Professional sportsmen and sportswomen no longer have to imagine a life where performing at their highest peak is a given and injury is no longer a concern.
Through a new ground-breaking program developed by Melbourne mental health sports coach, Richard Maloney, this is now a reality with scores of elite athletes from around the world endorsing the system.
Injury Free | Mental Training for Elite Athletes (Lifestyle Entrepreneur Press) by Richard Maloney takes readers on an epic and life-changing journey through Maloney's ground-breaking 'Quality Mind' program and provides the tools to alleviate injury and break the negative cycles and limiting beliefs that hold players back.
Accompanying the Amazon No.1 best seller book is a free Quality Mind app, which is equivalent to athletes having a performance coach in their pocket.
As Maloney explains, injuries take a devastating financial and emotional toll on athletes no matter what level they compete at. The Quality Mind program is for athletes training for the Olympics, for professional players in elite codes and even for someone just trying to improve their golf game.
"The key to being injury free is continuously becoming self-aware by connecting to your heart space and getting in touch moment by moment with your innate intuition, and then letting life flow to you," he said.
Maloney outlines seven common areas where athletes can continually break down with injuries as well as mental health issues:
• Not managing pressure from the media and parents (for younger athletes)
• Not 100% focussed
• Lacking self-worth
• Not listening to their body (eg fatigue)
• Not unconditionally excited
• Being an inconsistent performer
"As an elite athlete, your highest excitement is performing on the big stage, entertaining the crowds and dominating the play," Maloney writes. "When you become worried or fearful of what other people think, or whether something's going to happen, you get out of alignment with your true potential."
"Nine times out of ten, I can now accurately predict when an athlete I'm working with is going to get injured, and through my twenty years of working with high-performing people and athletes, I've built a tangible, proven, step-by-step system to eradicate injury and improve performance."
The Injury Free self-coaching book and app will unlock inner super-powers, resulting in the best sports performances possible, as well as increased happiness, health, wealth and thriving relationships. This is achieved through practical, actionable and proven mental training.
Injury Free teaches readers how to:
• Unlock their ultimate sports capability while minimising or eliminating sports injuries and significantly increasing play time.
• Unleash new levels of energy and passion.
• Release inner fears and dissolve limiting beliefs that are inhibiting success.
• Discover and explore their higher mind and the extraordinary powers and abilities that this affords once recognised.
The book reveals the 5-step process allowing them to reach their potential: Evaluate (where are you now/where do you want to be?); Retrain (discovering another way); Clean (making room for the new); Dream (creating the new you); and Live (become the new you).
Richard says that many high-profile players who start with great potential and then drop off are not mentally equipped, "They don't have a strong mental foundation," he said. "It's the same for young kids who crash out. The pre-season provides so much pressure."
Injury Free has numerous case studies from athletes who have experienced the program and its overwhelmingly positive outcomes, and who are now reaping the rewards. This includes:
Shaun Higgins from the North Melbourne Football Club who says that it has been the secret to his success. Shaun won the team's best and fairest in 2017 and 2018 and was named an All-Australian in 2018 at 30 years old.
Tiarna Ernst, a doctor at Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital and an AFLW player who now plays with the Gold Coast Suns after three years with the Western Bulldogs where she won a premiership in 2018. Juggling two vocations successfully is attributed to Richard's program.
Easton Wood from the Western Bulldogs Football Club. Easton won the Club Best and Fairest and was selected All-Australian in 2015. In 2016 Easton captained the team to a winning premiership.
Laura Attard from Carlton Football Club who says, "the work is on my mind and yet the impact on my body has been so positive".
Injury Free | Mental Training for Elite Athletes introduces a world-first, proven activation system, teaching athletes, sports managers and coaches how to handle the high pressure of elite sports and consistently reach the pinnacle of performance, game after game.
Injury Free has an RRP of $35.95 (paperback version with app included) and is available from all good bookstores and online at qualitymindglobal.com. An eBook is available for $2.99.
Question: Can you tell us about your injury-free system?
