by Philippe Geraud
Philippe Geraud is a graduate of McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He has continued his post-graduate work in China Regional Studies at the University of Washington, and in TESL at SPU. He joined the Seattle Pétanque Club in 2005 and is now the President. Currently Philippe focuses his study on training, sports psychology, and team dynamics. He leads clinics and workshops throughout the Northwest sports community.
Peter Mathis of the Valley of the Moon Pétanque Club displaying the kind of focus Philippe Geraud discusses in this blog. Photo courtesy of Juan Garcia.
The greatest breakthrough in performance enhancement in the next century will be in the mental game.
— Lanny Bassham
In my last article, I explored the concept of “deliberate practice” and how its application is now considered by a large body of researchers in sport science, top athletes, and Olympic coaches as the optimal path towards higher level, “peak” performance. I looked at the three stages of skill development in athletes: the cognitive, the associative, and the autonomous.
In this article, I explore in more depth the third stage of skill-building: the autonomous stage, and how mental training and the development of mental skills cannot take place until our physical skills have been perfected and have become “automatic.” For the same reasons scientific research has debunked “multitasking,” sports psychologists have determined that our brain is wired to concentrate either on conscious execution of physical movement or on the application of mental skills, we simply cannot focus on both at the same time. Thus, for mental skills to be fully effective, physical execution needs to function “unconsciously” at the autonomous level.
Dan is the President of the FPUSA
Shannon is the Secretary of the FPUSA and Chairman of the Communications Committee.
Nan is a Member of the Communications Committee, Editor of this Blog, and Webmaster of the FPUSA Website.