Joe Shaw:
Each week we'll be presenting another part of Joe's revolutionary coaching programme, that helped guide David Palmer and John White to the top of the game.

The Program is applicable to all sports, and represents an invaluable resource for any coaches who have the foresight,
the inspiration, and the commitment to make it work for them.


The full program,
as originally published,
is available on the
Coaching section of
David Palmer's website.



29-Aug, Week FIVE continued:

Brain waves are a measurement of brain activity and they vary from 0.5 cycles per second (cps) up to 28 cps. They are measured by an electro-encephalograph and record how many blips cross the screen in one second. Scientists have divided these brain waves into four phases:

  Brain Rhythm Cycles per second  
Physical world: BETA 28  
Imaginative world:

No time

or space







The Delta phase (0.5 - 4 cps) is a comatose, unconscious or deep sleep phase where the conscious is not in control or giving commands.

The Theta phase (4 - 7 cps) is the inspirational artistic imaginative phase.

The Alpha phase (7 - 14 cps) is the relaxation phase where stress and anxiety vanish and access is gained to the sub-conscious enabling absolute concentration and ability to focus on just one item.

The Beta phase (14 - 28 cps) allows seven or eight thoughts simultaneously and it is an essential phase at times of danger or where many options are available.


The sports psychologist speaks to a group of athletes who are generally in the Beta phase, not concentrating and not receptive. He/she gives them notes to study and they are not interested. They read affirmation cards while on the wrong wavelength; consequently they do not learn the most important part of the trade - the psychological requirements of their sport.

The athlete must be in the Alpha phase (7 - 14 cps) to be receptive to information. It is simplicity itself to enter and to control this phase:

Sit on a chair, hands on your thighs. Practice deep breathing and in 20 seconds you can focus your concentration on just one thought. If you have more than one thought you are not in the Alpha state.

Concentrate and read the affirmations 3 to 5 times each. No more than five affirmations each night and morning. For accelerated learning have the five affirmations on cards or posters on your walls as a constant reminder of them. When you are in control of these five affirmations - always starting at what you believe are the easiest - move on to the next five affirmations.

The psychological requirements are so many and so complicated that they must be placed in one very important command to the brain. This command is called the “Cue Word”. The golfer at the tee may say “Smooth” and all of the psychological and physical requirements come into one thought. He/She is relaxed and concentrated and the swing is successful. The strike completed, the athlete moves into the Beta phase with many thoughts simultaneously until it is necessary to go back into the Alpha phase. John McEnroe was an accomplished exponent of this technique.

If this futuristic training program is to succeed then entry into the Alpha phase must be clearly understood by the athlete and it must become a practised skill. The athlete practices the physical skills of striking the ball thousands of times but not the mental skills. That is why there is a 98% failure rate.


All sports training programs contain the psychological, physiological, tactical and technical areas divided into daily training activities. These programs must be divided into four more clearly defined areas - the preparatory phase, the pre-competition phase, the competition phase and the post competition phase.

Coaches do not strictly adhere to these phases mixing competition without the athlete being correctly prepared. The athlete must practice entering the alpha phase during the preparatory training phase until the skill has been mastered. This is another reason for such a high failure rate.

The athlete must leave for competition overseas with a high performance coach or facilitator to relieve doubts and anxiety, to ensure good training conditions and financial security and to ensure a relaxed mental condition if the athlete is going to perform at his/her full potential.

The coach when travelling with the athlete encourages self-talk which creates self-esteem that in turn creates self image. By using self talk habits are created which reside in the sub-conscious mind. The sub-conscious mind does not know the difference between imagination and reality. We can make the sub-conscious believe anything that we want it to as long as we make the statements positive, personal, in the present tense and repetitive.


This then is the secret to success. This confirms the value of affirmation cards, self talk and positive thinking and the necessity of comprehending the Alpha state of mind - getting on the right wavelength. When all physical attributes are equal, it is only the mental preparation that makes the difference between winning and losing.

It is the implementation of this futuristic program that will ensure that the athlete is in the “right frame of mind”, “on the right track” and is taught how to train the brain that enormous improvement will be made immediately in the athlete’s who are receptive to these ideas.

By placing their goals into the sub-conscious minds they create reality inside that sub-conscious mind and they expand the comfort zone in which they perform.

This futuristic training program will ensure that success comes to the success conscious while inability to comprehend it will ensure failure will come to the failure conscious. We must understand with absolute clarity that it is only the mind’s capacity to believe what is possible that limits the body’s ability to achieve it.


In training an athlete, our objective is to improve their potential quotient at an accelerated learning level. Suggestion learning by affirmations and visualisation techniques work best as the athlete is in the alpha wave band drifting off to sleep. During sleep, the conscious mind is not in control. However, just prior to sleep, the mind is in its most receptive state.

Psychotherapeutic methods such as affirmations and self image through suggestology enables a faster rate of absorption into the sub-conscious that triggers off the automatic processes in the brain.

As the body rhythms calm down, the mind becomes more effective. Music of Baroque style with beats of 40 - 60 per second calm the brain. The athlete must learn to relax and to breathe correctly in a regulated rhythmical fashion to assist in the accelerated learning process.

If sitting on a chair, the athlete is upright and places the hands on the thighs, feet flat on the floor, eyes closed, jaw loose, mouth slightly open and the tongue touching the gum line of the upper teeth as though silently pronouncing the letter D.

If lying in bed on your back, your head on a pillow, arms a little bent, palms down beside your body, legs relaxed not touching each other, feet pointing slightly to the side with your eyes closed. If your feet are pointing up you are not relaxed.

Begin a gentle style of belly breathing feeling your abdomen puffing up. As you breathe out, feel it sink in and exhale twice as long as your inhale. Do this prior to a match and when listening to affirmation tapes. Trying to will away nervousness prior to a match only adds more stress to the tension you already have created and this causes loss of energy. You cannot be relaxed and anxious at the same time so learn to relax.

Relaxation and visualisation sets up communication links between the body and the mind. You learn to picture mentally the successful outcome of your match - you do not tell your mind what you want, you already have it. You tell your mind to produce it. You teach your conscious mind to command the subconscious to co-ordinate all of the body’s movements in the most effective manner without further thought.







Psychological Profiling
of the four key areas


















Coming in week 6: