Actualise and Connacht Rugby
The Actualise Academy worked with Connacht Rugby for during the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons - right up to their historic Pro12 Championship win! Our work formed an integral part of the mental and psychological preparation for the players. Below are quotes from some of the players we worked with.
Resilience, decision-making, and calmness under pressure were key gains made by the players.
Pat Lam, Former Connacht Rugby Head Coach
We were very impressed with the Actualise methodological and scientific plan and approach. Their work with us has had a very positive impact on all the players. Their approach has been very professional - they not only have a fantastic grasp of the science of their work, but are also very aware of the real applicability. This combination of science and intuition means they have a unique and very positive role to play in peak performance management. Having watched them work with us, and the results we have had - particularly our historic Pro12 win - I would highly recommend Actualise to any individual or group who wants to take their performance to the next level to gain that competitive advantage
[Following the Actualise presentation] I became more aware of how I can use my brain within rugby… [I wanted] to get as much as I can out of my brain to help me on the rugby pitch. I felt slightly more focused when training to develop my core skills within every repetition on the rugby pitch. NFT has helped to focus on set parts of my kicking (i.e. breaking down individual parts of technique). It has helped me to really nail down my role and know what I have to do (making it second nature). I have felt more confidence and more clear about my roles and actions.”
There were aspects of my game, which I felt NFT could potentially help with. Things like confidence, decision-making and consistency, as well as general feelings of anxiety (rugby and non-rugby related) were things I was interested in ‘training’. There have been definite improvements in feelings of anxiousness in the run up to games, as well as slight improvements in levels of anxiety in everyday life (sleep has generally been improved, although not a huge issue to begin with). Hard to draw conclusions on consistency as many other factors affect on-pitch play. In the moments of ‘good play’ over the last few weeks, they have felt more natural, with overthinking probably slightly reduced. Again, slight improvements have been noticed in the lead up to games. Again, I’ve felt improvements in confidence have benefitted my game (in the moments of ‘good play’) over the past few weeks. In line with slight improvements in confidence and ‘over-thinking’, feelings of self-doubt have been minimal over the past number of weeks, which is a positive development in terms of performance.”
Prior to starting the brain training, I found myself after games wondering why I made erratic and silly decisions on the field. The brain training has definitely reduced this from where it was and hopefully will continue to do so. I found as the weeks went on that I have nailed my job on the field rather than trying to do something inaccurate and spur of the moment. I know when it’s the correct moment to try something outside of the basics (individual skill). NFT has reduced my overthinking prior to games which has helped nerves. Noticed a slight improvement in moving on from mistakes on the field. However, still find myself trying to do something spectacular to make up for previous mistake. Still find myself beating myself up over silly errors more out of frustration. Anxiety and stress prior to a game is controlled and find I’m in a better focus on the day of games. Find my basics have improved somewhat. I am training as well/good as I ever have. I believe that these improvements are in some cases translating on field. The inconsistency comes when I make a mistake and try to fix it rather than doing the next job.
Firstly, I thought it sounded very interesting. I liked the idea of trying something different in order to improve my performance on the pitch. Secondly anything to do with improving the way your brain works can be utilized hugely for rugby. Decision-making is a massive part of my position.
It has aided my sleep quality. I’ve found that I’ve been sleeping deeper and have less disruptive sleeps. The thought that you are improving mentally can even have an almost placebo effect. I believe I’m improving which can make all the difference
The main reason was to improve myself from a mental side of things. I was attracted to this new form of training as I think it will be a bigger area for training in the future. There hasn’t been a huge difference, but the noticeable difference is the reduction of decision-making errors. Still find it hard to keep concentration. Given last weekend’s game against the No. 1 ranked team [Glasgow Warriors] and all that was riding on it, I felt quite calm pre-game. It’s hard to say whether my performance has been affected. I would say that my decision-making has been sharper, where the execution could still be better. Although there hasn’t been a ‘eureka’ moment as such, I am privileged to be given the opportunity to better myself as a player and given the scientific findings/results, I would be happy to continue the training. I also think this area will have a lot more focus on it in the future
[I was interested in NFT] mainly for the potential to improve certain aspects of my game and the presentation excited me about the possibility of using my brain more effectively. [I have not noticed a difference] because I have been injured for a large part of the schedule I have not been on the pitch as much and so haven’t had a huge chance to notice many changes. Nothing really jumped out for me I feel the fact I wasn’t in many pressurized game-line scenarios played a large part in that because of my injury. The slight improvements I did feel were in communication and confidence on the pitch and these were mainly subconsciously.