Questions, issues, or discussions specifically related to Piping and Pipers competition.

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The Mental Game

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  • The Mental Game

    Syd Girling in his paper "The Mental Game: Some Techniques and Strategies to Address Stage Fright and Improve Focus, Concentration and Self Confidence to Achieve Heightened Personal and Band Performances" states that "Top Professional ... musicians spend as much time concentrating on their mental game as their physical game ..." and that the game is "90 per cent mental and only 10 per cent physical".


    Yet I have never seen a piping workshop devoted to the mental game, nor have any pipe tutors I have used or any of my pipe instructors ever mentioned the development of the mental game.


    A well developed mental game is obviously very important to performing at the top of your abilities and to giving your best performance under pressure.



    How do you, as a competing piper, work on this aspect of your training?


    tomm
    [email protected]

  • #2
    Re: The Mental Game

    Murray Henderson gave an excellent lecture entitled "Preparing for Competition" at the 2014 Piobaireachd Society Conference. This covered both practical and mental aspects of 'the game'. A transcript, and accompanying PowerPoint slides, are available to Piobaireachd Society members on the society's website in the 'Reference Articles' pages of the library section.

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    • #3
      Re: The Mental Game

      WUSPBA had a sports psychiatrist talk about such things at a workshop a few years ago. The web site of "The bulletproof musician" is a great source of musician specific information.

      This is definitely one of my big stumbling blocks!
      Cheers,
      Charlie

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      • #4
        Re: The Mental Game

        Bruce Gandy also regularly talks about these issues at the Celtic Arts Foundation Winter School in Sebeck WA.

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        • #5
          Re: The Mental Game

          When I practice I visualize the competition venue.

          I visualize the judges writing on clipboards.

          When I'm at the venue I visualize being at practice.

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          • #6
            Re: The Mental Game

            We talk a lot about this in the band. If you are adequately prepared, the game is very much mental. It's all about putting yourself in a frame of mine where you are capable of performing as well as your practice has prepared you for.

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            • #7
              Re: The Mental Game

              That is a fantastic question. What is the difference between technique development and the mental aspect. Is there a disconnect between average teaching styles and what one really needs to improve? There is a book out this week from Dr. Burns (called Practice Strategies that Cause Musical Improvements). It is the first in a series that addresses some mental aspects of progress. I look forward to finding out what additional levels there are of learning that i have missed over the years.

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              • #8
                Re: The Mental Game

                Very interesting subject. I have long believed that it is a 60 / 40 split. Mental to ability.

                Mental application is key to good performance especially at competitions where your playing is being minutely critiqued.

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                • #9
                  Re: The Mental Game

                  I think it's critical to be aware of both performance and preparation, as separate and distinct entities, which both need to be addressed. Practice strategy and tactics are of utmost importance, but so is being mentally ready to perform at the highest level you're capable of. Many tend to assume that if they've prepared adequately, the performance will take care of itself, and that's often not the case. We then come away from the experience down on ourselves (thinking we didn't practice enough, or hard enough), when the reality is that we didn't prepare ourselves in the optimal way. It goes without saying that you have to do the practice work, but it's also the case that our approach on the day contributes a lot to the performance.

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                  • #10
                    Re: The Mental Game

                    Originally posted by bob864 View Post
                    When I practice I visualize the competition venue.

                    I visualize the judges writing on clipboards.

                    When I'm at the venue I visualize being at practice.
                    This gives me an idea. It would be cool to record some video of marching into the circle or on the solo boards and then play it back, using a virtual reality viewer, while playing during practice. The technology required to do this is now fairly inexpensive and user friendly. You could maybe record the view of a large audience from a stage too.

                    Kevin

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                    • #11
                      Re: The Mental Game

                      Those of you who want to consider this topic in more detail might want to look at Barry Green's book: The Inner Game of Music. The first 30 pages or so are fairly turgid and take a long time to explain the difference between the Inner and Outer Games.

                      The concepts in the book are based on those of Timothy Gallway author of the The Inner Game of Tennis etc.

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                      • #12
                        Re: The Mental Game

                        Originally posted by Neill Mulvie View Post
                        Those of you who want to consider this topic in more detail might want to look at Barry Green's book: The Inner Game of Music. The first 30 pages or so are fairly turgid and take a long time to explain the difference between the Inner and Outer Games.

                        The concepts in the book are based on those of Timothy Gallway author of the The Inner Game of Tennis etc.
                        I shoot clay pigeons competitively, and there is also some really great stuff written about that.

                        As has been said before, I spend periods of my practice putting myself in the competition. Timing my tuning, playing the set, recording it too so that I can immediately review my performance. Then at the competition, in my mind I am in my kitchen practicing, executing what I have practiced. Well thats the plan

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