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  2. As a young adolescent, psychological counseling was encouraged- due to the traumatic upbringing I was experiencing. I denied it and refused to take part. I felt they wouldn't understand, and I would end up in some insane asylum if I opened up to them. However, I stumbled upon James due to my pursuit in coaching, but this transitioned into weekly psychological consultations, which was very impactful for me. Finally, someone who I felt safe to share my thoughts and experiences in which I felt no judgment or condemnation. He encouraged me to process my traumatic upbringing and provided me with tools to help overcome my anxiety and panic attacks that were creeping up on me without conscious awareness of what triggered them. These six months were very dark and I isolated myself to an extreme degree because I felt uneasy being around anyone, so I was very thankful for to have James to be the helping hand. After six months I still hear his voice in my head encouraging me with more than just "you can do this" type spiel to rile me up, but with words based on the reality of the situation, always taking the objective point of view to help regulate negative emotion. In one conversation in particular, when I felt I was recovering better from the tormented states I found myself in, I realized that if I just sat in this tormented state and let it run its course, it actually went away. I further realized that James was telling me this since day one, "Just let it happen." It took a good amount of time for those words James said to settle in and become embodied, but to be where I am right this moment I can honestly say is worth the time and effort. I am beyond thankful for all that James has done for me and recommend his services to anyone out there who is sincere about their psychological development. - Elizabeth Jett Halen
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  4. I originally met James in 2009 and have continued to become immersed in his work. Most recently, I hired James for his Psychological Consulting services. I had an idea of what COULD be but I was unsure of HOW to go about it. I have several very important events in the near future and I wanted to be as prepared as possible. Over the course of a short period, after speaking with James, it has become abundantly clear that my disposition has changed. His choice of tools / thought exercises in a context-appropriate manner has been invaluable to my development and ones that I can always use, regardless of where life takes me. However, what I have also found is that the psychological preparation has transferred into other areas of my life for the better. As he'll say, and anyone who understands the importance of psychological preparation, is that this is a must for anyone who wants to not only manage "stress" but be as efficient as possible in any endeavor they choose. David Stallard
  5. I have been working with James since 2015. Amongst many of James’s talents, I find him to be the most brilliant sounding boards I have ever come across. With each consultation, I’m blown away by his level of thinking as well as his objective reasoning and advice. Most importantly, he forces you to think and question what you think you may know and develop iterations of your current models of understanding. Taking all this a step further, his psychological preparation consultations have been one of the most influential frameworks that’s altered how I perceive life, both personal and professional. Taylor Johnson
  6. I appreciate James to the fullest! He helped me to understand that we are in control of every single situation that we encounter no matter than magnitude of disrespect, judging, or just in general. He helped with self observation & help me understand that you have to practice these things on a daily basis! By doing that you will find yourself more in control of turning the negative to a positive! He also helped me with self awareness, self evaluation, and the practicing of staying cool, calm, and collects when I may catch myself getting aggressive! He's is very smart and very helpful!! DJ Swearinger
  7. My experience with James was nothing short of extraordinary! My mental approach to my game has changed & it has changed my playing style in ways I couldn't imagine, I'm more focused, and more aware of my thoughts. James has also helped me see the world outside of football in a different way, a more positive and neutral way. If you are wanting to change your life, I highly suggest you take advantage of what James has to offer! Trent Sherfield
  8. Nancy Willson Found you! Just curious saw a post about you on Mark Hotops FB page and I just wanted to say hi and that I have no hard feelings...only a fondness 😊
