Self-awareness – the key to RBS 6 Nations success

8 March 2017

A keenly contested and punishing RBS 6 Nations championship has bought the importance of self-awareness and resilience among elite athletes to the fore. And nowhere has this been more the case than here in Scotland in the earlier stages of the competition, where the bravery, doggedness and inventiveness of the Scots ignited an enthusiasm, even an expectation, among the Scotland support.

The Scots demonstrated resilience to overcome the Welsh in round three, after losing captain Greig Laidlaw to a championship ending injury in the previous round. But this weekend it was England who finally found the inner strength to be able to demonstrate unequivocally their stranglehold on the game in the northern hemisphere, emphatically extending their winning streak to 18 games in the process.

Throughout the championship so far, the self-awareness shown by the teams has revealed that there’s more to success than athletic ability alone.

Insights Chief Executive Andy Lothian said: “Increased self-awareness helps an athlete understand how they take on new information and prepares them for the high pressure situation they’re entering.

“Self-awareness, both for athletes and those working with them, can make the difference between ‘good’ performances and ‘great’ ones. When we understand ourselves, we open up the door to increased self-awareness and generate the possibility of making better choices, which can lead to better outcomes.”

Insights Learning and Development has been working with key individuals across the sporting code to give coaches and athletes, at all levels, the tools to better understand themselves on and off the pitch. The work is focused on improving performance through increased self-awareness and, critically for sporting success, resilience.

Andy said: “While it’s widely acknowledged that the work we do has a serious impact on the corporate world, many people wouldn’t expect Insights Discovery to translate into the sporting world.

“However Insights Discovery is useful for a lot of things; creating a common language of colour, helping team-mates work together more effectively at crucial moments, discovering what motivates each person, and understanding how different people respond to feedback.

“Positive changes in behaviour and communication, focused around athletes getting the best out of each other, have been noted among the individuals and teams we’ve worked with. There have even been instances on the pitch where communication has been enhanced and that has resulted in improved results.”

As the championship continues and the six nations battle for supremacy, it will be the team with the greatest resolve and whose players are the most self-aware that emerges victorious.