Guest: Graham Betchart
Guest Bio: Graham Betchart, who has a master’s degree in sports psychology, is a mental skills coach who works with some of the top players in the NBA today.
Graham believes that mental skills training is just as important as physical training. And similar to physical training, there’s no quick fix in mental skills training, it’s an ongoing process. Graham also believes there’s no age that’s too young to begin meditation – especially in a time when young athletes and students are facing more pressure than ever to succeed. Graham is the Director of Lucid, a new organization that focuses on mental skills training.
Segment overview: Graham Betchart speaks on why children should consider meditation as part of their everyday routine, as well as how parents can help them get started. He also launched a meditation app called “Lucid” which offers daily five-minute audio clips that preach meditation, visualization and positive affirmations.
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. Thank you so much for tuning in to the program. I’m your host Neal Howard. Graham Betchart is our guest today. He’s got a Master’s Degree in Sports Psychology. He’s a Mental Skills coach and he works with some of the top players in the NBA today. He’s joining us here on Health Professional Radio today to talk about how children should consider meditation as part of their everyday routine as well as how parents can help the kids to get started. He’s also launched a meditation app called ‘LUCID’ that we’ll talk about as well. Welcome to Health Professional Radio Graham Betchart.
Graham Betchart: Thank You Neal. Thanks for having me. It’s an honor to be here.
N: Right. Glad that you here with us. Now as I said, you’ve got a master’s in sports psychology. What does that entail in a nutshell?
G: Well, real quick you know sports psychology is the science of success. So it’s about teaching people how to focus, how to be confident and how to learn how to thrive under pressure. So sports psychology is for people that there’s results on the line, they’re competitive, they want to win and they feel pressure. So it starts with athletes but these skills work with almost every human in the world because we all face pressure, we all are dealing with results and deadlines and so we found that sports psychology helps students, parents, surgeons, lawyers, teachers, really anyone who’s looking to be improve themselves in life and learn to deal with all the challenges the life throws at you.
N: Now, how much does this sports psychology rely on meditation or is ‘Rely’ kind of the wrong word to use?
G: I would look at it like meditation is one of the many tools that sports psychologists and mental skills coaches teach their clients. So meditation is a practice that’s been around for thousands and thousands of years and over the last 5 or 10 years, the scientific validation is overwhelming for how positive meditations impacts your life. So I think it’s just another tool that we use and we have in our tool bag along with like visualization and positive self-talk and goal-setting. Meditation is an awesome skill and tool that I think everyone should practice.
N: Now, you do work with some of the top NBA players I mean these are adults, they are guys with goals, they are guys that, you know they probably been working toward this goal of being in the NBA for quite some time. So would you say that they’re more attuned to accept and benefit from meditation than children.
G: I think the funny thing is a lot of the NBA players I’ve worked with I met them when they were very young. So for example like Aaron Gordon for the Orlando Magic, we started working together when he was 11 years old and he just bought into the mental training and I just teach meditation like it’s the thing to do. So he just jumped in and started doing it. And so my experience with a lot of the athletes I work with, I meet him when they’re teenagers and I help them kind of get this into their daily routine because obviously, these very good basketball players in high school they face a ton of pressure. But I found that they buy right into it as long as they’re taught it. And for me, I wasn’t taught it when I was young. I didn’t start to learn this stuff till I was 19. So my goal was to try to give it to kids when they’re younger. And so Aaron Gordon and I now are working on how we get it to five-year-olds because he was like, Hey, I got it at 11. Why don’t we try to get it to five-year-olds’, I mean the earlier you can get this, the better. It’s not rocket science, it’s not some far-off wacky thing, it just helps you focus in life, it helps you deal with all the stuff that’s going on. So I think they’re naturally you know players trying to make it to the NBA, they’re very driven so to do anything to help themselves get better. But what they realize is this stuff helps their life far beyond basketball and these are life skills that they learn through a game.
N: What is it about a kid say 5, 6, 7 or 11 that makes them for lack of a better term get it at that age, you’ve got the league, you’ve got Youth Football League and there are lots of thousand kids all over the country and not all of these kids are going to be good at the sport at that level, let alone go to the professional level. What is it about the few kids that get it and maintain it into a professional career whether it’s in sports or some discipline?
G: Well I think like you said, it’s almost impossible to become a professional athlete. I’ve worked with thousands of kids and I’d say maybe 10 became professional athletes. So really what you’re doing is if a young kid is playing sports hopefully they’re doing it because they enjoy it, they love it and not because it’s overwhelming pressure from their parents. And you use the game or the sport they’re playing is kind of a hook to learn these skills and you teach it to them and for most young people, it’s going to end up being just a really great life skill for them. So even if you’re not going to be a pro-athlete you still have to deal with school and all the pressures of school and the pressures of applying for jobs and trying to make it in your career, just dealing with life. So it’s really life skills that you learned through a game and occasionally, there’s some kids that pick it up when they’re young and they happen to be extremely physically talented and a lot of stuff goes fight in their life and they make it to be a pro but for 99.9 percentage of us, these are life skills that we get to learn through a game. And like you said, youth sports are so big these days. Kids are playing competitive, when they’re 5 years old, the games are competitive now and there’s just pressure behind them. So it’s just another way for us to meet kids where they are and of course, we built an app because we’re not saying you have to go to some three day silent retreat with someone we’re saying, ‘Hey everyone’s got a phone so let’s meet them where they are and let’s just build something that helps them out with the phone they’re already used’.
