Can sport based psychology have a place in contesting?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Cornet Nev., Apr 29, 2014.

  1. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    I have just read a very interesting article on All4Brass here :- 2.html

    The author takes the idea of sports psychology and reasonably and convincingly applies some of its aspects to playing on the contest stage.
    I actually agree with him to a large extent, please read the article and give us your views.

    I for my part can say that to some extent the main aspect of confidence is a very important one, and luckily the band I played with till I retired out of it, practised some of that confidence building, some coming down from the MD himself, and boosted by the other more experienced players as well. It may be the reason why a band I joined as a fourth section band in 2007 is now promoted to second section next year. I can say that in the many times the band came out with one of the top three prizes, that when we sat down we were all confident in our own and everyone else's ability to perform and to do so well.

    Anyone else have any views?
  2. Ianroberts

    Ianroberts Well-Known Member

    when principal cornets are on £300k p/week then maybe

    not too long now then !
  3. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    When I used to take occasional lessons from the late John MacMurray (former principal trumpet of the Halle), he used to say the most important book he ever read in terms of his own development as a trumpet player was "The Inner Game Of Tennis".

    Must be something in it ...
  4. DRW

    DRW New Member

    I have this book. A really interesting read based on the well-known right brain telling your left brain (or vice versa) you can't do something. Some people will likely believe it's codswallop, but if you're in to those types of ideas, it's a good one to get.
  5. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Some years ago, Old Hall Brass had a couple of sessions with a local sports personality who came and did a talk on how sporting psychology can be applied to many walks of life and I think the sessions actually did work and did help the band to achieve. We certainly shot up the sections afterwards. Normally, I am a skeptic about such things, but now I have some empirical evidence that such psychology can work if applied properly.
  6. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    Books to help your playing...

    There are lots of 'Inner Game' books. I picked up a copy of 'Inner Game of Music' at a second-hand book stall. I'd agree - definitely worth a read.

    The Chris Hadfield book 'An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth' is well worth a read too. His point is to try be prepared for everything. Then nothing takes you by surprise!
  7. Dabbers

    Dabbers New Member

    There's nothing much to it really! Be positive on the build up and stay in present time on the day. Don't focus on what's coming and don't think about what's passed.

    Another good book to read on the subject is Clarity by Jamie Smart.
  8. pbirch

    pbirch Member

    Well, if only that were true! if it were ,there would be no need for contesting because we are winners in our own minds and it it wouldn't matter if the other band did better than ours.
    In all seriousness though, the only person I need to be better than is me, and to do better than I did the last time i played a piece, and part of the "inner game" is realising that the voice that says you are not good enough, is your own and not your competitors.
    great performers fail not because of lack of ability or technique, and not even lack of belief, but fear, and if a sports psychologist can help a band face and overcome it, I would suggest that it would be a couple of hundred pounds well spent
  9. Paul Dickens

    Paul Dickens New Member

    Well I am biased as I am a professional psychologist and also an (ex) conductor of bands. I have always used my psychological training and methods when workign with bands. Although not my area, I do know that sports psychology has moved on enormously since the "Inner Game" books, and there is a large amount of "evidence based" work on what works to prepare athletes for high performance, both as individuals and as in teams. I am sure there's a lot of mileage to looka t that work and make it relevant to bands.
  10. hobgoblin

    hobgoblin Member

    I've never suffered from nerves on a contest stage and I put this down to a consistent approach. I always have a few pints a couple of hours before we are due to register. This obviously requires a bit of forethought and prior planning in case of an early draw, in which case a short sharp dose of spirits (vodka is my tipple) as soon as the draw is announced. What a lot of players don't realize is that it is not enough simply to do this on contest days - you have to have a consistent approach and learn how to use alcohol properly. I always have a couple before concerts, and in the week leading up to a contest I'll make the effort to get to band early so I can have 2-3 in the pub around the corner before rehearsal. Playing a brass instrument is very like dancing, in that there is a fine line between having enough to 'loosen up', and that one too many which adversely effects performance. I'd recommend that less experienced players actually start practicing while drinking at home - particularly those tricky passages, solos, and pp passages in the forthcoming testpiece. You'll quickly gain an appreciation of your own limits and find that 'sweet spot' between tingly lips and numbness.
  11. DS2014

    DS2014 Active Member

    Dr. Steve Peters seems all the rage now (British Cycling team, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Liverpool F.C.). I think he talks along the same lines as right brain, left brain, beating yourself up and telling yourself you're going to fail etc.

    Am currently reading his book called The Chimp Paradox. Will let you know if it's any good, should I become principal cornet at Black Dyke :sup

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