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HELP CENTRE

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Maintaining the brain’s ability to rewire itself builds strong, inclusive, diverse, agile communities that are able to grow in disruptive environments.

 
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THE SCIENCE IS VERY CLEAR


THE BRAIN OPERATES BEST WHEN IT IS EVER-CHANGING. WHEN IT CONSTANTLY MODIFIES AND RECONFIGURES ITS CIRCUITRY

It is accepted by many scientists that the brain is plastic. By that, scientists mean the brain is able to constantly modify and reconfigure its circuitry to adapt to situations and build expertise. We know this because scientists have seen people recover from brain injuries by another part of the brain rewiring itself to take over the functions the damaged part of the brain was doing. 


What we know is wired into the circuitry of the brain. We maintain the brain's ability to rewire itself by doing things before we understand them. By doing things before they make sense to us. By going beyond what we know we can do.

In these turbulent times maintaining the brain's ability to rewire itself could be the most important life skill of the 21st century.

Technology photo created by kjpargeter - www.freepik.com

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

SECTION 1 IS ABOUT HOW WE COACH, SECTION 2 ARE QUESTIONS PLAYERS ASK US, SECTION 3 IS ON QUESTIONS WE ARE ASKED ABOUT HOW INCLUSIVE WE ARE.

 

"Good coaches tell you where the fish are, great coaches teach you how to find them.”

Image by Dean Bennett
 

HOW WE COACH

Click here for FAQ's players ask.

Click here for FAQ's on how inclusive we are.

HOW DO YOU IMPROVE THE PERFORMANCE OF A PLAYER OR ATHLETE?

When a player is learning a new skill they are rewiring their brain to do that new skill. Sports coaches help players rewire the brain in the correct way. Lots of practice later and that new skill is wired into the brain. If the brain's ability to rewire its circuitry is not maintained it becomes very hard for the player to modify that skill. A player's performance is capped. This problem is solved by maintaining the brain's ability to rewire itself so that players can adapt their skills to achieve a higher level of performance.

HOW ARE YOU IMPROVING THE WAY SPORT IS COACHED?

The brain has neuromodulatory systems that increase and decrease the brain's ability to rewire itself. A formula of neurotransmitters is required for the brain to rewire itself. While scientists all over the world are trying to learn more about how this works, we can translate them into the real world as a desire to know more than we know now, a desire to go beyond what we can do now, and a desire to do what we find interesting. If we don't trigger these three desires we inhibit the brain's ability to rewire itself. For example, we can practice something we find interesting for 10,000 hrs, but without curiosity to go beyond what we know now, to go beyond what we can do now, we are likely to only make small improvements in what we do now and what we know now.

If a well planned and well-managed performance pathway doesn’t include space to trigger coaches and players curiosity to go beyond what they know now, to go beyond what they can do now, that performance programme is likely to only deliver marginal improvements in performance no matter how dedicated and professional the coaches and athletes are. Spending time maintaining the brain's ability to rewire itself could help players and coaches to find massive gains in their performance that nobody knew was there.

HOW DO WE MEASURE THE PERFORMANCE OF YOUR COACHES?

Our coaches will use activities to create opportunities for players to step beyond their current wiring of the brain to find new ways to rewire the brain. To do things before they understand them. To do things before they make sense. To step beyond what they know.

Our coaches use activities to create a dynamic, disruptive, ever-changing environment while coaching everyone to resist trying to order and plan the space and instead see, feel, connect and flow through it by ... 

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  1. Seeing a bigger picture of what is going on around us so that we see other ways to try.


  2. Trying different ways and see where they take us


  3. Thinking on their feet by creating micro-pauses in which to make micro-decisions that switch between the narrow and the bigger picture, the mechanical and the flowing, the known and the imagined, the selfless and the selfish and build our own unique unplanned sequences of micro-decisions that use the whole brain.


​Each player enjoys their own learning journey at their own speed. It’s very player-centred. Players experience being in an agile team that connects, adapts, and flows together.

