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Training Laboratory

Your inner training laboratory and the Oriental training school


Inner training laboratory

What we intend to do here is adapt the favourite place you developed for relaxation and confidence (see inductions/#1). If you accomplished this task, creating your inner training laboratory should be relatively easy. The objective is to create in your mind’s eye, the perfect place to do your sport. It has everything you would possibly need in terms of equipment and facilities. For the swimmer there is the ideal pool; for the golfer, the course of your dreams; for the ice skater a rink that is just perfect. In general you should be alone, but for some sports, or for some occasions, this may not be appropriate. As a boxer you inner training laboratory may always have the ideal sparing partner. For the ice dancer it can contain the ideal partner. But in general you want to be alone in order to create perfection. Like the favourite place, it is place where you can be confident and relaxed, with just the right amount of tension. Your place and no one else’s, a place where you can aspire to be what you dreamed of being.


Because this place is in the mind’s eye, then it can contain everything that your sport requires. In your mind’s eye you can have a football pitch, you can have a high diving board and pool and you can have a racing track. What is important to realise is that anything and everything is possible in your inner training laboratory. You even have access to your idols, heroes and heroines of the past and present. You can even call on heroes and heroines of the future! Everything is possible in this place of yours.


Your first task, therefore, is to become familiar with your inner training laboratory so that you can picture it in your mind’s eye quickly and easily. Most of all, you need to develop the freedom and imagination to conjure up anything that you require for your sport. If you temporarily need your coach, then he or she materialises (and then disappears when their task is finished!) If you need a specific golf course or a specific stadium, it is there in your mind’s eye – sandpit and all. Be creative in your inner training laboratory. Like the Red Shoes, your skates, football boots, racket, etc are magical. Even your outfit is magical. Whenever you put it on you are invincible. Let your imagination run wild and be prepared to dream the impossible. As you do this so you will give power to your images.


Practice creating your inner training laboratory for about one week: with each session lasting for about 15-30 minutes. Your purpose is to become totally familiar with it. Know how to bring about whatever you wish; come to appreciate that everything is possible in this chosen place of yours. See this period like you would your training. It is a training of your inner imagery until it becomes second nature. As it becomes second nature so you will be capable of bringing it into your mind at a moments notice. You will be able to bring it forth when you are waiting for a game; you will be able to bring it forth when travelling to a competition; and you will be able to bring it forth if you happen to be laid off with an injury. It is going to become part of you. Even your dreams will give you ideas of what you can have in your inner laboratory.


Having become familiar with your inner training laboratory it is now time to put it to use.


Exercise #1 The heroes and heroines of your sport


Allow into your inner laboratory some of the heroes or heroines of your sport. Start with those who are presently alive and that may have been your role models. Talk to them and ask them about why they chose this sport. Ask their advice and council. Because this is your inner laboratory, they are there simply to give help and advice. You can ask them anything – about motivation, about technique, about feelings and most of all how they overcame disappointments.


Now do the same with those you admire from the past. In Field of Dreams Roy Kinsella builds a baseball pitch on his farmland. Players from the past came to play there and he conversed with them – including his dad! Do the same. In your inner laboratory you too can have your ‘field of dreams’. In your inner laboratory these heroes and heroines are full of advice (if that is what you want) and answer any question you put to them. Always thank them for their help.


Exercise #2 The anti-heroes and heroines of your sport


Do the same as exercise 1, but now have villains of your sport: anti-heroes and anti-heroines. Find out why they are that way so that you do not do the same. Establish exactly what it is about them and their attitude towards your sport that you do not like. Try not to be judgmental. Simply establish what it is you do not like about them or their attitude so that you are clear in your own mind why you are the way you are or your attitude is the way it is. Also note that people are not all good and all bad, but a mixture of the two. See both the positive and negative aspects of these people. You may wish to extend this to people outside of your sport. This exercise will give you a much more rounded view of your own attitudes towards your sport.


Exercise #3 The people who have influenced your sport


Think about anyone in your life that had an influence on your sport and allow him or her to temporarily enter your inner training laboratory. It is important in this exercise that you give free rain to your thoughts. Influence can come from many quarters and the most unexpected source. From people not involved in your sport but had an attribute that you admired to an off-the-cuff remark by a teacher or friend; to a film or novel that evoked empowerment or determination, a will to succeed against all odds.