  9. Sport Preparatory Engineering Consulting Testimonial/Evaluation In 2018 I did a full Governing Dynamics consultation with James Smith. Spending 8 weeks diving into each area of the Governing Dynamics of Coaching. Throughout the last year I revisited each area to further my understanding. When doing this I really drew an interest to Sport Preparatory Engineering. I myself have used technologies such as GPS for 7 collegiate and NFL seasons to help in managing the loading of American Football Players. When studying the area of Sport Preparatory Engineering I was amazed by the planning and the mathematics that guided the development of the training blueprint. This gave detail to every step of the training blueprint and left little chance for unexpected result. In April of 2019 I made a decision that this was the area I needed to understand further if I was to really make an impact in assisting coaches and teams. I chose to do a 4-week intensive consultation with James Smith on Sport Preparatory Engineering and I am very pleased with the amount of information and knowledge I was able to gain from it. During this consultation we examined all areas of engineering the preparation of the American Football player with a particular emphasis on the NFL structure and constraints. James allowed me to guide the learning and he expanded on areas where I need to improve my knowledge. Examples areas that I was interested in included load distribution, engineering mathematics, and in-season practice design. James was able to display the ideal and then work from there in making adjustments for rule constraints we may be faced with. My 2nd consultation with James was a tremendous experience in diving deeper into Sport Preparatory Engineering, possibly the biggest area that can be improved in American Football. Having a blueprint to work from within your team and being able to make yearly adjustments from it is a must. James Smith provided me the knowledge and troubleshooting abilities to apply this for any team I work with! Shea Thompson Director of Performance Monitoring Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach San Francisco 49ers
  10. Super excited to read this book. Just bought it. Thank you for all that you do. Hope to build upon what you are doing here. This is all amazing to me
  11. James Smith Consultation Review I have read James’ book The Governing Dynamics of Coaching multiple times. I’ve dissected many sections throughout the book to further my understanding of certain topics. Not until I began consulting with James did I obtain complete clarity and understanding of the Governing Dynamics, both as general principles along with specific application to the sport of American football. He has opened my eyes to depth of knowledge necessary to competently engineer a holistic sport preparation system. Utilizing James as a consultant is one of the best professional investments I could recommend. Mike Nicolini Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach San Francisco 49ers
  12. It is critical to discuss the mistake of expanding upon the volume of specialists in an organization if there is no unification between them. In the absence of an individual who, like a general contractor, possesses the applied understanding of all specialty domains and is, thus, qualified to orchestrate them, no amount of specialists is likely to make the organization any better. In theory… We may discuss the supposed understanding that the Manager, Head Coach, Assistant Coaches, Physiotherapists, Player Development, Psychiatrist, Psychologist…are supposed to have. This is only in theory, however. If…we grant that each one of them is actually operating at the forefront of their respective specialties, and that is a massive assumption, we must still determine how well each one integrates with the other, such that the whole of the organization is, in fact, greater than the sum of its parts. As it regards the any efforts to expand upon the organization’s performance through the lens of psychology, as soon as we distinguish between what the organization requires from the standpoint of brain and behavior, we must then recognize that no amount of psychological understanding directed towards sport is better than the degree to which this individual, or individuals, work seamlessly in the organization, and NOT only amongst themselves, but with the rest of the organization’s staff, coaches, and players. The psychologist who possesses a PhD or PsyD, is a Doctor of Philosophy (in Psychology) or Doctor of Psychology, respectively. PhD curricula in psychology are more research and experimental based; whereas the training of PsyD’s are more based in clinical/professional practice. Psychologists are NOT medical doctors and, unlike Psychiatrists, focus on the psychological, vs the biological, reference frames related to cognitive, emotional, social, behavioral research and/or clinical psychotherapeutic interventions to assist in the mental well-being of someone in terms of reconciling past traumas and diagnosing and resolving any number of psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression. Unlike Psychiatrists, however, psychologists are not licensed to prescribe medication. The sport psychologist, who also possesses a PhD or PsyD is a psychologist who directs their study and practice towards dealing with the brain and behavior in the context of sport preparation and competition. Not all sport psychologists possess a PhD or PsyD (which is an important distinction because anyone with an undergraduate degree can go through a 12month on-line course and get a masters in sport psychology. Meanwhile, any psychologist has gone through an undergrad then a doctoral program to earn a PhD or PsyD. To conflate a sport psychology credential with a PhD or PsyD, who focuses on the sport application, is to conflate a CPR certification