Sports Performance Coaching

Sports Performance Coaching

In my UK clinics I have seen a significant number of clients for sports coaching. These clients range from professional athletes to members of the public who simply want to improve their skills. The focus of these sessions is to determine how to get into the best possible state needed to produce excellent results and to provide solid measurable evidence for performance improvements.

“I had the good fortune of learning about Nick whilst doing some research online about sports psychology and performance.
As a Manchester based international 100m and 200m track athlete I felt that although I was always physically prepared for my competitions I was very often mentally under prepared to perform – fear, self-doubt and negative thoughts often got in my way.
At the point I met Nick I had become frustrated with the traditional sports psychology approaches which I had been encouraged to use during my off season – mainly because they were not working. I had already started my 2014 competition season – so I needed to make a change – and fast.
This was no problem at all for Nick. We focused on the problems right away and I was able to implement the tools and techniques I learned immediately. I left the first session confident that this was going to be a very successful working partnership.
In the space of a month I met with Nick on three occasions and made instant improvements in my approach to competitions – I was happier, more confident, less effected by poor weather conditions and always ready to race. Each time I visited Nick I was able to tell him – almost unbelievably – that I had won another race. It was almost becoming boring. But only almost!
After a successful early season, the help Nick had given me really came to fruition on the day of the 2014 Commonwealth Games Trials. I was approaching the most significant race of the weekend, where the outcome would determine whether I would or would not be selected for Glasgow 2014. The pressure was intense, weather conditions were far from ideal and added to that I was tired having already run three top level races that weekend. I believe that ordinarily and without Nicks help I would have “gone to pieces” in that situation. Instead I ran a lifetime best time of 23.94, breaking through the elusive 24.00 second barrier to land on the podium.”

Five days later I was officially selected for The XX Commonwealth Games – Glasgow 2014.
Lucy Evans – International 100m, 200m and 4×100m relay athlete.

Sports Performance Coaching For Swimming the Channel

Sports performance coachingThe following session with Pete Windridge is one of the most memorable sessions for sports coaching where I used the Provocative Change Works approach to assist him in swimming the English Channel.
After seeing literally thousands of clients, it’s unusual to receive a request which stands out from the norm. However on

May 13th I received the following e-mail

“Hello Nick!
I am training to swim the English Channel this September. Whilst physical training is going well, I am sure I’d benefit from some assistance to deal with fears whilst in the water.
I am drawn to your service by your links to Paul McKenna (who provided some assistance for David Walliams swim), and the fact that you, like me are based in Horsforth.”

I asked Pete to complete and return a set of client notes and this is the key section he sent back which formed the basis of the first session.

After speaking to him on the phone I read his webpage about the project which says

“I’m Pete Windridge-France, aged 37 and originally from Manchester. I live in Leeds with my wife Sarah, and my 3 kids – Archie, Jem and Scarlett. My eldest lad Archie is 7 years old and has global developmental delay which means that he is mentally about 10 months old, and so can’t walk or talk. However, he is particularly brilliant at smiling, laughing and banging things together repeatedly!!

Archie goes to a special needs school (known as a SILC unit – Specialist Inclusive Learning Centre) in Leeds called Penny Field. The guys and girls at Penny Field are brilliant, but could always use more funds for equipment for the kids (standing & walking frames to get them up and about, or sensory equipment to get those brain synapses firing!!). I love swimming, but I’m no expert. Despite this, I reckon that raising money for Penny Fields to say thanks for all their good work is the least I can do. I thought swimming the Channel would be easy. Maybe it’s because David Walliams made it look easy! I am now finding about that it isn’t going to be easy. Follow my journey through pain, back operations, jellyfish and waves until I get to France! Please look around the site and please leave comments and ask me any questions you want!”


After reading this I decided that if we both found the initial session useful I would offer whatever help needed with this project on a pro bono basis to help with the project. I waited with interest to receive the returned client notes which arrived soon after the initial enquiry.
Here are the key points from Pete’s original client notes returned back to me in May 2011 where he detailed what he wanted from our 1 to 1 coaching sessions

Q What do you specifically want from this session?
A To become fearless in the water and use anything I currently perceive as scary as a positive – for example, I want to trigger feelings of fascination in the marine life I may encounter rather than trepidation. Also if I get stung by a jellyfish (likely) I need to ensure I translate it into a power-giving beneficial experience and convince myself that the jellyfish has “given” me it’s energy. Also want to be able to mentally trigger a surge in energy when the going gets tough to bolster my efforts. Be relentless, determined, grateful, and comfortable during my time in the water. I want to complete the channel with a smile on my face and appreciate the experience!
Q How will you know when you have it?
A Because I’ll be more comfortable in the water in my next Dover Training session (most weekends). I’ll look forward to them 100%, rather than be keen yet fearful. When my feet touch French sand!
Q What will be different once these changes occur?
A I’ll be a certified Channel Swimmer.
I’ll feel (damn near) invincible!
I’ll be proud of myself
Others will be impressed
I’ll know that I can follow through on an ambition
We agreed an initial session in May and then arranged follow up sessions in June, July, August and September the day before he headed down to Dover. All these sessions were recorded on CD and Pete listened back to the material and practised the PCW exercises on a daily basis to build the right psychological state for this task.

The Channel Swim Sept 24th 2011

On Sept 24th 2011 at 5am Pete set off to swim to France. Seventeen hours 55 minutes later having used all the techniques we practiced during his coaching sessions he arrived on dry land having swum the English Channel. On this day 10 swimmers left from Dover, only Pete and one other swimmer completed the Channel swim.

This is what he said afterwards

“Thank you for all your help – I couldn’t have done it without your help – You can now stand up in a room and say that your methods and techniques got this fat wheezing bloke across the channel, and I’d back you up 100%.”

Pete Windridge – France