Wavemaker: Performance Enhancing Edition

The Plank Wave: “The Performance Enhancing Edition”

By Michael Schulder
April 2nd, 2014
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Oh, to begin a Wave with a strong breeze.

That’s what is happening right now with The Plank Wave.

In case you missed Part 1 of The Plank Wave — the strong breeze has a name. It’s Gabi Ury.

On April 19th,  just after she turns 16, Gabi is planning to break the world record for holding an abdominal plank longer than any other woman.

Nantucket-based oceanographer, Dr. Sarah Oktay, explained to me that big waves can be produced by light breezes – as long as you blow long enough.

I use that inspiration as an independent journalist. Begin with a light breeze and sustain it.

Gabi Ury just happens to be a stronger breeze than I usually encounter.

I’m still not sure where her strength comes from.

Gabi’s 14 surgeries since she was born, more than one on her spine and many on her abdomen due to a rare and challenging set of birth anomalies, could have left her feeling weak and discouraged.

But she is strong and positive.

So positive that she is convinced she will break the women’s world Plank record of 40 minutes straight.  She has already done it longer at home.

But Gabi knows that on April 19th, outside the comfort of her home, in a public venue, under the scrutiny of the judges of the Guinness Book of World Records, the challenge may be even harder.

I wondered: what can Gabi Ury do to increase her chance of delivering a peak performance under pressure?

I reached out to a trusted source – a man who has earned his moniker:  The Bulletproof Musician.

His name is Noa Kageyama.  Kageyama was a professional violinist until he acted on what he knew to be true for many years:  he did not have the passion or drive to spend his life as a professional violinist.

So he returned to school, got a Ph.D. in counseling psychology, and now teaches at The Juilliard School of Music.  He coaches performers on how to excel in competition and on stage.  He has studied sports and exercise psychology too.

Noa Kageyama has recorded a few tips for Gabi which you can listen to in the video on this page.  I’ll summarize them briefly, but my written summary is no substitute for the short, but detailed, 2-minute video.

Tip 1 – Simulation Training:  Dr. Kageyama advises Gabi to “simulate many of the details of what you’re going to experience on the big day in advance, so that when the moment comes these things are less likely to throw you.”  Again, the key details are in the video.

Tip 2 – Get plenty of sleep.  How much sleep over how many days?  Please watch the video.

Tip 3 – Gabi can consider changing how she keeps track of time – of those 40 golden minutes.  Again, the critical details are in the video on this page.

This advice is not just for useful for Gabi, which she’ll be happy to hear.

The goal for this girl who tells us that “life is short and I know that any day I could be in the hospital,” is to “inspire other people to push their own limits and do something that makes a difference . . .”

All of us can transpose The Bulletproof Musician’s tips for our particular competitive challenges – to push our own limits.

If we choose to do so, The Plank Wave will keep growing.

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