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By Scott Ford, Founding Member, OMNI Athlete

There is a major transformation occurring in sports that affects not only the performance community at large but the coaching community as well. It’s the transformation out of dualistic coaching and performance consciousness and into the emerging stage of non-dualistic coaching and performance consciousness.

To see what this transformation looks like and to experience the difference between dualistic and non-dual performance experiences, please join Omni Athlete at its Future of Sports Conference this summer in San Francisco.

Click here to learn more: Book Your Seat

Performance is always evolving, and with the evolution of performance comes the evolution of coaching. Look back on your own career as a performer or as a coach and you can’t help but notice the dramatic changes that have occurred over the years.

Performers are always upgrading their standards of excellence, setting the stage for the next generation. The same holds true for coaching. Developmental coaches are always looking for novelty, something new and different to give their players an edge in the competition. Coaching conferences are filled with new techniques, new technologies, holistic coaching models for developing the whole performer – Body, Mind, and Spirit.

Question: How do these holistic coaching models develop the spiritual dimension of performance?

We’re all familiar with the physical training and its scientific evolution over the years. We’ve all seen mental and emotional training evolve as sport psychology continues to add its expertise to the holistic coaching mix. So, we’ve got the physical, mental and emotional dimensions of holistic coaching covered quite nicely by sports science and sport psychology, but again, the question is: who’s covering the spiritual dimension of performance training?

Certainly not sports science. Science and spirituality sit at opposite ends of the training spectrum. Science has a center of gravity held together by more and better physical training, objectively measured and validated by a community of scientific peers.

Sport psychology sits somewhere between science and spirituality with mental and emotional training at its center of gravity but still held together by an empirical database swirling with Ph.D. theses continuously adding more and better data to the evolution of mental and emotional training. All validated and peer-reviewed by the sport psychology community.


• Physical Training – Yes

• Mental Training – Yes

• Emotional Training – Yes

• Spiritual Training – No

What’s missing in this training model? What’s absent in this spectrum of holistic development? The physical end of the spectrum is covered and evolving through science. The mental and emotional middle of the spectrum is covered and evolving through psychology. But the spiritual end of the developmental spectrum remains curiously underdeveloped in our current holistic performance models.

Holistic models might pay lip-service to Body, Mind, and Spirit, but when it comes down to actual training in the spiritual dimension, current coaching models have stopped evolving, stopped developing, stopped growing up. And in order to grow up beyond science and psychology, coaching must wake up to higher states of performance consciousness and the spiritual dimension of sport.

As a holistic coach, how does your performance model train Spirit? What training techniques do you use to develop the spiritual dimension of performance? Do you care?

These are questions that must be addressed if coaching is to continue its creative advance into the future. Even the question of “do you care?” must be addressed. Frankly, some coaches don’t, but for those who do, coaching and performance development is always available, especially if you’re willing to wake up to higher states of performance consciousness. If you don’t know what it means to “wake up” to higher states of performance consciousness, then…you haven’t.

But don’t worry. Science and Psychology still carry the most weight in the coaching community at large, and they will continue to dominate the future of developmental coaching, but it is a developmental future that includes rather than excludes training in the Spiritual dimension of performance.

The emergence of the Integral Stage of human evolution brings with it the co-emergence in the evolution of human performance experience. It is a movement out of the egoic reality of dualistic performance experience into the spiritual reality of non-dualistic performance experience.

A few term definitions here.

1. Dualistic Performance Experience is subject vs object experience. The experience of me vs you. The experience of my team vs your team. Me and my team as subject vs you and your team as an object to my subject. Subject and object are separated by the very nature of competition. In other words, subject and object are two, not one. That’s duality, and that’s our normal performance experience. It’s the experience we train for; and we train long and hard to improve the physical, mental and emotional dimensions of our dualistic me vs you experience.

Q: How do we train to improve the spiritual dimension of our me vs you experience? Especially when these dualistic experiences are dominated by ego?

2. Non-Dualistic Performance Experience is one approach to training the spiritual dimension of your competitive performance. Nondual performance experiences are experiences in which subject and object are one, not two. Performance experiences in which subject and object are unified by competition, not separated. A competition where it’s no longer me competing against you for a prize, but rather, with nondual competition, it’s me and you competing with each other the co-create a better game.

Don’t let the terminology confuse you. Playing in your normal performance state is a dualistic performance experience while playing in the zone is a nondual performance experience. We’ve all experienced “the zone,” or “flow,” or the “Ideal Performance State,” or the “Peak Performance State.” It goes by other names as well: satori, kensho; it’s even called the spiritual dimension of sport. But no matter the name, the zone experience is a sudden and temporary experience of ultimate nondual performance reality. The unification of body, mind, and spirit. You all know the experience. You’ve all had it. It comes out of nowhere, stays awhile, unifying your game while blowing your sox off, then, just as suddenly as it arrived, the zone experience departs and leaves you wondering what the heck just happened and how do I make it happen again?

That’s actually two questions:

1. What the heck just happened? 2. How do I make it happen again?

Q-1 is easy to answer. What the heck just happened was you experiencing the spiritual dimension of sport in the form unified nondual performance flow. You, playing in the zone, is you, co-generating your very own nondual spiritual experience, and blowing your sox off at the same time. That’s what the heck just happened. And it’s the easy question of performance development.

Q-2 is the hard question of performance development. How do I make it happen again? And again? And again? That’s the real question; isn’t it? It’s one thing to have a zone experience. We’ve all been there, done that. It’s quite another to intentionally reproduce, maintain and stabilize this temporary nondual experience so as to develop it into a permanent performance reality.

Fortunately, there is an emergence of developmental coaches who are addressing the hard question of performance development with leading-edge performance models that include nondual training in the spiritual dimension of human performance evolution.

Some of them will be meeting up at the University of San Francisco on the weekend of July 19-21 for Omni Athlete’s Future of Sports Conference that will look into, among other subjects, the answer to Question #2: how do I make it happen again? And again? And again?

If you’re interested in the next generation of developmental coaching, please join us for a weekend in the zone.

Click here: Book Your Seat


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