Recorded Radio Interview With Sports Psychologist

Tim Webster (Macquarie Sports Radio) and Gareth J. Mole (Condor Performance) chat on the radio about various Sports Psychology topics.

Radio Interview:

Full Transcription:

Tim:                                            All right, let’s talk a bit of psychology. They do say, sometimes, that sport can be 80 percent in your head and 20 percent ability. Or is it the other way around? Well, let’s find out.

Tim:                                            Well you hear often that our sports people turn to sports psychologists for help and you wonder how prevalent that is. Well let’s find out. I’ve got Gareth Mole from Condor Performance Sports and Performance Psychology on the line. Good date Gareth.

Gareth J. Mole:                   Hey, Tim, how are you doing?

Tim:                                            Good, how often do sports people turn to you?

Gareth J. Mole:                   Not as often as you would think. Tim. I suppose the peculiarity of our profession is that most people are completely aware that the mental side plays a massive role. The old cliché that golfers seem to use is that their sport is 90 percent mental. And yet for some reason, it doesn’t transfer in to a massive percentage of athletes and coaches using our services, to the degree where you would think they would. Based on what we specialise in.

Tim:                                            Yeah, interesting you should mention that because golf, I actually asked Greg Norman that question, some years ago. He didn’t say 90 percent, but he said 80. He said “Look we can all play on the tour, we can all shoot rounds of golf under par and then it becomes the mental side of it.” And you see golfers, don’t you, often, and they seem to implode. And that has to be, it can’t just be the ability to play the game. It has to be mental.

Gareth J. Mole:                   Yes, absolutely. A good way of, my response to Greg’s 80 percent would be two things. One, as athletes improve, the mental side becomes more dominant. The fact is that an eight year old playing golf with his buddies, it is predominately technical. The guy who can chip the best is probably going to do the best. It is very technical at that level. But what happens, Tim, and there’s a growing amount of research for this is that as athletes improve, because everybody is good at the technical … let’s be honest, let’s look at tennis as an example.

Gareth J. Mole:                   If we look at the top 100 tennis players in the world, technically, they’re all very very good.

Tim:                                            Yes.

Gareth J. Mole:                   Physically, that means fitness, strength, cardio fitness and flexibility. They’re all very very good. So therefore, what’s making the Roger Federers of the this world consistently better than the guys ranked 100 or 500, given that physically and technically he’s not that much better than them. And really it boils down to what’s left if everybody is more or less even when it comes to those. And of course, what’s left is the mental side. And that’s a good way of, I suppose, adding a little bit of details to that 90 or 80 percent mental. The full answer is golf, becomes 80 to 90 percent mental when you get to the point where you can’t really improve your back swing. Or your fitness and therefore the remaining improvement need to come in things like concentration, confidence, motivation and the like

Tim:                                            There’s so many examples to use, currently. Novak Djokovic being one of them. Now, in a real bad patch with his form, and he was the dominant player in the game for many many years along with and Roger of course. And he’s only 30 and Roger is significantly older than him and Rafael’s about the same age. Now he’s coming back from an elbow injury, but you’d think he wouldn’t be playing if the injury was still plaguing him physically, so then is it plaguing him mentally?

Gareth J. Mole:                   Well, you would expect, yeah. The tricky thing when it comes to what we do is because we don’t have direct contact with those particular players. And so in many ways we’re just like tennis fans like the rest of us where we watch them in the Australian open and so on and so forth. And it’s tricky to know exactly who’s involved in the entourage, so to speak. For those kind of complications. The interesting thing about Novak is of course, couple of things happened, I think he got married and that massively improved his performance for a patch.

Gareth J. Mole:                   And there’s a reason for that. Which essentially is based on the distribution of pressure. If you’ve got a successful home life, suddenly, getting knocked out in a semi final of a grand slam isn’t the tragedy that you thought it was if you were obsessed, unhealthily obsessed as a single person. And then of course, the injuries … the changing of the coaches, very very frequently is quite another interesting thing to observe from afar. Because of course, at that level, the fascinating thing about the coach-athlete relationship at the highest level is, if we’re to be completely honest, the likes of Boris Becker for example, or Stefan Edberg, they’re not telling the likes of Novak Djokovic how to hit a back hand.

Tim:                                            No no.