ARE YOUR COACHES PSYCHOLOGISTS?

Nope. Psychologists tend to study how the brain works. Our coaches use what the psychologists agree is the best way for the brain to operate. While our coaches are practical like many sports coaches they are less sport-specific more brain-specific. And our coaches are not mental health experts. While maintaining the brain's ability to rewire itself is a useful skill to avoid becoming mentally ill or to recover from mental illness it's not what our coaches do. They use activities to help everyone maintain the brain's ability to rewire itself.

ARE YOUR COACHES QUALIFIED SPORTS COACHES?

Our coaches are good players in their sport but are not qualified to coach the sport in the standard way. The standard sports qualifications are not suitable because they train coaches to help players wire what everyone needs to know into the brain. Players fit into and follow standardised development pathways. This is not what we do. We help people step beyond what is wired into the brain to find opportunities to rewire the brain. It’s a very decentralised individual learning process that is more brain-specific and less sport-specific.

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT PSYCHOLOGISTS, NEUROSCIENTISTS, ETC AGREE ON?

Our founder Jon Thorne has spent 30 years trying to find out what, if anything psychologists agree on. This includes his late father, Paul Thorne. The other important scientist is a guy called Iain McGilchrist. He helped Jon learn why so many of us tend to not use the brain the way scientists agree is the best way. This is Iain's website. https://channelmcgilchrist.com/ 

And David Eagleman provides a great summary of the science in his new book called "Livewired". Here is his website https://eagleman.com/

WHAT KIND OF TRAINING DO YOUR COACHES HAVE?

We operate an apprenticeship model. New coaches learn by working alongside experienced coaches to build experience in... 

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  1. Decentralising leadership to create agile teams that grow in disruptive times.


  2. Stopping players from establishing centralised leadership by introducing fixed ways that all must follow.


  3. Helping players who are angry, upset, and blaming others by lifting their ability to rewire the brain and see that there are many different ways beyond what they know.


CAN YOU LIFT THE PERFORMANCE OF MY CLUBS TEAMS?

Yes. You can encourage your club players to attend sessions that are open to all.

HOW DO I JOIN?

You pick a session and turn up and play. We don’t run trials, squads, or teams because we want to create an ever-changing environment that encourages everyone to modify and reconfigure the circuitry of the brain. Having different players each week helps with this. We are not trying to correctly do what we know how to do. We are stepping beyond what we know how to do to find ways to keep rewiring the brain.

 

“The mindset isn’t about seeking a result—it’s more about the process of getting to that result. It’s about the journey and the approach. It’s a way of life. I do think that it’s important, in all endeavors, to have that mentality.”

Image by Mike Von
 

QUESTIONS PLAYERS ASK

Click here for FAQ's on how we coach.

Click here for FAQ's on how inclusive we are.

WHY DO I NEED TO BE KIND?

Yes, I am asked this question. Science says it is impossible to fully hardwire a brain because there are always new parts that can be rewired. But, if we assumed we could observe a fully hardwired brain in operation, that brain would think it knows all it needs to know. If someone doesn’t make sense to a fully hardwired brain … the hardwired brain will think they must be wrong and be of no value. A fully hardwired brain will help others correctly do what it knows. If they fail the fully hardwired brain will reject them. A fully hardwired brain will see any questioning of its correct ways as an act of disrespect and selfishness because there are no other ways. A fully hardwired brain is harsh and unkind. And has limited performance because no brain can ever know all it needs to know in our complex dynamic ever-changing world.


Luckily the science says it is impossible to fully hardwire a brain. We can maintain the brain's ability to rewire itself throughout our life. When we livewire the brain we see those who don’t make sense to us, who we struggle to understand as people who can help rewire our brain to learn more and do more than we thought we could do. This is why we say we play for fun, fitness, and kindness to maintain the brain's ability to rewire itself.

WHY CAN'T I USE MY SUPERIOR ATHLETIC ABILITIES?