Richard Maloney: Quality Mind's core model is based on modern day science and is a blend of: . Practices of Neuroscience
. Practices of Positive Psychology
. Practices of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)
. Knowledge of HeartMath Institute
. Practices of Ancient Philosophies
It's now proven that once the mind is out of balance, then the body will follow suit, because it's all connected, and because our bodies are led by our minds. The key is to build a firmer foundation in the mind so that when pressure is applied, then its easily managed and it's not felt in a negative or overwhelming way. The QM multi-level system eliminates life's challenges by using smartphone technology and trained Mind Mentors™ to reduce the likelihood and severity of breakdowns (both physical and mental), depression, illness and burnout.
We are balancing and connecting people to their intuition and pointing them in the right direction. When you are fully plugged into the NOW and racing toward your highest excitement, anything is possible. Whereas when you are constantly worrying about the past or the future, and struggling to effectively manage the mounting pressures and stresses of life, you lose energy, focus and your body and/or mind may break down.
Question: What inspired you to develop this ground-breaking program?
Richard Maloney: Injuries take a devastating financial and emotional toll on athletes and their clubs, and I personally learnt this the hard way after being recruited by St. Kilda Football Club (AFL) in 1994 by Trevor Barker, and suffering multiple injuries that eventually led to me walking away from my life-long dream. I just wasn't mentally equipped to handle the immense pressure, and subsequent injuries, that came with being an elite sportsman. The stress proved all too much, but this failure stayed with me, and it ultimately drove me to build my Quality Mind business. As time went on and I worked with more and more elite sports people, an undeniable pattern began to emerge, and there was no denying the link between increased pressure and injury. I knew exactly why I had failed, and I wanted others to learn from my mistakes. My ultimate purpose is to help athletes get the most out of themselves and consistently achieve the pinnacle of performance.
Question: Which sportspeople have you worked with using this injury-free system?
Richard Maloney: Laura Attard and Tiarna Ernst (AFLW), and Shaun Higgins, Easton Wood and Trent Dumont (AFL), just to name a few. Also, numerous elite sporting teams from a range of different sports, plus a number of international elite athletes.
Question: Can you share a story?
Tiarna Ernst shares her experience with Quality Mind.
An excerpt from Injury Free – Mental Training for Elite Athletes
Tiarna Ernst is a powerhouse of a human being with two vocations: she is a full-time Obstetrics and Gynecology Advanced Trainee at Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital, and she also plays for the Gold Coast Suns in the Australian Football League Women's competition.
Tiarna is naturally gifted in athleticism and she enjoyed dabbling in many different sports as she grew up in a rural community in far north Queensland, and while she always felt like she could achieve something big with sport, she also had the gift of academics so she began studying medicine at university. About halfway through her degree, she encountered some women playing AFL across the street from her gym, and she started playing footy. She learned the game quickly and soon rose to dominate the local competition.
All of that shifted once she graduated to become a junior doctor however, as she struggled to balance the demands of working as a new doctor in the health system against her commitments to local footy. AFL wasn't a priority then, it was merely a passion and a hobby, but that soon changed when it was announced that there was going to be a women's competition starting in 2017.
"I had this idea. I hadn't really pursued my sporting interest to the highest level, but maybe if I tried hard enough and gave it my all, I could actually play AFL Women's next to some of the girls that were considered the best players in Australia at the time."
Tiarna subsequently moved to Melbourne to further her career as a doctor, and also to train for the AFLW. In her medical career, she struggled to adjust to a new hospital, while also striving to get into a specialist program. She effectively went full tilt at balancing two high-pressure, full-time jobs: studying and practicing medicine, while simultaneously training for and playing footy. She was determined to be both the best doctor and the best athlete she could be, but it was a struggle.
"I was studying for my specialty exam in a very competitive environment, whilst at the same time playing footy and trying to get drafted," Tiarna explained. "I had to work for 40-50 hours a week, train for footy on the weekends and at night, but then also consistently study, often four or five hours a day, in addition to everything else."
It was an untenable situation, and during that period Tiarna was floundering in a sea of stress and anxiety, which impacted her performance, both at the hospital and on the field. She simply wasn't coping.
