Manage your Chimp!

What if you had a machine that made you really happy, gives confidence and success, stops you from being anxious and worrying and removes all unpleasant thoughts and feelings. You would say: “give me that machine!”

This is the approach of dr. Steve Peters who has successfully helped Olympians to become mentally strong athletes. He proposes a model where our brain has three parts:

  1. The rational brain, this is The Human who checks Facts, Truths and then logical thinking
  2. The emotional brain, this is The Chimp: who has feelings, impressions and then emotional thinking
  3. The brain running the system, called The Computer: a machine for both Human or Chimp to use

You, The Human, wants to have all those traits from that machine, The Computer, but your Chimp is in the way and most of the time hijacks your brain!

Watch him explain on the internet:

Steve Peter his model made developing a mental trainingsplan for my athletes much easier. I start with presenting the video and have the players start a diary in which they have to write down at least one event each day when they realised The Chimp took control.

Understanding that your inner chimp takes control is a big step, next is about controlling / managing your chimp. Players have to detail these different strategies:

  • Give him a distraction: a “Banana”;
  • Let him out and about until he calms down;
  • Make him quiet by reprogramming The Computer;

The last one takes more time: it involves replacing false beliefs with new truths and takes a lot of soul searching and hard work.

Try to learn more and read his book. (You can buy it from Amazon UK in my book section). I believe when all the boxes on technical, tactical and physical development and preparations are ticked, the mental strength of the athletes will make the difference. The Chimp Paradox method will help you with this.