You can but at other clubs. Not ours. We help players use the brain the way science says is the best way. If you solely rely on being bigger, faster, stronger, and better than opponents you will lose every time you come against someone who is bigger, faster, stronger, and better than yourself. Our coaches help you to develop the "Think Power" to beat players who are better than yourself by learning how to think your way past, not power your way past all players of all abilities. If Michael Jordon and the Chicago Bulls had to maintain “Think Power” we are pretty sure we all do.

WHY ARE YOU STOPPING ME FROM COMPETING?

We are not stopping you from competing. We are helping you to be a good competitor. The convention is to compete by making fewer mistakes which is why many coaches and players practice what they know. This can hardwire too much of the mechanics of play into the brain and this reduces the ability of the brain to rewire itself. We know this from science. If we hardwire too much into our brain we are less able to adapt when things are not going our way. A desire to win with an inability to adapt can lead coaches and players to be poor competitors. They often get upset with others, give up or resort to fouling and aggression or only compete when they know they have athletic superiority. Keeping the brain livewired means we treat winning and losing as the same because both help us to find new ways to improve beyond what we know we can do. Especially if we can rewire during a game. The late Kobe Bryant called this his Mamba Mentality. I am pretty sure he knew how to compete.

HOW DO I JOIN?

You pick a session and turn up and play. We don’t run trials, squads, or teams because we want to create an ever-changing environment that encourages everyone to modify and reconfigure the circuitry of the brain. Having different players each week helps with this. We are not trying to correctly do what we know how to do. We are stepping beyond what we know how to do to find ways to keep rewiring the brain.

 

“Have a good time. Life is too short to get bogged down and be discouraged. You have to keep moving. You have to keep going. Put one foot in front of the other, smile and just keep on rolling.”
― Kobe Bryant

Robert Green Ingersoll

Image by BP Miller
 

HOW INCLUSIVE WE ARE

Click here for FAQ's players ask. Click here for FAQ's on how we coach

WHAT HAPPENS IF WE DON'T MAINTAIN THE BRAIN'S ABILITY TO REWIRE ITSELF?

If we don’t keep the brain livewired and ready to rewire itself we can start to think there is nothing of any use beyond what we know. We can start to think anything we don’t understand or doesn’t make sense must be wrong that we fix by making it right or we reject, or maybe even hate. We can hardwire the brain. We lower our ability to adapt. We lower our ability to be kind. We limit our growth and our performance to what we know we can do. It is important to maintain the brain's ability to rewire itself or we are stuck as we are now and it is a matter of time before that stops working.

HOW DO YOU BUILD COMMUNITIES THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

The conventional way to build community is to set up a purpose, a culture, ways of doing things that make us feel like we belong. But, these ways can become hardwired. People who challenge them, who suggest other ways, who break them can be seen as selfish, disrespectful, and are pushed out. A community can be unkind to the people trying to save it. We build a community around everyone helping each other to maintain the brain's ability to rewire itself. Being kind is easier because everyone can rewire the brain to go beyond what they know. In these turbulent times maintaining the brain's ability to rewire itself could be the most important life skill of the 21st century.

HOW DO I JOIN?

You pick a session and turn up and play. We don’t run trials, squads, or teams because we want to create an ever-changing environment that encourages everyone to modify and reconfigure the circuitry of the brain. Having different players each week helps with this. We are not trying to correctly do what we know how to do. We are stepping beyond what we know how to do to find ways to keep rewiring the brain.

CAN YOU HELP PEOPLE ON THE AUTISTIC SPECTRUM?

My journey to LifeSkills21.club is based a lifetime trying to help myself, my family, and many others who are on the spectrum. My childhood was based on people seeing my brain as broken. I had a high IQ but could not read. People thought that if they could get me to read at an age-appropriate level, I would be fixed. When I got a degree I would be fixed. Back then the science hadn’t discovered the brain could rewire itself so I can see how it would seem kind and sensible to take this approach. As I moved further into adulthood I started to discover I could solve problems others couldn’t because it was natural and easy for me to step beyond what I know to find other ways. My gift is the speed at which I can rewire my brain. I discovered that hardwiring my brain harmed me. It hurts me. When my own children were harmed by others trying to hardwire thinking into their brains I started to learn how or if I could coach people to maintain or even increase their ability to rewire the brain. For me, this is much better than the old approach, which is still prevalent today, that is no longer based on the science, of trying to fix a brain. If the brain is not working how we want it to we can increase our ability to rewire the brain. The brain will find a way. It’s what science says.