Gareth J. Mole:                   They must be, predominantly coaching the metal side. And the fascinating thing from our perspective is, is being a former player a sufficient qualification for you to dispense psychological advice?

Tim:                                            Good question.

Gareth J. Mole:                   Now, my gut instinct is no. It’s not. With all due respect to somebody who has won five or six grand slams as Boris Becker may have. What mental strategies that have been, I suppose recommended by the scientific research which of course is what we use to make sure that there’s no guesswork involved in our work. Is being used. And therefore, what I think is going to happen over the next five to ten years, Tim, and we’re only just starting to see it, is, I think you’ll start seeing a much greater percentage of coaches consulting with sports psychologist. We’ve started to see a shift in the last couple of years. And the theory behind that is, you don’t want to send an ex-athlete off to university for seven years to get a psychology degree. Because by the time they’ve finished, everyone would have forgotten about them.

Gareth J. Mole:                   And you probably don’t want to force a psychology student to play 200 games in the NRL before you then allow him to help some.

Tim:                                            I’ve got you. Yeah I understand.

Gareth J. Mole:                   So the ideal combination is where you get the people who really know their stuff in this are, which of course is us. And you put them with a coach and the combination of our knowledge with their experience in sport, should be pretty useful when it comes to them coaching athletes at the highest level.

Tim:                                            Yeah, look there’s so many examples, currently to use, but I tell you one that worries me, and tell me if I’m being worried unnecessarily about a young ruby league player, in this instance, and there’s probably a few we could nominate. Jackson Hastings who’s had all sorts of dramas, mainly confrontation with his captain. Out at a night club. And he’s been flicked down to reserve grade four. Allegedly the rest of the year. Now, kids only 21. And the pressure that that places on him, mentally, worries me. Should I be worried about that?

Gareth J. Mole:                   Yeah, look it’s a good question. Look, the short answer is no. He lives in Australia, this is one of the best countries in the world to be, if the wheels start falling of anything. Compared to so many other places. So, I don’t think so. There is a question of … and it’s a question that we’re constantly weighing up, me and my colleagues. Of, the overlap of mental health and what we call mental toughness. Just to very briefly go back to my initial comment about sports psychologist being used less than you would think. My gut instinct as to one of the major contributing factors to why that is, is the confusion between mental health and mental toughness. And a very simple way of separating them is: mental health is the stuff which, depression, anxiety, and stress for example. Which anybody could be suffering with.

Gareth J. Mole:                   It’s a real issue and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. And me and my four colleagues at Condor Performance are a tad controversial, Tim, in that we personally believe that sport psychologist probably shouldn’t be helping rugby league players with clinical depression. Given, that there are, I think 15 or 16,000 clinical psychologist in Australia …

Tim:                                            To deal with that, yeah.

Gareth J. Mole:                   Who are very very very experienced at dealing with that. And therefore, we believe that mental health should be taken very seriously, but shouldn’t be confused with mental toughness. Now, mental toughness, we believe is like the technical side and the physical side. Would apply to all athletes of all levels. We’re talking about a basic concept such as concentration. Can someone who’s concentration is pretty good, be improved to be so that it’s excellent? So that it’s almost infallible? So in that example that you just mentioned with Jackson, where, are you concerned. My gut instinct, again, I don’t have anymore information that you probably have.

Tim:                                            No.

Gareth J. Mole:                   But my feeling is, there’s a lot of cases in many different sports where the first thing that they’d kind of want to work out, is, is this particular athlete … have some kind of a mental illness? In which case, they go down that path. Or, are they actually mentally fine, but some of the issues that they are struggling with, just due to the fact that no one at the club, the coach, is not particularly skilled when it comes to coaching mental aspects such as confidence and [crosstalk 00:11:02].

Tim:                                            Yeah, and they become ostracised. So.

Gareth J. Mole:                   That’s right.

Tim:                                            So when athletes come to you, what’s the main thing that they want? Improve performance, obviously, yes?

Gareth J. Mole:                   Yeah, so it’s a whole bunch of words that start with the letter C. And it’s quite remarkable, because they kind of all start with the letter C. So typically when people first contact us, they fill in a mental toughness questionnaire. And it’s a self report measure. That’s one of the other weaknesses of psychology, unlike a fitness test, where you can’t fake it, you can’t fake a

Tim:                                            No.

Gareth J. Mole:                   You can totally fake a psychological test. Because you can give answers based on what your dad wants to hear for example. But it’s a self report measure and it generates a whole bunch of scores and those scores related to areas that we regard as critical for performance and entirely mental toughness related. And they are basically things like concentration, confidence, commitment, creativity, communication. So sometimes the term mental toughness is used like a single concept. Like “oh, can you help me with this particular athlete, because he’s mentally weak, can you make him mentally tougher?”

Gareth J. Mole:                   The term mental toughness is actually a little bit broad. Because it’s quite possible for someone to contact us who’s commitment levels, there’s one of the C words, the commitment levels is excellent. But their confidence is way down. And then someone else contacts us and it’s the exact opposite. In other words, they’re actually quite confident, when it comes to playing and training et cetera. But they’ve lost all their motivation. And one of the reasons why the, we insist on working with almost every body one on one, whether they be a team sport athlete or an individual athlete, is because of the fact that every body’s mental toughness profile is a little bit different. And therefore, you can imagine the work that’s getting done with someone who’s confidence is high, but who’s commitment is low, is very different from the work that’s done with someone who’s profile is the opposite.

Tim:                                            Yeah, and look it’s a fascinating discussion, it is. And thank you for sparing the time. And I could talk to you for a long time. But let’s just finish with this, and come back to golf. Because Jason Day has recently said, yeah he’d love to be the world number one again, but he had all of these things going on in his life last year, his mum became very sick, his wife had a miscarriage, and life was awful. Now, he says, “Life’s great at home and I’ve got nothing to think about but golf.” And he stopped going to the gym, because that was hurting him, he just concentrated on playing golf. But if it’s rugby league or rugby union or AFL, you’re playing for 80, 90 minutes. Golf is, you’ve got to concentrate, there’s that C word again. Over four days in a major championship. Surely that requires a lot of what mental toughness, focus, what?

Gareth J. Mole:                   Yeah, look. Let’s be honest. Anything, any test cricket in golf, are pretty remarkable in that …

Tim:                                            Hours and hours. Yeah.

Gareth J. Mole:                   Yeah. The way we do it very simple, and if there’s any cricketers or golfers listening they can absolutely implement this. During a four hour round of golf, Tim, you only really want to be concentrating for about seven or eight minutes. So the majority of the time, during a four hour round of golf, and this applies to test cricket as well, is not spent playing cricket or golf. Think about it, you hit a tee shot and you then have a …

Tim:                                            Then you walk for …

Gareth J. Mole:                   That’s right. Now walking …

Tim:                                            Hopefully 300 meters. Yeah.

Gareth J. Mole:                   That’s right. Walking, even if you duff it, you probably still have to walk for about 45 seconds. So, the huge mistake made my most of those start-stop athletes that we call them. Any sport which involves attempt, stop, attempt, stop, attempt.

Tim:                                            Got you. Yeah.

Gareth J. Mole:                   All of those table sports. The big mental mistake made by all of them, is they try to concentrate as best they can from the beginning and they aren’t aware that human beings just are incapable of maximum concentration for longer than about an hour. Most of us, will peak at about 45 minutes. It’s why school classes normally are around about 45 minutes or an hour. Because they know this kind of thing. And therefore, if your sport is something that goes for longer than an hour. And involves start, stop, start, stop, one of the simplest, easiest to implement mental strategies is the use of routines, pre-shot routines.

Tim:                                            Yeah, all of it. Yeah.

Gareth J. Mole:                   For golf, whereby you are only starting your concentration about ten seconds before each attempt. And you are intentionally switching off about five to ten seconds after each attempt. So with the exception of putting, because there’s no walking involved. That virtually guarantees that you are resting your mind for a lot longer between the shots than you are using your mind just prior to each shot. And therefore, concentration levels could potentially be maximised day after day after day. Because you’re not concentrating for four hours, you’re concentrating for about 25 seconds and then resting for another few minutes.

Tim:                                            I’m with you. Yeah. God it’s a fascinating subject and that’s absolutely true in relation to golf, and I know I said it was the last thing, but just one more thing because it does fascinate me. You’ll see Jason Day do that. The pre-shot routine where he does that little flutter with his eyes, and it’s exactly the same thing every time. And then, you’ll often see him laughing and smiling with his caddy or his playing partner. Whereas, Tiger Woods on the other hand, looks like he’s focused and zoned in all of the time. Is he?

Gareth J. Mole:                   Well, yeah, again, another very interesting question and all I can do is, I suppose, comment based on what I’ve seen. My feeling is that Tiger wouldn’t have been able to achieve what he achieved at his peak if he wasn’t using some pretty effective switch on, switch off strategies like I’ve just mentioned. It’s just, we just know from the research, Tim, human beings can not concentrate for four hours at a time. So my feeling is that there was either, a little bit of gamesmanship going on with Tiger, whereby he was able to mentally switch off but have everyone else think he was not switching off. So that of course they would copy him and mentally burn out on the 12th hole. Which is what most people do.

Gareth J. Mole:                   Either he was doing that, or he was just switching on, switching off and we had no way of actually telling. What Jason’s doing there with the laughing and joking around with the caddy, that’s the much more obvious way to do it. Because by doing that and being overtly relaxed between shots, those actions, as a general rule, actions lead the mind. That’s the philosophy that we use. In other words, we don’t actually spend a whole lot of time trying to change peoples thoughts. We spend a lot of time helping people change their actions. Which leads to, generally, more useful thought.

Tim:                                            Yeah, right.

Gareth J. Mole:                   And the chances of you forgetting to switch off, if you are chatting to your caddy about the movie you saw a couple of days ago, are much lower, let’s be honest. There’s a much higher risk if you are only mentally switching off, but it still looks like you have laser focus throughout the entire full round.

Tim:                                            Yeah.

Gareth J. Mole:                   It would be easy to forget.

Tim:                                            Yeah. It’s all very fascinating. So Condor Performance Sports and Performance Psychology. We’d find you on the net I’m sure if anyone wanted to get in contact?

Gareth J. Mole:                   Yes, Tim, absolutely. And I look forward to speaking to you further whenever you guys want to have a chat about the mental side. As you could probably tell, we could probably talk on a weekly basis and I’d be more than happy to make myself available for that.

Tim:                                            Yeah, well that’ll be lovely because the whole subject fascinates me. Thanks Gareth, thanks very much.

Gareth J. Mole:                   Thanks, Tim.

Tim:                                            That’s Gareth Mole from Condor Performance.

What Does A Sports Psychologist Do?

What does a sports psychologist actually do? In summary we assist those involved in sport to improve both the mental side of their performance (mental toughness) as well as their overall mental health and wellbeing.

Sports Psychologists assist those involved in sport to improve both the mental side of their performance (mental toughness) as well as their overall mental health and wellbeing

Yes indeed – what a great question that is. What does a sports psychologist actually do? In summary we assist those involved in sport to improve both the mental side of their performance (mental toughness) as well as their overall mental health and wellbeing.

One thing is for sure – at the time of writing (February 2019) – a shocking number of those who use the protected title ‘sports psychologists’ are not actually qualified psychologists at all. A significant number of those working on the ‘mental side of sport and performance’ are embarrassingly under qualified. Most of these charlatans are taking advantage of the fact that far too many people involved in sport (parents, administrators) either don’t want to or don’t know how to check the credentials of their service providers.

Last year in Australia there was a shocking story about the organisation who were put in charge of the mental preparation of the Adelaide Crows AFL team during their 2018 preseason . To sum it up; not a registered psychologist in sight but plenty of pseudo-psychology taking place.

If you’re reading this and thinking to yourself ‘but how do we know’ then this is what to do. Find out how to check if a psychologist is in fact a registered (chartered) psychologist in the country in which they’re located. In Australia this is a very simple two minute task using The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) online Register of practitioners tool. Most other countries in the developed world will have similar internet based checking systems.

Why is it more important for the psychologist to be registered in their country rather than that of the client? Psychologists are increasingly delivering sessions via videoconference technologies and due to this are becoming a profession Sans Frontières (without borders). At Condor Performance more than two thirds of our individual sporting clients are from other English speaking countries around the world. The fine print of our professional insurance is very clear that we’re allowed to work ‘worldwide’ as long as our clients know we’re registered psychologists in Australia and therefore would know which regulator to contact in the unlikely even they wanted to make a complaint.

One reasonable resulting question from all this might then be ‘why is making sure the sports psychologist is actually a registered psychologist so important?’ The answer to this question is both complex and controversial. But I would suggest the best response is similar to why your teeth would prefer you to see a qualified dentist and your children’s formal education are always better off in the hands of a certified teacher.