with a MD). What is critical to understand for the organization is how the sophisticated understanding of psychological preparation interfaces with tactical execution and this is something that psychologists, and even sport psychologists, are not necessarily trained for. What the organization requires is that every coach integrate the requisite knowledge of psychology into tactical/technical preparation, because any psychological limitations from the players or coaches will never be as adequately addressed in the office of the psychologist as it will when its addressed during coaching and practice. While there is no such thing as toughness or mental toughness, there is: • Purposefulness • Discipline • Initiative and self-sufficiency • Self-control • Confidence • Resolve • Perseverance • Courage • Decisiveness • Competitiveness • Concentration/focus • Anxiety control • Composure • Self-awareness • Positive thinking • Team cohesion • Thought control • Self-regulation • Aggression And more… Each of which mandates, not only the explanatory knowledge of its significance but, how to integrate its development into coaching and player tactical execution. Particularly as it regards players, the psychological preparation must be synthesized into off-season sport practices, training camps, and seasonal practices. After consulting with each coach and player and identifying the specific type of psychological skills each individual is lacking, there will be specific practice drill variations suggested that will distinguish both the tactical/technical AND specific psychological skill from another psychological skill. We cannot use ‘tough’ in thinking or speaking because it’s as ambiguous as scrapping all tactical schemes/concepts, and all their complexity, and replacing all of them with the single word- tactical. Imagine replacing all American Football, Rugby League, Basketball, Football, Ice Hockey, Wrestling, MMA…tactical terminologies, and all derivations, with the single word “tactical”. To reduce tactical complexity, which varies between team and combat sports, with one single instruction “tactical” would be laughable to any modern-day tactical coach. In this same way, mental toughness must be as laughable to any person because of how differentiated the previously mentioned components of psychological skills are from one another. As laughable and nondescript as it would be for the American Football or Rugby or Basketball Coach to blame themselves or their athletes for not being tactical enough, somehow, these same coaches operate under the misconception that their teams or athletes aren’t tough enough… Too often, teams and athletes undergo physically grueling training, sometimes with military units, in an effort to become more ‘tough’. Little do the coaches of these athletes realize is the nuance and distinction of the many psychological skills they misconceive as toughness. Some athletes are strong with resolve, perseverance, and aggression yet lack self-regulation; while others are strong in self-regulation yet lack in resolve, perseverance, and aggression. Due to the lack of sufficient psychological knowledge in coaching we then see, year after year, entire teams being subjected to the same grueling activity in pre-season training that, say, demands perseverance. The coaches and athletes think that toughness is being developed, meanwhile this is the functional equivalent of suggesting chemotherapy for anyone who doesn’t feel well. Meanwhile medical doctors are up in arms trying to explain the myriad of conditions that result in a person not feeling well and how chemotherapy is only appropriate for one of them, and if you use chemotherapy for any other reason you are subjecting the person to a remarkable level of misery and physiological trauma that is utterly misdirected and unnecessary. Coaches with sufficient psychological knowledge recognize the subtleties surrounding psychological skill development and how this process must be highly individualized for each athlete whilst closely satisfying tactical/technical developments, and not diverting from them with the sports analog of chemotherapy. Thus, any organization that requires, or benefits from, a licensed psychologist on staff must fill an even more important role. The organization requires an individual to integrate psychological understanding directly into sport practice. This will not be achieved by a psychologist or sport psychologist. It can only come from an individual who has as deep and wide and understanding of sport structure as they do the requisite domains of cultural establishment, talent ID and selection, leadership, the tactics and techniques of the sport in question, psychology, the theory of knowledge, learning science, language, communication, motion, energy, medical science and rehabilitation, and critical problem solving, that directly implicate winning more competitions. What this describes is the analog of a general contractor for sport. One who has an applied understanding of every contractor. This is the theoretical/strategic role that I describe in my explanation of a Competition Strategist, and the jargon of global load manager in my book “The Governing Dynamics of Coaching” and it is this sort of professional who is required to ultimately unite the differences between managers, coaches, doctors, scientists, analysts, researchers, and trainers so that the entire collective of them works seamlessly together in order that no untapped potential exists in the organization, and more competitions are won this year and beyond. Email James@globalsportconcepts.net for information on psychological preparation from a top down perspective of tactical/technical development
