Jamaica Gleaner / Christine Morris is a life coach who specialises in helping athletes get over mental obstacles to get better performances out of themselves in their various sporting disciplines.
Although she was born in Manchester, England, to Jamaican parents, Morris moved to the island in 2002, and in that time, she has worked with many high-profile athletes in football, cricket, and track and field.
One of these is Bayer Leverkusen’s Jamaican forward Leon Bailey, whom she counselled in 2013 during his time at KRC Genk, in Belgium.
“When I started with him, he was age 15,” she said. “He was very young in his career, and I’d say he was very confident. What I did with him was work on his weak technical areas, and that helped him to perform at a higher level. What I see of him is a really talented, confident player. What my work with him does is instil even more confidence in somebody who is already confident. My work is to help people already at the top of their game, because it can help them get to an even higher level of performance.”
Morris also worked with former Waterhouse FC and Jamaica striker Jermain ‘Tuffy’ Anderson between the 2011-2012, 2012-2013 National Premier League seasons.
WORKING WITH ANDERSON She said that she had a big part to play in Anderson’s success over those two seasons, where he was top scorer both times.
“To be honest, I’d say [I contributed] about 90 per cent because I got him scoring 14 goals in the 2011-2012 season, and then he went up to 21 goals in the following season,” she said. “It’s also helped him to get back into the Reggae Boyz team, and he ended up scoring a goal against Costa Rica. He also ended up getting an overseas contract (in El Salvador) as well. That’s what I aim to do for athletes – to get them to the highest level in their professions.”
Morris, a neuro-linguistics pro-gramming (NLP) practitioner, said that although many athletes tend to have large egos, she finds no difficulty working with them as a result.
The ‘neuro’ in neuro-linguistics relates to the nervous system and how individuals act based on their nerves, while the ‘linguistics’ deals with language and how individuals interpret what they hear.
“Someone might hear that they’re no good and they take that to heart, that could make them underperform,” she said. “The programming is how you interpret what has been said to you. What the work does with the NLP is to undo what I would call the negative things that are happening with the person. Or, if it’s something they want to achieve, it helps to achieve that.”
She said that she uses methods of visualisation exercises in her NLP.
“I get them to visualise whatever we’re working on and then get the results from that.”
Athletes are known for leading what many consider fast lifestyles, which involves a lot of partying, drinking and promiscuous behaviour. Morris said that she has had to work with many athletes who make a habit of this behaviour, but it is the NLP that allows her to transform them.
“The NLP side of it is what helps them to undo those things. In one respect, it helps them to quickly overcome those habits and put them in a space where they then start doing the right things. They come to realise it’s not good for their health, and it isn’t good for their career.”