About Us

Personal Best Academy | Site Author

Personal Best Academy

We have developed a fresh approach to improving learning and transfer of learning; eradicating bad or unsafe habits; accelerating transition and conversion training; and correcting technique faults, misconceptions and other persistent errors.

We maintain that the main reason why even motivated people have difficulty changing their skilled performance, behaviour, thoughts and beliefs is because they are the prisoners of habit.

Emerging research in cognitive psychology indicates that learned habit patterns influence and direct what we think and do, every day of our lives. This includes our performance in sport or at work, our conceptual framework including any misconceptions; our ability to learn; how we interact with others; and the thoughts and beliefs that guide our daily lives. All these learned behaviours, whether right or wrong, safe or unsafe, suitable or unsuitable, effective or ineffective, well adjusted or maladjusted, are under the powerful influence of habit forces.

Habit patterns automatically develop during practice, i.e, repeated conscious recall of a thought, word or deed. Practicing recall soon lays down neural networks in the brain that, when the same situation arises next time, are triggered automatically so that we can respond instinctively and appropriately, doing exactly what we learned or trained to do. The brain is built to work this way; to easily and automatically develop habit patterns.

Habit patterns are useful because they require less mental energy than conscious thought. The brain finds it more efficient to work this way. Good habits, developed from conscious practice and effort, help us function better during our daily lives.

As long as those good habits are suitable reactions to what we encounter, they remain beneficial. But when circumstances change and a different response is required to a familiar situation, that habit we have developed can be a real handicap.

As we all know from bitter experience, habit patterns are notoriously hard to change. Anyone who tries to change an established routine soon comes up against a powerful mental resistance which interferes, slows down, and sometimes even disables the desired change and improvement in performance and behaviour. The better someone has practiced, learned and therefore habituated the thought, performance or behaviour; the harder it is to change.

Currently available coaching, teaching, training and therapeutic methods can be very effective when dealing with a blank slate, i.e., when the person has no prior experience or training and no preconceptions that might get in the way of correct performance. However, coaching, teaching, training and therapeutic methods find it very difficult to deal with maladaptive habit patterns.

Eventually, after much time and effort, change does come and the person improves but there is a typically extended period of adaptation during which coaching, teaching, training and therapeutic efforts have to be re-applied. This problem is known as the transfer of learning/training/therapy problem.

The period of adaptation to change and the associated transfer problems make coaching, teaching, training and therapy less time- and cost-effective. There has to be a better way.

Personal Best Academy uses and teaches Old Way/New Way® to help free people from the chains of habit and empower them to achieve their personal best. Sports Coaching Protocols™ use Old Way/New Way® Learning.

From the description below, we can see that Old Way/New Way® is a powerful, cost- and time-effective yet very user friendly learning method that can change habit patterns quickly and permanently. Old Way/New Way® greatly reduces the typically extended and often risky adaptation period during which people try to adjust to change.

Since its inception in 1986, Personal Best Academy has provided training courses in Old Way/New Way® Learning to individuals, groups, organisations and corporations striving to achieve their personal best.

Recipients of Old Way/New Way® training include Olympic athletes and coaches; players and coaches of elite and recreational sports; pilots and flight instructors; drivers and driving instructors; firearms trainees and instructors; police departments; mining machinery operators and instructors; workplace operators and supervisors; employees and managers; musicians and music teachers; dancers and teachers of dance; school, college and university students and teachers; and children and parents.

Personal Best Academy provides purpose-built Sports Coaching Protocols®. We also offer customised training workshops in Old Way/New Way® that prepare sports coaches to develop their own Sports Coaching Protocols®.

Personal Best Academy® is a registered business managed by Dr Paul Baxter and operated from Brisbane, Australia. Our customers are mostly from English speaking countries but include individuals, groups and organisations from many nations around the globe.

Site Author

Qualifications

PhD in Psychology 1980 The University of Queensland.

MA in Psychology 1975 University of Adelaide.

BA Hons 1971 University of Adelaide.

Grad DipTeach (Secondary General) 1970 University of South Australia.

Retired psychologist.

Experience

Consultant to government and business organisations on Old Way/New Way® Learning.

Full- and part-time Senior Lecturer, Lecturer and Tutor in Psychology, Business Management , Economic Geography and Education at The University of Adelaide, Griffith University, Queensland University of Technology, Central Queensland University and The University of Queensland.

Conducted professional development of academic and administrative staff, research into learning and teaching, course development, evaluation of teaching, program evaluation, managerial training, psychological and educational consultancy for The University of Queensland.

Conducted program evaluation, standards review, quality assurance, operational audit, efficiency and effectiveness reviews of policy, programs, systems and organisational work units in government.

Adviser to the Registrar, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia, on development of a student evaluation of teaching scheme for that university. 1991.

Two weeks on campus as adviser on staff development and training to the Faculty of Education, Chiang Mai University, Thailand. 1990.