Let your mind wander over all the people you have known from a very early age. When you have in your mind’s eye what it is that they gave you, thank them for it. See and feel how the quality is influencing you in the present. In doing this it is important not to be judgmental. Your determination to succeed may have arisen from some harmful experience in the past. Many a sports person has developed a driving force from a sense of anger.


In this exercise the aim is to explore your feelings and your attitudes towards your sport by reconsidering all the people in your past that had an influence on you and your attitude towards your sport. Consider both positive and negative feelings and attitudes. You may, for example, always do well up to the final game and then fail. There just seems to be a mental block that prevents you achieving that final accolade. A search of people who have influenced you may reveal the source of this. Your father, who you admired, for example, seemed to have really good qualities and you loved him. But on reflection you begin to recall that he never followed things through to their final conclusion. You then realise the source of your problem! What this example illustrates is that someone may not even be involved in your sport directly but has had, all the same, a profound influence on your attitude towards it.


There will be many uses for your inner training laboratory and so the effort to get it right and just the way you want it will pay tremendous dividends. As we shall see, it will be a place where you can raise (or lower) your aggression; a place where you can perform the impossible; a place where you can correct a recurring problem or mental block; and, most of all, it is place where you can fulfil your dreams and aspirations.


The oriental training school


An alternative to the inner training laboratory, and one that can be used in addition, is the ‘Oriental training school’. In the West we often imagine that schools in the East have knowledge unknown to us. This is often fostered in films and television. The series Kung Fu is typical. Here a Shoulin monk flees to America and in his roams he performs acts and skills of which are unparalleled. All these abilities, however, were all taught to him in the Shoulin temple. “Grasshopper”, as he was sometimes called, learnt his lessons well and could apply them in a totally different context to which they were taught.


What we intend to do here is adapt the favourite place you developed for relaxation and confidence (see inductions/#1). If you accomplished this task, creating your inner training laboratory should be relatively easy. The objective is to create in your mind’s eye, the perfect place to do your sport. It has everything you would possibly need in terms of equipment and facilities. For the swimmer there is the ideal pool; for the golfer, the course of your dreams; for the ice skater a rink that is just perfect. In general you should be alone, but for some sports, or for some occasions, this may not be appropriate. As a boxer you inner training laboratory may always have the ideal sparing partner. For the ice dancer it can contain the ideal partner. But in general you want to be alone in order to create perfection. Like the favourite place, it is place where you can be confident and relaxed, with just the right amount of tension. Your place and no one else’s, a place where you can aspire to be what you dreamed of being.


Because this place is in the mind’s eye, then it can contain everything that your sport requires. In your mind’s eye you can have a football pitch, you can have a high diving board and pool and you can have a racing track. What is important to realise is that anything and everything is possible in your inner training laboratory. You even have access to your idols, heroes and heroines of the past and present. You can even call on heroes and heroines of the future! Everything is possible in this place of yours.


Your first task, therefore, is to become familiar with your inner training laboratory so that you can picture it in your mind’s eye quickly and easily. Most of all, you need to develop the freedom and imagination to conjure up anything that you require for your sport. If you temporarily need your coach, then he or she materialises (and then disappears when their task is finished!) If you need a specific golf course or a specific stadium, it is there in your mind’s eye – sandpit and all. Be creative in your inner training laboratory. Like the Red Shoes, your skates, football boots, racket, etc are magical. Even your outfit is magical. Whenever you put it on you are invincible. Let your imagination run wild and be prepared to dream the impossible. As you do this so you will give power to your images.


Practice creating your inner training laboratory for about one week: with each session lasting for about 15-30 minutes. Your purpose is to become totally familiar with it. Know how to bring about whatever you wish; come to appreciate that everything is possible in this chosen place of yours. See this period like you would your training. It is a training of your inner imagery until it becomes second nature. As it becomes second nature so you will be capable of bringing it into your mind at a moments notice. You will be able to bring it forth when you are waiting for a game; you will be able to bring it forth when travelling to a competition; and you will be able to bring it forth if you happen to be laid off with an injury. It is going to become part of you. Even your dreams will give you ideas of what you can have in your inner laboratory.


Having become familiar with your inner training laboratory it is now time to put it to use.


In this next imagery you are going to create in your mind’s eye an oriental training school, which trains athletes for your particular sport. You may want to think of the school as a Japanese dojo, which is a place that combines the ideas of a school, a practice hall and a temple all rolled into one. It is a place that trains mind, body and spirit. The training is totally different from what you are used to, and sometimes on the face of it seems totally ridiculous, but you have confidence in the school that there is a purpose to it. You may recall how in the Karate Kid Mr Miyagi got Daniel LaRusso to wash the car with a particular circular motion (right hand polish on left hand polish off) and how he got him to paint the fence with upstrokes and downstrokes while he was to breath in a particular way. At the time he became frustrated because he wanted to learn karate. What he only later appreciated was that he was in training all the time! It was just training that was totally different and not what he expected at all. In this imagery you will do the same. In order to perform it, however, you will need to break your sport down into small parts. For each small part you will be trained and trained until this is done to perfection. Progress is made until mastery of all parts is accomplished. Break your sport down into small parts and list them so you can recall them during the trance state.


All we can do here is describe the image, but only you can create the image in your mind’s eye. It will be quite personal to you. During the image formation you will be giving yourself suggestions that an action will arise which typifies the particular small part of your sport you will be working on – in just the same way that … was to polish the car: right hand for polish on and left hand for polish off. At this stage do not try to think of an action that will typify the small part you are to work on. This is best accomplished in a trance state. The mind readily throws up images that are most suitable, yet at the same time totally unexpected. Have confidence in your unconscious mind to do this. Read it first so you can bring it into mind when you are in a state of self-hypnosis. Now put yourself in a trance state and follow through the following image.


Image: The Oriental training school


You arrive at the Oriental training school, a special school that is known world wide as the most expert yet most sacred in your sport. The techniques that they use seem to defy description and the people who have attended them cannot seem to put into words what takes place. It is training based solely on experience: an experience of mind and body co-ordination. You are both excited and curious about the school and what it will do for you.


You first meet your teachers. Even this is a surprise. They are all lacking in any obvious physique, dressed as monks tend to dress, and all have a calm serenity about them. You wander how they could possibly help you train in your particular sport. But you put that thought out of your head because you have heard that they can do this, and so you are determined to do exactly what they tell you – no matter how absurd it may seem to be.


Your first lesson is concerned with your breathing – at least you think that is so, but what you are asked to do seems rather bizarre. In your mind’s eye you are asked to perform some act that is combined with your breathing. This particular action seems to just pop into your head. You do not question it nor do you analyse it; all you do is simply carry it out to the best of your ability. You repeat it and repeat it until the monk in charge of this particular aspect says you have done it to his satisfaction.


You take each part of your sport that you have identified. With each part a different monk takes charge of the training. Each one asks you to perform some action that just seems to pop into your head. In your mind’s eye you repeat and repeat the action until it is accomplished to the monk’s satisfaction. This goes on day after day until you have practised and practised each part to each monk’s satisfaction.


Now the final training sessions arrive. You are told that this is the case, since you have progressed through each of the parts you have identified. The monk who is to take charge of this final session is dressed in a different coloured robe and seems to convey an even greater calmness and serenity. He now asks you to perform a particular action, which once again seems to just pop into your head. This action, however, combines all those parts that you have been working on individually. Yes, this action, which is much more complex than the earlier ones, combines all of the moves you were practising earlier in the week. The flow and grace of movement is tremendous. You are pushed to your limits, and yet you are in total control at all times. Total control because your breathing is right, your muscles are tuned to perfection, in fact everything is flowing just right. You never thought such a feeling was possible. You never thought when you were practising each part of your sport that when all this was brought together you would have such control and co-ordination, such mastery of your sport. You feel just great!


The training is now over, and you thank the monks for their efforts on your behalf. You promise that you will do all what they have taught you to do to the best of your ability – and to do it every time.


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