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Unleashing Performance Potential: Mental Performance Insights from STOMP


Mindset Made Simple Tip #196Watch or listen HERE.


I couldn’t take my eyes off the stage…or my mind off the mentality.  It was amazing!

The energy and precision of STOMP blew me away!  We took our son for his 12th birthday and it was a present for all of us! 


If you’re not familiar, STOMP performers turn everyday objects into musical instruments and create a symphony of rhythm and movement.  Are they dancers, musicians or athletes?  From my perspective, they are a mix of all three but above all, they are amazing! 


These performances aren’t just about making noise—they are about mastering mental performance in a way that can teach us all a thing or two – then sinking themselves into ice baths after the performance so they can do it again the next day…or later in the day which seems humanly impossible!


As I sat there, captivated by the seamless synchronization and boundless energy of the performers, I couldn't help but wonder: How do they stay so precise, focused and connected throughout the entire production?


And then I thought, how can we get our athletes to be this connected, precise and locked in?  My mind was flooded with thoughts about their mindset, practice, communication, trust and complete presence, all things we need to perform at our peak!


Let’s start with the basics.  Positive emotion is one of the biggest predictors of peak performance. 


I DIDN’T SAY happy.  I said POSITIVE and when I think of “positive” I like to think PRODUCTIVE (then 'happy' isn’t in the focus…although being happy is good, too! 😊).  


Whether you use “positive” or “productive”, we know our mindset matters to our performance.  What we think turns into how we feel. How we feel affects how we behave.  How we behave affects our performance.  And our performance influences our results. 


It starts at the top…literally! (I am sure these performers have heard "take it from the top" a gazillion times!).


I don’t know if the performers were happy, felt good or even liked each other, but their appearance – their energy, expressions and posture all SCREAMED POSITIVE (or productive). 


The point?  No matter how they felt that night, they were there to entertain NO MATTER WHAT and I am sure after watching what they put every inch of their bodies through to make music that there are nights that are harder than others. That is their job.  Period.  They seem to approach each performance with purpose and passion, channeling their energy into every beat and movement.


Athletes don’t walk on the field to entertain, but they have a job and can approach each performance with a sense of purpose and passion, channeling their energy into every movement, whether they are happy, feel good or like each other. Period!


Yes, it starts at the top, but what our bodies can do matters, too.  Missing a beat could throw off the whole set.  How do they stay so tight?


It’s also about practice.  As they say, the separation is in the preparation.  As I sat there in awe, I could only wonder how much these guys (and gals) practice.  One misstep and, boom, it could get blown up, aside from the fact that someone could get hurt!  The precision was amazing. 


Just going to rehearsal is the minimum.  To be this precise, it takes deliberate practice and more…much more.  It seems they would need to be in constant rehearsal in their minds, bodies, and souls as they prepare to tour.  They know EXACTLY how it is supposed to feel and the exact timing of every move…no matter how they feel!  They drill their routines together, on their own, and in their minds.  They must hone their skills so that when they're on stage, they can perform with precision, connection, and confidence…and so much more. 


It starts with their mindset. Intense practice is vital.  But how do they stay so connected for 90+ minutes?  It's all about communication and trust. Like a well-oiled machine, STOMP performers rely on each other to stay in sync and maintain the rhythm. They communicate through subtle cues and gestures, anticipating each other's movements and adjusting in real time. It's a beautiful dance of collaboration and trust.  Isn’t that what we are looking for from those we lead?


All I could think of is, if they can do this, why do teams have such a hard time remaining in sync?  I think it has to do with the next two characteristics of this performance.


Psychologists tell us that trust is essential for effective teamwork and collaboration. When team members trust each other, they're more likely to communicate openly, take risks, and support each other's growth. And that's exactly what happens on stage during a STOMP performance. The performers trust each other implicitly, knowing that they're all working towards the same goal: to create something truly magical.


Is that it?  Is that the key?  Is the goal and decision to make something magical more acceptable or likely on stage than it is in competition?  Because I am not sure our athletes go into things thinking…let’s make this magical.  So often many go in thinking, “If I do” or “If I don’t!”  You know where that is going!


These performers are human, too.  I am sure they are trying to promote their careers and reputations.  There was a “star” of the show, and although subtle, each performer held up their role perfectly…even if they weren’t the funny guy or the “go-to” guy who was in the center of every set.  I don’t know what they were thinking, but EVERYONE on stage was on fire…no matter the scene or their job.


TRUST.  I hear this word so often from my athletes. I’d probably hear it from my teams, too, if their teammates weren’t in the session.  But we don’t TRUST!  Is it because we want to be the star?  Did we not prepare enough to communicate and work in sync?  Is it the stories we tell ourselves about what we can do…or the stories we tell ourselves…or others tell us about our teammates? 

This had me stumped.  How do they do it…and why is it so hard for us (not all of us, of course, but a lot of us!)


These performers trust each other to be where they need to be.  But does it start with them trusting themselves to be where they need to be…every single time?  Do they understand that it starts with trusting themselves and that every time they step on the stage they are reaffirming their belief in themselves and their abilities?  


Or do they understand that if they want to be their best, they need every move from everyone, so they commit to the task and each other?  Because without each other, it just doesn’t work!  WHAT A LESSON FOR US!


But perhaps the most important lesson we can learn from STOMP is the power of presence. In a world filled with distractions and noise, being fully present in the moment is a rare and precious gift. And yet, that's exactly what they do every time they step onto the stage. They're completely present, fully immersed in the music and the movement, letting go of everything else and surrendering to the rhythm.


I am sure they make mistakes, just like we do.  But no one is throwing up their hands, hanging their heads, blaming the lights, the stage or their fellow performers.  There is no time for that.  The rhythm moves on…just like the game does.  And if they stop to “woulda, shoulda, coulda". It just can’t happen! 


They stay connected…so outward-focused.  In sync with the world around them…not inside their heads. 


As Sonny and Cher said, “The beat goes on.”  And no matter how they feel or what they just did, so do they.  Connected, communicating and together!


How can we take these lessons to our next competition?  Our mindset matters.  How we think, feel and act affects how we perform.   How we practice matters and just going not practice isn’t enough to build trust in our own minds.  If we don’t trust ourselves, how can others trust us?  To be connected to the game, we must communicate…eyes up, minds in!  And finally, to work at our best with everyone around us, we must be THERE…or HERE…NOW…doing what we can, with what we have, where we are!


These are the peak performance lessons of STOMP.  What an amazing night!


Julie


P.S. Do you want your team to perform better?  Reach out and get them the tools they need to be their best! Shoot me a text at 234-206-0946 or an email at juliej@ssbperformance.com 

and get scheduled today!


Julie Jones

Mental Performance Coach

SSB Performance

juliej@ssbperformance.com • 234-206-0946 

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