How Sports Can Improve Your Business

By David BreslowSeptember 8, 2004, 4:00 pm
Im often asked by people in business if the insights, principles and tools in the Perform In The FlowZone program for athletes can be used to help people be more successful and productive on and off the job. The answer is a resounding YES.
 
Many organizations offer training programs for their employees that focus on topics such as leadership, change management, effective communication and stress management in addition to other forms of technical training. In the Perform In The FlowZone At Work workshops we focus on the mind/body/performance insights, mindsets and practical everyday tools that help people excel in changing environments on the job. Beyond traditional training, the focus is on root cause mind/body/performance principles that are linked with the success habits and mental game principles that trigger peak performance in sports as well as other fields.
 
People in business perform every day. Similar to athletes, they are challenged by both external environmental issues and internal factors (confidence, stress, limiting beliefs, attitudes, perceptions, etc.). Performing well on the job requires not only some of the same tools athletes use but also the insights that help break limiting patterns and allow people to perform up to their potential and be at the top of their game on a consistent basis.
 
THE HIDDEN INGREDIENT
Think about what golf or any other sport demands of you in order for you to perform it well. Of course, there is the mechanical side of the game that focuses on developing the proper technical skill. Then we want to increase our knowledge about the game through experience as this serves as a guide to play the game more effectively. Beyond technical skill and knowledge however, there is another aspect of performance that generates an even more powerful influence on your game. Great athletes understand there is a hidden ingredient that exists beyond the mechanics and knowledge and that understanding it allows them to perform their best. Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods both stated that when they developed their inner game their performance went to another level. They had great physical skills but when they harnessed their mental and emotional skills and brought all three together, they really understood how much the inner game influenced the outer game. They understood that talent alone takes you only so fareven great talent!
 
There are talented people who dont perform up to their potential in many walks of life. How many people with talent do you know who dont perform up to their potential? Talent is only part of the equation. Everyone on the PGA or LPGA tour is talented. What separates them? Most would agree, its the hidden ingredient of the inner game.
 
People in business experience the same performance related challenges as athletes do. Environments charged with too much negative energy, poor stress/recovery habits, work/life balance issues, confidence, burnout and subtle forms of self-sabotage can all cause a person to underperform on the job. This costs organizations time, productivity and money. In the FlowZone program, people in organizations learn the same insights that clarify how the mind/ body/performance principles operate to create optimal performance and the practical daily tools and strategies to bridge the gap between knowledge and application.
 
SIMILARITIES BETWEEN SPORTS AND BUSINESS
Athletes develop the following skills/traits and these same skills are appropriate for success in the business environment as well. They include:
  • Present Time Focus

  • Resilience during adversity

  • Decision Making under pressure

  • Confident optimism

  • Balancing stress and recovery

  • Honest and direct communication designed to build spirit

  • Clear vision and goals

  • Focus on excellence

  • Focus on team success

  • Build energy rather than deplete it each day

  • Setting an environment that triggers success

  • Leadership that inspires the best from others
There are also some interesting differences between sports and business as well. Here are a few of them:
 
Athletes train themselves to perform in high stress situations
In business people may not train (the mind, the body, emotion or spirit) to perform at a high level for extended periods of time.
 
Athletes expect to work with a great coach
Coaching in the business world sometimes has a negative connotation and may be resisted
 
Athletes practice more than they actually perform
In business the norm is to perform more than practice
 
Athletes develop rituals and routines that trigger high performance states
People in business may have routines that dont trigger high performance states
 
Athletes know how to balance work/stress with recovery
People in business may experience burnout due to overwork and over stress causing them to experience the crash - burn - recover cycle.
 
Do you think improving these areas would make a difference for you? The business and sports worlds can learn a great deal from each other to create an environment of positive energy that fuels the best from people.
 
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    Copyright 2004 David Breslow. David is the author of Wired To Win and offers a highly acclaimed Perform In The FlowZone' program for sports and business. David has appeared on The Golf Channel, ESPN radio, etc. For more programs/services/products or sign up for a free newsletter (write newsletter in subject box). Also, review the new series of Performance Training Manuals available online! Contact: David Breslow at 847.681.1698 Email: David@theflowzone.net or visit the web: www.theflowzone.net For book orders call toll free: 1.888.280.7715
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    McIlroy gets back on track

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 21, 2018, 3:10 pm

    There’s only one way to view Rory McIlroy’s performance at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship:

    He is well ahead of schedule.

    Sure, McIlroy is probably disappointed that he couldn’t chase down Ross Fisher (and then Tommy Fleetwood) on the final day at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. But against a recent backdrop of injuries and apathy, his tie for third was a resounding success. He reasserted himself, quickly, and emerged 100 percent healthy.

    “Overall, I’m happy,” he said after finishing at 18-under 270, four back of Fleetwood. “I saw some really, really positive signs. My attitude, patience and comfort level were really good all week.”

    To fully appreciate McIlroy’s auspicious 2018 debut, consider his state of disarray just four months ago. He was newly married. Nursing a rib injury. Breaking in new equipment. Testing another caddie. His only constant was change. “Mentally, I wasn’t in a great place,” he said, “and that was because of where I was physically.”

    And so he hit the reset button, taking the longest sabbatical of his career, a three-and-a-half-month break that was as much psychological as physical. He healed his body and met with a dietician, packing five pounds of muscle onto his already cut frame. He dialed in his TaylorMade equipment, shoring up a putting stroke and wedge game that was shockingly poor for a player of his caliber. Perhaps most importantly, he cleared his cluttered mind, cruising around Italy with wife Erica in a 1950s Mercedes convertible.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    After an intense buildup to his season debut, McIlroy was curious about the true state of his game, about how he’d stack up when he finally put a scorecard in his hand. It didn’t take him long to find out. 

    Playing the first two rounds alongside Dustin Johnson – the undisputed world No. 1 who was fresh off a blowout victory at Kapalua – McIlroy beat him by a shot. Despite a 103-day competitive layoff, he played bogey-free for 52 holes. And he put himself in position to win, trailing by one heading into the final round. Though Fleetwood blew away the field with a back-nine 30 to defend his title, McIlroy collected his eighth top-5 in his last nine appearances in Abu Dhabi.

    “I know it’s only three months,” he said, “but things change, and I felt like maybe I needed a couple of weeks to get back into the thought process that you need to get into for competitive golf. I got into that pretty quickly this week, so that was the most pleasing thing.”

    The sense of relief afterward was palpable. McIlroy is entering his 11th full year as a pro, and deep down he likely realizes 2018 is shaping up as his most important yet.

    The former Boy Wonder is all grown up, and his main challengers now are a freakish athlete (DJ) and a trio of players under 25 (Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm) who don’t lack for motivation or confidence. The landscape has changed significantly since McIlroy’s last major victory, in August 2014, and the only way he’ll be able to return to world No. 1 is to produce a sustained period of exceptional golf, like the rest of the game’s elite. (Based on average points, McIlroy, now ranked 11th, is closer to the bottom of the rankings, No. 1928, than to Johnson.)

    But after years of near-constant turmoil, McIlroy, 28, finally seems ready to pursue that goal again. He is planning the heaviest workload of his career – as many as 30 events, including seven more starts before the Masters – and appears refreshed and reenergized, perhaps because this year, for the first time in a while, he is playing without distractions.

    Not his relationships or his health. Not his equipment or his caddie or his off-course dealings.

    Everything in his life is lined up.

    Drama tends to follow one of the sport’s most captivating characters, but for now he can just play golf – lots and lots of golf. How liberating.

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    Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

    Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

    Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

    There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.


    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


    Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

    The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

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    Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

    Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

    Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

    It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

    While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.

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    McIlroy (T-3) notches another Abu Dhabi close call

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:08 pm

    Rory McIlroy's trend of doing everything but hoist the trophy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is alive and well.

    Making his first start since early October, McIlroy showed few signs of rust en route to a tie for third. Amid gusty winds, he closed with a 2-under 70 to finish the week at 18 under, four shots behind Tommy Fleetwood who rallied to win this event for the second consecutive year.

    The result continues a remarkable trend for the Ulsterman, who has now finished third or better seven of the last eight years in Abu Dhabi - all while never winning the tournament. That stretch includes four runner-up finishes and now two straight T-3 results.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    McIlroy is entering off a disappointing 2017 in which he was injured in his first start and missed two chunks of time while trying to regain his health. He has laid out an ambitious early-season schedule, one that will include a trip to Dubai next week and eight worldwide tournament starts before he heads to the Masters.

    McIlroy started the final round one shot off the lead, and he remained in contention after two birdies over his first four holes. But a bogey on No. 6 slowed his momentum, and McIlroy wasn't able to make a back-nine birdie until the closing hole, at which point the title was out of reach.