Enter Quality Mind
When Tiarna first met with Richard, she cried the entire time. "I think it was just this huge amount of pressure and stress, and I just let it all out. That's all I can remember " it was just all spilling out. Obviously, he could see the impact the stress and pressures were having on my life."
Since starting on the program, the biggest impact that Quality Mind has had on Tiarna is that it eliminated all sense of those pressures she was drowning in before. "Once I started to recognise the differences in channelling your energy and channelling your thoughts, by not having to worry about any of the pressures, it made work so much easier and more enjoyable; and it almost became addictive. I was no longer going to let all the stress and chaos, and even the medical emergencies that happen at work, affect me. It became addictive to not let any of those external influences impact how I was feeling, how I was acting and how I was channelling my energies."
By mastering her mind and living in the now, the art of balancing work and footy was no longer a burden. "I just let it happen. I just floated through work. Things came my way, I dealt with them, and I didn't have to worry or stress about what had happened in the past or what was going to happen in the future. It allowed me to stop overthinking and just wholeheartedly appreciate that what I was doing was all worth it, because at the end of the day my medical career would always be there for me, and footy was an opportunity I'll only have for a short period of my life. I wouldn't want to get 10 years down the track and regret not pursuing this to the best of my ability, because these amazing opportunities won't be there when I'm older."
Tiarna also credits Quality Mind with making her a better doctor, giving her the tools to cope with the demands of her profession and avoiding burn out – such a common issue in the medical field, let alone for those juggling two careers simultaneously.
After joining the Quality Mind program, Tiarna's game also improved so much that she was drafted into the AFLW, and her record of frequent injury ended.
Question: What are the negative beliefs that hold most of us back?
Richard Maloney: Some key examples are: fear that you're not good enough, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of being found out, fear of the past and fear of the future. All negative beliefs are limiting, fear-based beliefs that prevent us from realising our true potential in life. These are also beliefs that can manifest physically. They are often responsible for our happiness levels reducing and our focus wavering. Then energy levels diminish, fatigue sets in and you are now in a high-risk zone of health issues.
Question: How can being self-aware result in injury free training?
Richard Maloney: Most elite athletes and sports scientists don't truly understand the enormity of the mind / body connection. When the mind is stressed and full of fear the body is then stressed and energy levels diminish significantly. Elite athletes are like Formula 1 cars, but when a Formula 1 car is out of balance on the racetrack then multiple warning lights go off on the dashboard and its quickly garaged for a service. When an elite athlete goes out balance on the other hand, the flashing red warning lights aren't being spotted, and so injury may occur. We bring self-awareness to our athletes through the tools we provide in our program, so they then gain a greater level of self-awareness, and they can then self-regulate and bring themselves back to an optimal, balanced and energised state. We do this through our QM system, and our advanced mobile phone app technology helps us detect those warning signs sooner.
Question: Who did you write Injury Free for?
Richard Maloney: Athletes, coaches, managers, agents, parents and anyone who wants to unlock their ultimate sports capabilities, alleviate injury and break the negative cycles and limiting beliefs that are holding them back.
Question: What can readers expect from Injury Free, the book?
Richard Maloney: Injury Free takes you on a journey through the Quality Mind program. It's a step-by-step self-coaching book that will unlock your inner super-powers, resulting in the best sports performance of your life, as well as increased happiness, health, wealth and thriving relationships. It offers a detailed, science-backed understanding of what creates mental and physical breakdowns, and it's a one stop shop to success and fulfillment. This will be achieved through practical, actionable, proven mental training, and the book is accompanied by many compelling case studies from elite athletes who have experienced the program and its overwhelmingly positive outcomes.
Question: Can you tell us about the Quality Mind app?
Richard Maloney: The Quality Mind program is highly interactive, and you'll find that the app is the best friend you could have in your pocket along the journey. The book was written to be used alongside and in unison with the phone / iPad app. The book will put you on the right path, while the app will keep you accountable to the learning as well as grounded and connected to the Quality Mind community along the way. The app offers many actionable features, such as meditations, thought shopping, bubble popping, journaling and body balance.
Interview by Brooke Hunter
Photograph courtesy of Athlete's Voice