Michael has been coaching the mental game most of his working life. Helping committed performers take the next step didn't come as an academic calling, but out of being a frustrated coach.
In the eighties he was the NSW Surfing Coach and could see his athletes weren’t performing to their potential because of the pressure of competition. He started out looking for ways to help them win the mental game and it went from there. In the past 20 years he has had some great success stories - World record-holders; World Champions; Olympic Gold Medalists.
When I started working with athletes over 20 years ago I was on a steep learning curve. I had read the books and done the study, but I didn’t get the big picture of how high performance thinking really worked. It took me a long time to learn exactly what I needed to do and how I needed to do it. The upside of my long learning curve is that I learned from the ground up, from real performers, exactly what worked day-in-day-out and what was just theory. It emphasised to me that everything I do has to be very practical.
When I finally cracked the high performance thinking code I realized that it wasn't really all that hard after all. I've always tried to stick to one key principle: emphasise practical strategies and tactics that people can actually use to stay focused and positive. I also do my best to practice what I preach. My goal is to show you how you can do that, so you can consistently perform to the best of your ability.
I'm always working to stretch the limits of my knowledge and abilities. For instance, I still read sport, psychology and motivational books voraciously. I give talks on continuous high performance to several sport and professional groups each year. I like to share my knowledge, and I make it a practice to give away whatever I can.
One of my key values is “continuous personal best performance” (vs. winning) in sport. Everyone wants to win. That's why you are a committed performer. But as your performance levels progress, you might have found that it was a struggle. When you turn your attention to personal best performance, then competing becomes easier. You don't have to focus on winning your events, but delivering your very best effort. It's a big shift in perception.
What if you could be a great performer? What if you could double, triple or quintuple your competitive successes in only a few short years? I've done it with committed performers who learned that success depends not only on their ability to focus and stay positive under pressure, but to break through self-imposed limitations. There's no reason you can't do the same. I hope I can help you do so.
Dr Michael Martin is the former Head of Performance Psychology at the Australian Institute of Sport. He is also the former Head of Sport Psychology at New South Wales Institute of Sport. He has worked with Olympic teams, Paralympic teams, World Champions, World Record Holders and Olympic Medalists from over 40 different sports.