Another interesting observation from inside the ropes is the fact that the majority of sports psychologists don’t actually work with sporting clients after they become qualified. When I did my Masters of Sports Psychology at The University of Western Sydney (back in 2004, 2005) I was one of ten who graduated from the program. To my knowledge only two of us are currently focused on assisting sporting clients. That means that 80% are applying their sports psychology expertise to other areas. This begs the question – is there a better label than ‘sports psychologist’?

We think so and always have. Sport is a type of performance, in the same way that music is and many other non sporting purists (performance is not a type of sport). Hence if we were starting from the very beginning we’d likely be better off describing ourselves as either ‘performance psychologists’ or ‘sport and performance psychologist’. It should come as no surprise, then that these are the labels we chose for our exceptional team of psychologists.

For more on this topic have a listen to the answer to one of our Frequently Asked Questions “What Do Sports Psychologists Do?”

1500 Months Delivered By Dave

Performance psychologist David Barracosa recently begun delivering this 1500th month of 1-on-1 mental toughness training as a Condor Performance employee.

At Condor Performance we love a good milestone. In fact we even love the word ‘milestone’. Without any need to look it up on Wikipedia I assume the word originates from the old stone distance indictors that can still be found to this day in parts of Great Britain showing both the distance to and distance from various important towns and cities.

Well I don’t know where our final destination will be but due to being a company of meticulous collectors of statistics I can tell you exactly where we have come from.

Although I started Condor Performance in 2005 for most of the first eight or nine years the 1-on-1 work we did with athletes was pretty orthodox. Our clients basically paid for one hour session at a time with no contact in between. I can’t recall exactly what triggered it but around 2013 / 2014 we decided that there must be a better, more flexible way for us to assist both our sporting and non sporting clients.

With that our Monthly Options were born whereby the session-by-session approach was replaced by a month-by-month system. One of huge advantages of this change from the clients point of view was being able to have sessions are varying lengths as long as the total session time during the month was about what they’d paid for. Another benefit was the ability for the sports psychologist and client to interact between sessions via email and SMS to ensure the mental momentum made during session time was not lost.

As David Barracosa joined us in 2012 he was one of the original performance psychologists asked to deliver the monthly system from the very start (the other two psychologists still working for us who were around at that time were Chris Pomfret and myself). In other words apart from his first two years – when he was still training – David has only really known the month-by-month approach to mental coaching and very recently (February 2019) he reached yet another ‘milestone moment’.

The milestone being that Dave recently begun delivering this 1500th month of 1-on-1 mental toughness training as a Condor Performance employee. As impressive as this is maybe what’s even more noteworthy is the consistency he’s shown over the last 5 years. As can be seen via the bar chart above Dave’s experience has steadily increased year by year since we switched to this more flexible form of consulting.

Congratulations Dave from all of your teammates here at Condor Performance.

Performance Consistency, of course, is one of the many areas that we help our clients with so it’s particularly satisfying when it’s something we manage in our own performance as sport and performance psychologists.

For more details about the month by month approach to mental conditioning have a listen to the answers to our 12 most Frequently Asked Questions.

VIDEO: About ‘Condor Performance’ – International Sports Psychologists

This very short YouTube video sums up what the sports psychologists from Condor Performance do and how they could help you with your sporting goals.

This video is the same as the one on our Homepage – we’ve added it here via YouTube in case you are having trouble watching is through Vimeo.

Transcription Below

The final frontier in the pursuit of sporting excellence is how to improve mental toughness; how to improve the mind as well as the body.

But of course, you already know that.

You’re just looking for the right way to go about it.

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

We work with a wide range of people from sporting to non-sporting performance, from amateurs to high performers, and professionals.

And our fastest growing group of clients; coaches themselves looking to improve the way they coach the mental side of their particular sport. 

We use Skype and FaceTime for most consultations which enables us to have sessions at much more meaningful times such as before or after training, or in the moments prior to a crucial competition or performance. 

Get in touch by completing one of the Mental Toughness Questionnaires on the MTQ page of our website, and we’ll try to get back to you within 24 hours.

Is The Correct Spelling ‘Sports Psychologist’ or ‘Sport Psychologist’?

