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Learning From The All-Blacks

‘The way we were going was not going to cut the mustard in the professional era’ 
Gilbert Enoka, Mental Skills Coach For The All-Blacks 

Last week, the Chicago Cubs won the US base-ball World Series for the first time in 108
years. 

On Saturday, the Irish rugby team beat the New-Zealand All-Black for the first time ever. 

What do they have in common? 

I think overcoming significant negative mental hurdles – like self-belief, doubt etc. 

What’s fascinating about the All-Blacks is that even though they have long been regarded as
the best team in the world, they had a track record of ‘choking’ in the big games. 

Unknownst to most people, they had recognised that as a serious problem and covertly hired
Gilbert Enoka to work as a full-time mental skills coach. 

When I say covertly, they pretended for a few years that he was a masseur, such was the
stigma attached to having anything to do with psychology near the ‘macho’ team. 

That has all changed since they won the World Cup in 2011 and their competitors (incl.
Ireland) have realised the power of the mind as well. 

Things like belief, focus in the present and ability to stay calm under pressure. 

What’s great about the time we’re living in is that key mental skills are possible to improve. 

If even the most ‘macho’ teams are working hard on the ‘soft’ skills of the mind to make
themselves better, maybe we should up our game too? 

Mental skills aren’t just for sports people.

And the way most people are going won’t ‘cut the mustard’ in The Digital era. 

Best, Shane

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