I know this is a long answer, but it goes to the heart of why I do what I do.


Can we help people on the spectrum? Yes. But not by fixing players. By showing them what they can do by rewiring the brain. This applies to everyone which is why all our sessions are open to everyone.

WHAT IS YOUR INCLUSION POLICY?

This is a story about how easy it is to divide a community posted on Linkedin by Emine Fougner


One of my friends told me about a powerful lesson in her daughter's high school class recently. They're learning about the Salem Witch Trials, and their teacher told them they were going to play a game.


"I'm going to come around and whisper to each of you whether you're a witch or a regular person. Your goal is to build the largest group possible that does NOT have a witch in it. At the end, any group found to include a witch gets a failing grade."


The teens dove into grilling each other. One fairly large group formed, but most of the students broke into small, exclusive groups, turning away anyone they thought gave off even a hint of guilt.


"Okay," the teacher said. "You've got your groups. Time to find out which ones fail. All witches, please raise your hands."


No one raised a hand.


The kids were confused and told the teacher he'd messed up the game. "Did I? Was anyone in Salem an actual witch? Or did everyone just believe what they'd been told?"


We have one rule “be kind”. It means we see those who don’t make sense to us, those who we don’t understand as opportunities to step beyond what we know to maintain the brain's ability to rewire itself.

WHAT IS YOUR SAFEGUARDING POLICY?

All coaches are trained in safeguarding. We do more. The biggest safeguarding risk is the big power imbalance between coaches and players. A coach can see a player who wants to try different ways as disrespectful and selfish. Our coaches want players to question them. They encourage and challenge players to try different ways to livewire the brain. Coaches challenge players to make mistakes. They want players to try ways they have never done before. This is why all sessions are drop in and we don’t run squads. If a player with a hardwired brain insists on staying to try to fix others to conform to their hardwired world, or if they insist on trying to overpower or force their way past anyone in their way rather than use their brain to think their way forward… they are asked to leave. We are a club for those who want to maintain their ability to rewire their brain. We play for fun, fitness, and kindness.

ARE YOUR SESSIONS NEURO DIVERSE?

We exist to help everyone maintain their ability to livewire their brain. We help everyone to resist hardwiring their brain. For us, there are no fixed ways for brains to operate. We can only be neurodiverse. There is no other way to be.

CAN YOU HELP ME WITH MY MENTAL HEALTH?

We are not mental health experts. What we do is help people use the brain the way science says is the best way. The increased ability to modifying and reconfigure the circuitry of the brain makes it easier for us to adapt ways of thinking that are not working for us. This gives us all the potential to use difficult and dark times to grow. We are confident that helps us avoiding becoming mentally ill.

I KNOW MY BODY IS SLOWING DOWN BUT I WANT TO KEEP PLAYING SPORT. CAN YOU HELP?

Yes. Getting old is as an opportunity to rely less on our ability to force or overpower what is in our way and instead use our brains to think of other ways. The brain doesn't slow.

AM I TOO OLD TO REWIRE MY BRAIN?

Although the brain's ability to rewire itself reduces over the years it’s doesn’t go completely.  Even when we have hardwired large parts of the brain there are always other parts we can rewire. Even if parts of the brain are shutting down we can rewire other parts. The brain is amazing.

CAN YOU HELP MY CHILD MANAGE THEIR ANGER?

It is our experience that anger can often come from a place of believing we are stuck as we are now and we hate being as we are now. The more we believe we can rewire the brain the less we feel stuck as we are now. The less angry we feel because we know we can adapt to find a way forward.

 

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