The correct spelling is with the ‘s’ using the plural of the word sport – sports. This is due to the fact that sports psychologists work across many sports.

I suppose one way to answer this is a tad sarcastic – it depends if the psychologist is working across more than one sport or not! Truth be told the correct term is ‘sports psychologist’ using the plural version of the word ‘sport’. If the psychologist only worked with clients of a single sport it would make much more sense to refer to yourself as a ‘golf psychologist’ or ‘tennis psychologist’ (for example).

The reason why the singular version – sport psychologist – still gets used a fair bit (hence the confusion) is down to something called ‘word blending’. Word blending occurs when the end of one word in a phrase or sentence has the same sound as the start of the next word and therefore the words gets ‘blended’ and it’s not actually possible to hear where that common sounds belongs. Examples in English are ‘apple lover’ and ‘circus stars’.

Due to word blending the terms ‘sports psychologist’ and ‘sport psychologist’ sound exactly the same when spoken and this has caused some confusion regarding the correct spelling.

Note: this article was written before we stumbled across a very informative blog post on the same topic by Canadian sports psychologist Kate F. Hays where she correctly points out that the original correct spelling was actually without the s – so sport psychology and a sport psychologist. Google, however, suggests more searches with the s so it might be a case of it’s becoming the correct spelling .

Motivation and Delayed Gratification

The Stanford Marshmallow Experiments examined ‘delayed gratification’ in the late 1960s. The findings are very relevant to modern day Sport Psychology.

Child eating two marshmellows
“If you don’t eat this marshmellow, you’ll get two later on”

Don’t Eat The Marshmallow! Due mostly to having an excellent lecturer for the course “The History of Psychology” during my undergraduate years – I am a big fan of some of the “old school” psychological experiments that the academic community used to do in the middle part of the last century.

One of these was The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, a series of studies on delayed gratification in the late 1960s and early 1970s led by psychologist Walter Mischel, then a professor at Stanford University. 

In these studies, a child was offered a choice between one small reward (such as a marshmallow) provided immediately or two small rewards if they waited for a short period (typically around 15 minutes) during which the tester left the room and then returned. Remarkably in the majority of the testing about half the children (who were aged between 4 and 8) would gobble down the one marshmallow (many within seconds of the tester leaving the room) whilst the other half would exercise great “will power” and wait for the experimenter to return in order to get double the reward.

In follow-up studies, the researchers found that children who were able to wait longer for the preferred rewards tended to have better life outcomes, as measured by exam results and educational attainment.

Although I am sure that Professor Mischel had little interest in the specific field of sport and performance psychology when he was conducting his research I can’t think of another area of psychology whereby the concept of delayed gratification is more relevant that those trying to reach the top of their particular sport. 

Here is the video link to Joachim de Posada’s TED talk in 2009 that we keep banging on about in the context of delayed gratification as a key mindset for peak performance. Enjoy.

Delayed gratification is really just psychobabble for “doing something difficult now in the hope that it will be prove worth it later on”.

Of all the hundreds of theories on motivation and performance excellence I can’t help but feel this is one of the most relevant. Quite simply put, one of the chief explanations about why so few succeed (really succeed) is because most athletes and coaches try and find shortcuts and / or throw in the towel when the rewards for their effort are not immediate and obvious – they gobble down the single marshmallow instead of waiting for two. 

In their defence – and maybe this is where our job as sport and performance psychologists really comes into play – it’s unlikely that anyone has taken the time to explain to them that winning is all about patience, doing the hard yards in the preseason so the rewards can come during the season. And of course the amount of time before being rewarded for one’s effort is likely to be much, much longer than the 15 minutes used during The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment. On many occasions the truly meaningful “payoff” for effort in the world of elite sport and performance might be 10 or even 20 years down the track. 

Think about the young athletes who sacrifice time with friends and family whilst they are teenagers only to see the rewards in their twenties and thirties.

At Condor Performance, through the use of our Mental Training processes Metuf – one way we help those we work with to embrace delayed gratification is by encouraging them to keep track of their own Monthly Checks. 

Monthly Checks are basically Key Performance Indictors which “bridge the gap” between the daily and weekly grind and those moments of glory that we’re all aiming for. The self satisfaction that can (should) come about after seeing a month by month improvement in focusing abilities or cardio fitness (for example) can go a long way to maintaining high levels of commitment when everyone else is finding it all too hard.