Performance Tip: Keep a “blue” head

I read an article about the All Blacks this morning.

They are one of THE most successful rugby organizations in the world.

I was first interested in them because I was listening to Sara Erdner talk about a more holistic, whole child, approach to coaching that does not resort to, and rely on, fear to generate “results.”

She’s the one who mentioned the culture and philosophy of the All Blacks.

Anyway, the article I read had this tip I’m sharing below.

I love it because I think it’s excellent, not only for players, but for coaches and parents also …

Keep a blue head

Following their arguably premature exit at the 2003 World Cup, the All Blacks worked with forensic psychiatrist Ceri Evans to understand how the brain works under pressure. They wanted to overcome their habit of choking.

‘Red Head’ is an unresourceful state in which you are off task, panicked and ineffective. ‘Blue Head’, on the other hand, is an optimal state in which you are on task and performing to your best ability.

The All Blacks use triggers to switch from Red to Blue. Richie McCaw stamps his feet, literally grounding himself, while Kieran Read stares at the farthest point of the stadium, searching for the bigger picture.

Using these triggers, the players aim to achieve clarity and accuracy, so they can perform under pressure.”

Recognizing that you’re in that state of “red head” is obviously essential. Then, knowing and acknowledging that’s it’s not the most helpful state to be in is also necessary before you can ever hope to make this powerful shift.

I know parents/coaches who do the majority of their parenting/coaching or “teaching,” as a reaction to an event or behavior that upset them or mad them frustrated, irritated, or angry. I’ve been there too.

Sometimes, I still speak and make decisions in that state of upset or frustration. I’m learning to FIRST calm down, and return to that “blue head,” state BEFORE communicating with my family. It makes me much more effective in delivering messages in a way that can inspire true learning and lasting change vs just triggering and creating a “reaction” to my negative stimulus in my kids. I certainly don’t want to teach my kids (or others) to simply react to all the negative situations or occurrences in life as a way to live, though that’s what we often inadvertently train them to do when we choose to use fear to “teach.”

And I certainly know players who purposefully want to “get mad” so they can play better. Or coaches who want their team to “get mad” so they can focus more and try harder.

But that kind of “motivation” is fleeting. And it’s effects hit or miss, especially if your opponent knows how to use your anger and frustration against you.

There are much better ways to perform at your best and get yourself into that state of clarity and flow and much closer to your optimal level of performance.

If you are looking for ways to add these kinds of concepts to your peak performance skill set, I’ve got 3 tools you may want to check out …

  1. How to Get in the Zone with Essential Oils: free Facebook class that shows you how to make the mindset shifts you need to stay in flow and perform at your best day in and day out no matter what comes your way.
  2. Mindset Lessons with Paige Tonz: the Mental Game Mentor: help your daughter develop resilience and confidence, even in the face of adversity, with Paige’s mindset lessons.
    BONUS: email me stacie [at] after you sign up for your mindset lesson with Paige and I’ll send you a free bonus on pre-game prep you can do anywhere, any time, for free <3
  3. Fail Forward Bundle for COACHES: get 105 drills that help you develop resilient competitors that know how to play their best when it matters most!

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