Manuel Coloma’s Three Phases of High Performance

· February 20, 2019

High performance isn’t limited to athletes or great businessmen. We can all aspire to be the best at what we do. In fact, we’re all capable of becoming so much better than we are now and reaching a level of greatness we may have never imagined.

Throughout this article, you’ll realize that high performance is not so much a matter of knowledge or technique, but a matter of momentum. It’s an impulse that’s inside each and every one of us.

For ex-basketball player and trainer Manuel Coloma, high performance depends directly on the ability to guide and align all our capabilities towards the goal we’re pursuing. That being said, you may think that high performance is mostly akin to sports. However, it can also be applied in other aspects of life. In this article, we’ll analyze his high performance approach and how to apply it.

To perform, you must be aware of your limits

Manuel Coloma states that in order to achieve high performance, you have to know your own limits, then ignore them, and finally break them. High performance is all about eradicating your limits in the sense of what you think you know or are capable of doing.

For Coloma, we’re all constantly evolving. We’re in a constant search of excellence. Thus, we have very high expectations that make us improve every day.

A hand placing wooden cubes on top of each other making a tower.

The three phases of high performance

For Manuel Coloma, high performance is based on three phases: energy, audacity, and patience.

Energy: Knowledge + technique + motivation

Energy is what allows people to face the work they have to do. In sports, energy refers to the individual’s physical abilities. In daily work, energy is knowledge and the techniques we use to be motivated and do our work passionately.

Motivation is the impulse we need in order to face our responsibilities. That being said, we must feel motivated in order to gain energy. Both of them go hand-in-hand. What’s the point of having a lot of knowledge or mastering techniques if you lack impulse and motivation?

Audacity: The ability to differentiate

Audacity is related to creativity, innovation, and proactivity. Coloma explains that audacity is being able to go outside the box, look for new solutions, and see something other people don’t. You need audacity if you want to be bold, creative, and step out of your comfort zone.

In other words, for Coloma, audacity is the ability to be different from the rest. It has nothing to do with energy but with the power to adapt to the environment and be flexible. If you’re ever in a position where you must do something you’ve never done before, audacity will be your best ally.

Patience: Processing the lived experience

For Manuel Coloma, patience equals lived and processed experiences. Coloma often refers to it as ‘wisdom’. He explains that we’ll be able to know if we have to focus more on energy or audacity only when we reach this last phase.

“Today I will do what others won’t so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.”

-Jerry Rice-

Global proprioceptive behavior

A person who has been able to go through these three stages, energy, audacity, and patience, manifests what Manuel Coloma calls global proprioceptive behavior. Proprioception has to do with the way we perceive ourselves in the environment and the ability to dominate the space we work at.

Coloma calls this “dominating the parquet”, just as a basketball player dominates the court. Basically, dominating the parquet is being able to foresee the extent and consequences of your actions.

For this, it’s vital to be positive and optimistic, which implies the following:

  • Thinking about what you want to achieve.
  • Staying fit, both physically and mentally.
  • Investing resources (especially time).
A businesswoman going up the stairs.

Pursuing high performance

Coloma clearly states that anyone who wants to pursue high performance must first become an autonomous person. They should be able to develop their work on their own, without having anyone in front of them monitoring them and telling them what to do.

An autonomous individual is self-aware and pushes themselves. Their motivation to do better comes from within. These people are the ones who are most likely to achieve high performance.

That’s why Coloma says that those who wish to achieve high performance should be more concerned with motivation and internal impulse than with technique and knowledge. The latter can be acquired through time whereas the other two aspects come from the inside.

Manuel Coloma is a psychologist and an expert in high performance. He was a professional basketball coach for three decades and a basketball assistant coach for six years. In his time leading the national women’s team, he won the first gold medal for Spanish basketball in 1993.

“There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.”

-Derek Jeter-