  13. I just completed another round of consulting with James and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It's hard to really explain how impactful his sessions are until you experience it for yourself. Each call you come away with a completely new perspective on how to navigate coaching, business, and life. He truly is in a league of his own and stands in and for the possibility of transforming the coaching profession with his Governing Dynamics Concepts. Taylor Johnson Esports Performance Consultant, Entrepreneur
  14. In the wake of UFC 235, Tactical preparation will be explained from a top down perspective so as to elucidate upon one of the most foundational, yet one of the greatest limiting factors in preparation for sport. Tactical Execution begins with the binary, and highly emergent, nature of decisions and actions. The focus here is the implications surrounding the failure to execute tactical game plans. Decisions From the top down perspective, the discussion of each tactical decision must begin with psychological state. Psychology The state of one's emotional regulation is unarguably, and directly, implicated in his/her ability to make a decision- specifically from the standpoint of how well he/she processes sensory information and accesses their working memory. The very foundations of tactical decision making are remarkably affected by one's psychological state. Broad sensory processing (relational processing) vs tunnel vision (item specific processing) are products of emotional neutrality vs negative emotional up-regulation, respectively. The more negatively emotionally up-regulated one is (anger, fear, worry, concern, doubt, anxiety, panic, sadness, dread...) the more that person's sensory experience narrows to tunnel vision AND the more restricted his/her access to memory. Both of which are remarkably inhibiting to effective tactical decision making. For this reason, any coach, athlete, or tactical operator who makes a tactical error who is then questioned by a peer or superior in terms of "what were you thinking?" would almost certainly be more accurately questioned by "what is/was your state of mind?" As a professional consultant, one of my preferred ways of offering a 'proof' to this is to remind coaches why it is that when athletes make mistakes in competition they almost always have the correct answer by the time they reflect on what happened (this can be seconds, minutes, or hours later). *while it is easy to criticize the benefit of hindsight, it's important to recognize that the limiting factor that prevented the optimal decision making in the competition was known and understood by the athlete/coach/operator. The problem wasn't a lack of knowledge, it was that something prevented them from accessing it when it mattered most. The reason for this is because it's only after the fact when emotions have neutralized and the objective clarity returns to the individual who, only then, is kicking themselves for not having made the correct decision. I have never consulted with a coach, athlete, or tactical operator who, upon my asking what the reason was for the decision making mistakes, then stated "I/he/she just didn't know what to do". Just the opposite in fact, the individual(s) in question nearly always knew what to do, yet state "I don't know why I didn't do it". This confusion that distinguishes knowing what to do, yet not doing it, is quite often a function of item specific processing (tunnel vision) that resulted from a lack of psychological self-regulation. A lack of self-regulation allows for a moderate anxiety/fear state to restrict relational processing and inhibit accessing what the coach/athlete/operator ACTUALLY knew. One will be hard pressed to speak, in confidence, with a coach who, in the minutes after his/her team/athlete sustains a significant loss, states "I was simply out couched", who, the day later, says "I wasn't knowledgeable enough". Instead, what almost any coach who states "I was out couched" will, minutes or hours after the game, again once emotions have neutralized, be kicking themselves in recognition of what they well knew before the game that they were not able to access during the game. While the tactical decision is very much a function of preceding strategic preparation, cognition, sensory processing, and accessing working memory, it must be understood that, literally and unarguably, the foundations of tactical decision making are remarkably implicated by one's psychological state- because the knowledge gained through strategic preparation is dependent upon being recalled, which depends upon memory, which is negatively impacted by negative emotional up-regulation; along with cognition and sensory processing. The coach/military leader and athlete/commando, on/in their respective 'arenas' are confronted with an environment. The environmental features, including opponents, objects of sensory perception. The features that