Training

Commitment to apply mental preparation techniques requires you to follow up on mental skills principles on a regular basis.

Spend time each day to follow up on development of mental skills

1) Recall previously learned/practiced mental skills

2) Rehearse key skills –Visualization, affirmations, breathing exercises, etc.

3) Review your progress after each session

4) Make a note of issues that need further practice or input from your trainer

The effectiveness of your mental skills training depends on:

• Your ability to learn and apply the techniques

• Consistency in using the skills - following a daily pattern in mental preparation, using mental preparation just before you enters a game, and applying the techniques during the match.

• Your ability to retrieve learning at crucial points in the game

Sample of a Daily Mental Skills Training Program

Duration: 30-40 minutes

A. Start with a relaxation exercise

B. Visualize a few techniques and styles using mental imagery

C. Practice a concentration-building exercise

D. Recall your long-term goals/ambitions/motivators

E. Give yourself a few minutes of confidence-building self-talk, based on past wins, expertise in techniques, etc.

F. Write down the techniques and styles you want to visualize the next day

G. Write down other mental skills that you want to address in tomorrow's session

Understanding memory:

The functioning of the brain defies and challenges most scientists around the world, but we do know quite a bit about the memory function. Memory plays a role in all aspects of life and is especially important in sports. The effective storing of information and images in memory is a function of the attention paid during the learning process.

Dr. Susumu Tonegawa, who won the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1987 (and is the founding director of MIT's center for learning and memory), has been conducting extensive scientific studies into the process of memory storage and retrieval. In his study on retrieval mechanisms, he finds that "cues" are crucial in triggering a person's recall. For instance, the word "park" can trigger recall of jogging in the park and all the sights and sounds associated with it, including people you may have come across en route.

Let's take a few minutes to understand how information processing and memory retrieval works (see Figure 13).

When the brain receives information, the information first enters sensory memory. The information then moves on to short-term memory and finally into long-term memory from where the memory has to be retrieved when a person needs it.

Sensory memory: Sensory memory does an initial analysis of the information on sensory factors like loudness, color, contour, feel, etc. The information is received through the senses. The information is passed from sensory memory into short-term memory.

Short-term memory: In short-term memory the information goes through primary processing and is converted to comprehensible meaning. Short-term memory has limited space capacity, and the information is held briefly here. If the person does not rehearse the information, it fades away and is forgotten. Rehearsal is a form of inner speech that we all do when something is important or relevant to us. This rehearsal leads to active processing of the information, and it is then moved into long-term memory.

Long term memory: Long-term memory stores of information over a long period of time. Learned information has to be retrieved from long-term memory.

The key thing to keep in mind for sports professionals is that emotional factors have an effect on long-term memory. Information is not lost from long-term memory, but retrieving it can become increasing difficult for an emotionally over-wrought person. Stress, tension, fears, and anxieties may reduce your capacity to recall the things that you learned during practice. The ability to accurately recall your moves or even details of your game plan gets reduced.

Information retrieval is of two types:

• Recall

• Recognition

In the case of recall, the information is reproduced from memory. Recall can be hastened by providing certain cues that act to pick up the information from memory. This is the memory retrieval mechanism that helps a grappler or combat athlete recall moves and techniques simulated through visualization.

In the case of recognition, the information is retrieved along with the additional knowledge that the information has been seen before. This aspect of recognition is fairly significant for a grappler. If you anticipated certain moves that your opponent is likely to make during practice and your memory recognizes this move when in a bout, then the information on how to deal with it or how to defend yourself can be more easily retrieved. It is precisely for this reason that regular practice through training and visualization are all vital aspects of preparation for grapplers and combat athletes.

About The Author
Lloyd Irvin is a martial arts coach. He holds the rank of 7th degree black belt in Thai Jitsu, 2nd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, 1st degree black belt in judo. In 2002 he was named The United States Judo Federation International Coach of the year. Lloyd's coaching experience includes having taught Secret Service, FBI & SWAT. Read more on:

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Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:13 pm
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