Body, Mind & Craft

by | Oct 21, 2019

I was listening to high-performance psychologist Dr Michael Gervais’ wonderful podcast “Finding Mastery” recently when I heard him say that we only get to train three things:

  1. Mind
  2. Body
  3. Craft

It immediately resonated.

Perhaps cricket’s most difficult craft is leg spin bowling. Anyone who has played cricket will have at least given it a go. All but a few persevere beyond those first few clumsy attempts to do what the laws of physics tell us shouldn’t be possible. For those who persist, and land the ball somewhere in the batter’s vicinity, then have to endure their offering being belted all over the park, presenting no more a threat than a gentle underarm.

By this stage, most have given up, their leg spin bowling only seen at the end of a friendly net session or the family BBQ with a half-taped tennis ball.

I wonder just how many young leg spinners were on the cusp of mastery, but do not keep at it. Leg spin bowling is a wonderful example of craft (technical competency), with a fair bit of body (physical capabilities), but mostly mind (emotional faculty).

For those who have studied high-performance, there is no golden thread, but there are common characteristics. The high performers have found a way to master a craft, the capability to operate on the edge of their technical, physical and emotional limits every time they ply their trade. That is what high performance ultimately requires, the capacity to deal with the uncertainty that will accompany every ball they bowl.

Fortunately for the game itself, enough people struggle on, able to recover from the many setbacks. Having watched the ball being bashed over the boundary, they walk back to their bowling mark, bring themselves back to the present, make a correction or two, and prepare to bowl the next ball to the same person who has just treated their last offering with disdain.

Those who survive this and have mastered their craft, bring a rich joy to the game.

One such person is 19-year-old New Zealander Amelia Kerr, who this week took three wickets in an over on debut in the Big Bash League. If you read up on Amelia, you will hear her teammates and coaches say:

Learner – “like a sponge”

Calm – “cool-headed in any situation”

Effort – “practices hard, makes sacrifices”

Competitive – “wants to be the best”

Fun – “always singing and dancing”

Perhaps they are the five characteristics for anyone seeking to master a craft, particularly one so sure to test you as leg spin bowling surely will.

Sounds also like she would be a wonderful teammate, and a joy to coach.

I always enjoy the opportunity to talk all things culture and high-performance, and the development of leaders to achieve it.

Here are three ways to start the ball rolling:

  • I teach and coach an integrated leadership performance system utilising sophisticated learning models and systems garnered from elite team sport, ideal for leaders who are committed learners, who understand the responsibility of leadership. To learn more, please arrange your FOC 30-minute leadership telephone consult to discuss your personal, team or organisational challenges or aspirations, please use this link.
  • Participate in our next one-day Leadership Masterclass which I personally facilitate. It is a sophisticated, intimate and practical leadership intensive for aspirational leaders, both current and emerging. To learn more, and to register, please use this link.
  • Sign up for the “More to the Game” weekly email, and receive a copy of my “What business can learn from football” White Paper. The emails are short leadership reflections, no more than a couple of minutes to read and we will always treat our communication with respect. Please use this link.

You can also contact me at cameron@designCEO.com.au and let me know how you think we can work together.

Cameron Schwab
CEO & Founder

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