Health AND High Performance
+ a recap
As you know, my goal for this newsletter is to provide useful and practical insights to enhance performance AND well-being. I recently came across a wonderful twitter thread from @AlexAuerbachPhD, a sport psychologist and Director of Wellness and Development for the Toronto Raptors. I wanted to share it with you and thought it would be a helpful framework to recap what we’ve talked about in previous newsletters to make it “sticky”!
So in this weeks 3 Points, I’ll share Dr. Auerbach’s thread (everything in italics) on the 5 skills that live at the intersection of wellness and high performance, as well as previous posts that correlate to each skill.
There's a narrative in sport that you can only have 1: health or high performance… That couldn't be further from the truth. Wellness & high performance can coexist. These are the skills that live at the intersection:
1. Self-Awareness Understanding who you are, what you value, what you need, what motivates you, and how you're thinking and feeling is the starting point for both health and high performance. It allows us to readily get what we need and make sure we're positioned to perform.
Read more about Self Awareness
Read more about Values
2. Stress Management Life in and out of sport is stressful. Healthy and high-performing people don't shy away from stress. They manage it more effectively, through problem-focused coping.
That involves seeking solutions to our stressors and cultivating the internal/external resources we need to meet the demands of the situation.
Read more about Stress
Read more about Pre-Performance Anxiety
3. Mental Skills Being mentally healthy and high-performing takes practice - just like building any physical skill. The idea that we should just be mentally healthy without working on it is misguided - we'd never expect someone to physically be in shape without training.
Mental skills allow us to more effectively meet the moment, on and off the floor. Some mental skills to consider include:
• Energy management
• Performance journaling
No matter what you choose, just practice - we know these skills help.
Read more about Goal Setting
Read more about Mental Routines
4. Resilience We're all going to hit hiccups along the way. What helps people sustain both health and high performance is how quickly they bounce back. Resilience has many features, but we know the most important ones are: good social support and good self-care.
Self-care and social support underpin mental health and mental performance. They allow us to engage in our world in a more energized, fulfilled, sustainable way.
Read more about Self-Care
Read more about Resilient Environments
5. Relationships Our entire experience is shaped by the people we're closest to. In many regards, we come to define ourselves and understand ourselves through our relationships - our teammates on and off the field.
We all intuitively appreciate that great teamwork is fundamental for peak performance in team sports. Great teamwork can also be the difference between a healthy, supportive environment that facilitates mental health, and one that debilitates.
Read more about Building Climates that Foster Cooperation and Respect
Like any good scientist, this isn't just my opinion, though I've seen this play out over the last decade I've spent in elite sport. Here's a reference to learn more:
Ayala, E., Nelson, L., Bartholomew, M., & Plummer, D. (2022). A conceptual model for mental health and performance of North American athletes: A mixed methods study. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 61, 102176.