the brain identifies as higher value/significant targets are the ones that receive priority in the order of processing and it is here, in the fractions of a second when the processing occurs in which cognition and accessing working memory are put to task to make sense of what is processed and respond accordingly. Here is where motion occurs... Actions Visually received stimuli, that is then processed via retinotopic mapping, the visual cortex, and related cortical regions that couple a highly complex aggregate of preceding tactical and strategic knowledge through memory recall, and pattern recognition/sensory processing , prior to physical motion, ultimately leads to efferent nerve signals that carry information away from the motor cortex and finalize at the junction with muscles. The product of which is a torque force applied to a bone, and motion follows. What mandates explanation, however, is the disruption that separates what is accurately sensed, and coupled with pre-existing knowledge, and the effective response that fails to occur (even though the individual knew what to do). Using last night's UFC 235 as the example, consider the Woodley vs Usman and Jones vs Smith fights, both of which featured the fighters who lost (Woodley and Smith) demonstrating both a curious lack of effective tactical execution (despite having shown exceptional track records of just the opposite in their most recent previous fights) in addition to post-fight clarity that underlines the distinctions discussed above. Further, it's valuable to note how both Woodley and Smith make it a point to explain how confident they were in their preparation, and maintain this claim even after their respective losses in which the skill sets that characterize their successes were largely nullified. Take a look at the following clips, taken from each fighters post-fight interview, and note the important distinction between knowing what to do, yet not doing it. Tyron Woodley Tyron.mp4 Anthony Smith UFC 235 post fight press conference.mp4 Note the similarities shared by both fighters who, according to their post-fight explanations: clearly saw what their opponent was doing, down to tactical/technical specifics knew what they needed to do to fight more effectively against what they accurately perceived from their opponent, yet couldn't understand why they failed to do it during the fight *stated that their preparation and readiness for their fights excellent and that their preparation was not the limiting factor, even though they were at a loss as to why they couldn't access what they knew when it mattered most The last bullet contains an asterisk because of all subjective claims, this one mandates the most criticism. To state that preparation is not the limiting factor necessarily requires that it satisfy an objective criteria. In "The Governing Dynamics of Coaching" I explain what such an objective criteria looks like and is based upon. Included in this criteria is psychological preparation as it is an inseparable component of tactical execution; yet it curiously remains absent as an integrated component of preparation for sport and military tactical objectives. Psychological preparation, as a component of tactical preparation, describes a process wherein the tactical preparation of any coach/trainer, athlete or soldier takes part in dialogues and psychological exercises that, unlike what often occurs in the disjointed faction of sport psychology, is fundamentally integrated with the tactical specifics of the sport or tactical objective. Sport psychologists, no different than physiotherapists or strength coaches, are ineffectively educated on the specifics of sport or military tactical/technical derivatives. As a result, their contribution to sport/tactical teams/units/athletes/soldiers is as surface level and unintegrated as most other adjunct specialty contributions to sport/tactical populations. Psychological preparation must exist as an integrated component of tactical preparation because psychological self-regulation IS a component of tactical execution. So much so, in fact, that there is overwhelming scientific evidence to support the argument that the psychological component of preparation is THE most important facet of tactical preparation because it is the gate keeper that determines whether or not the absolute entirety of knowledge, skill, and ability is manifest in competition and tactical operations. This case study referenced the main and co-main events of UFC 235, however, the logic contained here is universal and applies to every conceivable sport, tactical objective, and, broadly, and endeavor of any human. Indeed, one's ability to manifest their knowledge, skill, and ability, particularly when it matters most, is ultimately determined by their psychological state. The brain is as adaptable as any muscle in the body to change according to the way it is stimulated. One potential result of stated changes is the way in which ideas are dealt with. Changing how ideas are dealt with changes perception, thought, and behavior. The narrow result of which optimizes UFC, sport, and tactical decision making; while the broad result changes the person as a whole. Email James@globalsportconcepts.net for psychological consulting information
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