Have you ever wondered about some of the qualities needed to be a top class athlete?

UK Sports Performance and Mind Coach Nick Davies has given his insight to the way the mind can benefit a sportsman.

“Getting into the “Zone” so you can have that optimum training session or workout is what we all want, but how can we do this consistently and what is the best music to listen to?

Working in the field of sports Psychology for over 13 years now, I have worked with pretty much every sport from grassroots up to international level, so understanding the different types of exercise is really important.

If you’re looking for explosive types of anaerobic exercise like sprinting and strength training you need your brain to be producing beta waves, so you need to increase your respiration and heart rate. Music with a strong, fast tempo is ideal, these are the dance hall bangers that you jump around to.

However if you’re doing slower more aerobic exercises like treadmill running, cross trainer or rowing machine you need a steadier beat as you want to be breathing more deeply in order for your brain to be producing alpha waves, so a slower more steady beat that is more consistent, something like “The Best 100 Running Songs”.

Another technique you can use is what we call in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) is called “Anchoring”, this is where you associate a stimulus with a peak state.

Most people press a thumb and a forefinger together but I find this stimulus can be a little weak especially if you’re tired and need a boost. Read through the process before you do it for real, it goes like this:

• Pick three times in the past where you felt the things you want to create e.g. speed, power, explosiveness, determination etc. and write down what you saw, heard and felt.

• Sit back in a comfortable chair and imagine you are in your very own state of the art cinema.

• Imagine watching yourself on the three occasions you wrote down as a continual loop following each other.

• Make the pictures bigger and brighter, make the sounds richer and clearer and imagine stepping into yourself on that screen.

• See through your eyes, hear through your ears and really FEEL how great that feels and clench one or both of your fists to associate with those amazing feelings.

• The next time you need to access this positive state, stand tall, take a breath and squeeze the fist or fists and feel all those feelings come flooding back.

You can use different stimulae for different states i.e. squeeze your left fist for determination and endurance and your right for explosive power.