Lee is a Performance Psychologist who has worked in a variety of sporting settings from beginners to internationals. He focuses on the area of decision making and uses innovative, integrated techniques, that typically orientate around the eyes and emotions, to assess and train this essential area of any sporting performance.
With Lee presently undergoing his PhD Sport and Exercise Psychology, he is up to date with current perspectives but also keen to push the boundaries of traditional approaches in the area. To assist in the delivery process Lee uses the vital skills he has gained from being a Further & Higher Education lecturer with over 10 years’ experience.
His approach focuses on problem-based coaching in order to understand and enhance key psychological skills such as filtering relevant / irrelevant information, developing athletes search patterns and emotion identification. It is only if these skills are understood and developed that the athletes can execute consistent effective decision making.
The human body is the greatest machine we will ever own, given time it will learn and adapt to almost any demands placed upon it. In a sporting context this view of adaptation is key and should be considered the cornerstone of all training we place our athletes in.
It is often said that you perform like you train, and you train how you perform; a notion that is supported by many coaches, researchers, and organisations. In regard to this concept a principle that is widely endorsed is one known as SAID, which is an abbreviation for:
The principle suggests that your mind and body learns and adapts specific skills under certain circumstances. With this in mind, the questions should be 'what are our athletes required to learn?' and 'what adaptations should they make?'
I use this principle by engaging in a collaborative approach to understand the processes athletes go through to make decisions. This approach not only includes active reflection with the athlete, but utilises eye tracking technology, eye sight restriction training and biofeedback techniques.
ENHANCING DECISION MAKING THROUGH THE EYES OF AN ATHLETE
Eyesight and Vision
In order to make decisions we need information, but more importantly we need the right information. Research suggests between 70% - 90% of this comes from our eyes, so its pivotal we understand their effectiveness through a variety of testing methods. The benefits of understanding an athletes visual system is considerably overlooked and its influence underestimated. Too often it is assumed an athletes visual system is effective if they can read the bottom line of an eye chart (Snellen Chart), but the reality is there many more components to it.
To ensure training is accurate and effective, initial testing takes place and comprises of assessing the current efficiency of the athletes visual system and then profiled. Depending of the sport, dictates the areas focused on, but could comprise of testing constructs such as depth perception, gaze behaviour, eye tracking and binocular vision.
Problem Based Approach
Broken down to its simplest point, sport is a series of problems that need to be solved in order to be successful. To solve problems athletes are required to analyse the current situation, work out what the problem is and use information they have picked up. This is all part of a process to encourage athletes to become self-regulating and trust their own solutions to problems, rather relying on other people.
The basis of this is encouraging athletes to understand the key roles eyesight, vision and emotions have on picking up information through exposure to a variety of different scenarios. A key part of this approach is to make the sessions as dynamic and representative of the sport as quickly as possible, so athletes can apply what they are learning more accurately into competition.
It is imperative a deeper understanding of the athletes visual system is sought after with it being a vital part of the decision making process. However, unlike other biomechanical changes, visual and cognitive processes are not easily examined. As a result, the method and setting in which this information is gathered needs to be considered as all-important factors.
At present a significant amount of published research has been conducted in settings that are not entirely comparable to where the results will be applied. As a consequence of this fact, the applicability of some practices that are currently endorsed could be called into question as they are based on findings made in unrepresentative settings. This is even more important considering visual approaches differ from environment to environment.
With these important factors in mind my research attempts to be as representative as possible and taking mixed methods approaches. Meaning, like my coaching practice, I gather quantitative data but also gather qualitative data from reflective approaches.
POINTS OF VIEW
"The training has made me rethink the environment around me and really reflect upon the pieces of information I need to perform on the field. After 20+ years of football, training can become boring, this however has provided a new challenge that has already had a positive impact on my game"
Donna McGuigan - Peterborough United Ladies
"I am a big fan of Lee's work with eye tracking and decision making. I believe it has very exciting implications moving forward in sport"
Timothy Pattenden - Performance Psychologist
"Lee is a fantastic and inspiring individual. He has been delivering sport psychology to the highest standard for 10 years, creating a culture of critical thinking for students and athletes"
Jym Brown - Lecturer, Consultant, Speaker & Author
A great scientist makes the most complicated, simple, Lee does that 100%. He consistently provides take-home skills you can use straight away as a coach or an athlete.
Stephen Braybrook - The Movement Man (Brain-Move)
The training really has made me open my eyes, pun very much intended. I did not realise there was so much to decision making in football, but now I do I can feel myself getting better each session. Exercises are tough but I enjoy them as I see their purpose, unlike other traditional football drills.