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A talk given by Charlie Unwin, Sports Psychologist


Charlie Unwin – 22/07/17

What I write about in these blogs are of interest to me, and may be of interest to you. No offence is ever intended, so please keep an open mind and read on.


After listening to a talk given by the accomplished Sports psychologist,

Charlie Unwin this summer, the main thing I took away from it was FOCUS.

How & why to create focus.


If we focus our minds on a task we wish to accomplish: focus our thinking on our actions before performing the task, focus in on the detail right down to the minutia, it will help us achieve as close to what we want to do/perform/say as we anticipate: because when we imagine doing something we use the same neural pathways as if we were actually doing it.


Holding deliberate focus is quite hard and also needs practice:

Granted as we usually have 70,000 thoughts going on at any one time. But imagine taming those thoughts to create focus?

Say you have something really important coming up; a presentation, a Dressage test, a demonstration: you FOCUS visualise it from start to finish, where you put your water, how you hold the reins, where you place your legs, how does your seat feel, where you have your props; imagine the smell, the sounds, the people.

Break this all down and plan each stage with each inhale & exhale. Plan it, feel it, sense it, taste it, smell it, live it through your mind. Breathe in through your nose & out through your mouth. Train your mind to work for you.


Another really useful tool he shared with us was to highlight, i.e. a Dressage test situation and draw a circle within another circle on a blank piece of paper. In the outer circle, write down all the 'UNPREDICTABLE DISTRACTIONS' – external, things you are worried might happen or may go wrong, in the inner circle write down all the things you have control over, i.e. pace, seat, breathing, accurate lines. Realise the power you have within this inner circle, your bubble and 'Perform within your bubble'. The external things you have no control over, so focus on the things you do have control over, you will feel empowered.


Take the emotion OUT of it.

Have a blank page;

on the left hand side identify & write down

3 controllable things you want to do well at in test

i.e. accurate test, sharp transitions

Then on the Right hand side write down/answer

When test finished – how did I do on what I set out to do?


This keeps you in tune with what you set out to do, rather than letting emotions & reactions take over.


If you have any questions, or something relevant to share, feel free to get in touch, or send a message. I'm always happy to help.

Thanks for reading.


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