For organizational leaders, performing artits, and professional athletes alike, two things are essential:
Following an approach used by the US Olympic Team, I am utilizing specific interventions to make optimal performance more probable and recovering from stress more efficient.
It has been shown that consistent superior performance (e.g., in sports) is the result of a highly self-regulated mental and physical state. I am partnering with clients to make optimal performance more probable.
Individuals perform their best under different arousal and affective states. Considerable effort has gone into designing tools where athletes can identify their own zones of optimal functioning (Hanin, 2000).
However, efficacy depends on the choice of tools. Subjective assessments of variations in state often show no relationship with performance outcomes (Egner, Strawson & Gruzelier, 2002). I use objective tools – devices that are used to train Olympic athletes – to create awareness and teach regulation of internal processes that are typically outside conscious control (Zaichkowsky & Fuchs, 1988).
The basis of my coaching is performance psychology, which seeks to understand why performance varies and aims to design interventions making optimal performance more probable. Taking this perspective, the main factor to performance variation is changing mental states (Perrault et al., 1998).
I have learned many of these ideas and methods used in my coaching from Dr. Lindsay Thornton (US Olympic Committee, Senior Sport Psychophysiologist).
Already in 1908 the psychologists Yerkes and Dodson found an empirical relationship between arousal and performance. The Yerkes–Dodson law states that performance increases with arousal (effort) – however, only up to a certain point. Interestingly, when the level of arousal gets too high, performance decreases.
While this curve may look different for different tasks and is highly individual in its shape, it nicely illustrates that we have to be inside a specific window of arousal for optimal performance. Especially, if the task at hand requires not only brute physical force, but also mental skills. One of the main objectives of optimal performance coaching is to access this zone of optimal performance, especially in situations where this might not be that easy (when we are in high stress or under severe pressure).
Richard Gevirtz, one of the founding fathers of HRV feedback, introduces the fundamentals of HRV feedback in this video. I have completed a major part of my HRV specialization with him.