One of the more interesting challenges faced by coaches in business or athletics is pulling a team out of a slump. We have all been there—successful, passionate, effective—enjoying that feeling that you will never lose again. Everything is working out, seemingly because of your influence, and efforts are unstoppable. Have you ever watched a basketball or football game when it seemed as if one of the teams just could not make a mistake? It is a thing of beauty to see such mastery in motion.
However, this type of run usually comes to an end. That same team, the unbeatable one that could not make a mistake, starts to make some—and in some cases many—mistakes. The previously unbeatable foe starts to slip, and the next thing you know, they cannot do anything right. Their performance drops, and their results suffer. In whatever context, the successful team or individual shifts to the dark side of performance, and it looks as if they cannot do anything right. This is what I mean by a slump.
This shift can take place in sports, sales, investments, management and even relationships. You might be interested in a short article by Sue Shellenbarger, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, titled “Resources for Pulling out of a Slump.” In this she discusses slumps and outlines some of the seminal work by psychologists and coaches who work in this domain.
In truth, all athletic, life, executive and business coaches deal with slumps and their counterparts, peak experiences. Of course, it is easy to figure out which of those we all prefer.
The interesting thing about this “peak and valley” idea is the actions we take to get more clarity. Actions creating empowerment and effectiveness are very similar to those that create more confusion and incoherence.
More about this later.
Larry LaPrade is a professional trainer, workshop facilitator, speaker and coach with an intense passion for human excellence. Also known as the “Pushup Guy,” Larry regularly practices the principles of Mind Fitness in his own quest to break the Guinness World Record for most pushups in one hour.