N: Graham, before we get into the app, talk about as a sports psychologist who deals with kids, there seems to be an ‘everybody wins’ type of mentality in some youth settings where everybody gets a trophy, don’t focus on the competition then you come into their lives and it’s all about being better. Well you’re not being better to be even, you’re being better to be better. Talk about some of the conflict there with the mindset of ‘everybody wins, we’re all equal’ as opposed to the mindset ‘You know, I’m gonna win because I want to be better than’.
G: So here’s a really important and I totally understand the concept of ‘Hey everyone win. Let’s all get a trophy’. The thing that I think is the most important thing that I’ve seen is your ability to fail and your ability to fail and then move forward and not let that derail you and stop you from everything you’re doing. So I actually believe in trophies for winners and for people who win because really, it’s not about the winner who gets the trophy. The real lesson is everyone else who gets to learn how to lose because if you learn how to lose, you’ll never stop yourself and if you don’t stop yourself, you can’t be stopped. You’re going to make mistakes and so we call the skill ‘Next Play Speed’ and it basically means ‘Hey no matter what just happened’ and ‘I’ve got to move forward, I’ve got to move on to that next play and I’ve got to try again with a great attitude, great effort, and great focus’. And a lot of times, you don’t get to have that experience until you lose, that’s when all the emotions come up, that’s when you gotta deal with all this stuff. So as opposed to avoiding those emotions, let’s learn how to work with them because you’re going to lose so many times in life but really, you’re not losing if you keep moving forward. And you’ve heard many success stories of people making mistake, after mistake, after mistake, but they keep showing up, they keep moving forward and all of a sudden, they have a breakthrough. And so to me, I think it’s important that we learn how to lose and we learn how to move forward because the kids that don’t learn how to do that and they refuse to move forward, they kind of stop themselves. So I actually think it’s really important to learn how to lose.
N: How can your LUCID App help toward that end?
G: Well, we made it really simple. So we made daily 5-minute workouts and we call the workout an ‘MVP’ and the M stands for ‘Meditation’, the V stands for ‘Visualization’ and the P stands for ‘Positive Self-talk’. So those are three tools that we try to teach everyone and we break it down into 5-minute daily workouts. And what we say is listen every day. Just get yourself focused every day, so listen to the app before you go to school, before you go to your job, before you have an interview, before you’re going to play sports, take a test, whatever it is you do, listen to it before you do that and this will help get you into your zone, help get you locked in. And the idea with mental training is it’s just like physical training, there’s no quick fix, there’s no overnight success right it’s all about repetition. So we want you to start to do it if you can everyday and that’s why we made it 5 minutes long because we thought that was reasonable and people go ‘Okay, I have 5 minutes. I can do that’. And as you start to do it day after day, you gain awareness, you gain practice and you get better at the ultimate skill is being pressed, being in the moment you’re in, not concerned about the past, not projecting fear into the future but you’re really engaged in what you’re doing right now, going all-in. And what we found is when people are present, they do the best at whatever they’re doing. That’s the best chance you have to be successful to be all-in with where you’re at right now.
N: Now before you give us a website where we can get more information, talk about the compatibility across devices of your app.
G: Well it works with everyone. We have it on Android, we have it on iPhone. Our company has been around for just about a year and a half, we’ve been out there in the world for just about a year now. And so yes, we’re compatible with all devices and we’re trying to also expand and do like the long-form video content, we’re doing more media, we’re actually creating music now because everyone loves music. So we’re taking a lot of the coaching that we do and putting music behind it so kids and adults can can listen to all of our stuff and have beats behind them. So what we found is people are enjoying the content that we have and we’re just finding different ways to get it to them in ways that can reach them. So we are on Android and we are on iPhone right now so we’re out there, you can find us.
N: Great man. Thanks Graham Betchart. Thanks for coming in. It’s been a pleasure and I’m hoping that you’ll come back and speak with us in the future.
G: Yes. Thanks for having me Neal. Let’s talk real soon.
N: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio for this Health Supplier Segment. I’m your host Neal Howard in studio with Mr. Graham Betchart, he’s got a Master’s in sports psychology and we’ve been talking about sports psychology as that psychology relates to kids. And we’ve been talking about the Lucid App, it’s a meditation app that works with Android and iPhone is available at getlucid.com. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm. You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, listen in and download it SoundCloud and be sure to visit our affiliates page when you visit our platform at hpr.fm and healthprofessionalradio.com.au.