Educational psychologist for the South Australian Education Department.

Research grant

Baxter, P., Lyndon, H., Dole, S., Cooper, T., Battistutta, D., & Blakeley, J. (1997). Skill correction & accelerated learning in the workplace. An experimental field trial of the Conceptual Mediation Program and Old Way New Way. Curriculum Research and Development, TAFE Queensland. Australian National Training Authority Research Advisory Council Grant No. 95026.

Books

Getting the Most Out of Your Child's School: Questions Parents Should Ask Teachers. 1980. McGraw-Hill Ryerson. (with I. Gasson).

How To Get the Most Out of Your Child's School. 1983. Sydney: William Collins.

Book chapter

Smallwood, T. The Airline Training Pilot. 2nd edition. 2000. Ashgate. Chapter 6.

Journal articles

Baxter, P and Graham, C. 10 Steps To Kicking Your Bad Habit. Golf Australia, 2006. June issue.

Baxter, E. P., Lyndon, E. H., Dole, S. & Battistutta, D. Less pain, more gain: Rapid skill development using Old Way New Way. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 2004, 56, 1, 21-50.

Baxter, P. Old habits no longer die hard: Rapid correction of habit patterns in driving. RoadWise, 2004, Vol. 15, No. 1.

Hanin, Y., Korjus, T., Jouste, P., & Baxter, P. Rapid technique correction using Old Way New Way: Two case studies with Olympic athletes. The Sport Psychologist 2002, 16, pp. 79-99. This research study won second prize in the 4th European Athletics Association Science Awards, out of a record entry of 28 projects from 13 European countries.

Weaver, G., Baxter, P. & Lyndon, E. H. Changing work habits: More gain, less pain. Australian Safety News, October 2000, pp. 58-59. National Safety Council of Australia Ltd.

Baxter, P. Mediational Learning: Old Habits No Longer Die Hard. Write On. 2000, 18, 1, 10 - 15. Queensland Council For Adult Literacy Newsletter.

Baxter, P. The Way Ahead: Old Way New Way and Mediational Learning. Classroom, 2000, 7, pp. 12 - 13.

Baxter, P. If only I could …Taking control of change. New Vegetarian Health Magazine, 2000. Winter edition, pages 38-39.

CM Rzepczyk, KA Anderson, PA Csurhes, EP Baxter, N Kere, D Irving, S Dyer and GL Jones. Epitopic specificity in the human response to the invariant region of a polymorphic Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface antigen. J. Protozool. Res. 1992, 2, 102-111.

The TEVAL experience 1983-1988: the impact of a student evaluation of teaching scheme on university teachers. Studies in Higher Education 1991, 16, 2, 151-178.

CM Rzepczyk, PA Csurhes, EP Baxter, TJ Doran, DO Irving, and N Kerry. Amino acid sequences recognized by T cells: studies on a merozoite surface antigen from the FCQ-27/PNG isolate of Plasmodium falciparum. Immunology Letters 1990, 25, 155-164.

Comparing conventional and resource-based education in chemical engineering: student perceptions of a teaching innovation. Higher Education 19,323-340.
Resource-based education in chemical engineering: the history and impact of a radical teaching innovation. Studies in Higher Education 1990, 15, 2, 223-240.

Working with the brain, not against it: a new approach to correction of systematic errors in the subtraction algorithm. British Journal of Special Education 1990, 17, 1, 19-22.

Turn-taking in tutorial group discussion, under conditions of varying preparation and leadership. Higher Education 1988, 17, 295-306.

Verbal inactivity in tutorial groups, under conditions of varying preparation and leadership. Higher Education 1985, 14, 723-740.

Successful students' perceptions of their parents. Australian Journal of Teacher Education. 1983.

Academic staff allocation procedures in academic institutions in Australia. (with I. Gasson). Vestes 1979, 22, 52-54.

Success and failure in tertiary education, with reference to school attended: a re-examination. Australian Journal of Teacher Education 1979, 4, 1-10.

Perceived problems of beginning teachers. (with I. Gasson). South Pacific Journal of Teacher Education 1979, 1&2, 28-33.

Study behaviour and tertiary academic achievement. Australian Journal of Teacher Education 1978, 3, 2, 45-51.

The use of first year as an academically-diagnostic year: a re-examination. Vestes 1977, 20, 1, 24-28.

On-campus facilities for extra-curricular activities: their use and relationship to academic achievement. Vestes 1977, 20, 3, 43-46.

Attitude change in response to an in-service teacher education programme. Australian Journal of Teacher Education 1977, 38-41.

ASAT and other factors related to tertiary academic achievement. Education Research and Perspectives 1976, 3, 1, 34-44.

Current strategies of selection for tertiary entrance. The Australian University 1976, 14, 2, 213-227.

Conference presentations

Baxter, P. The problem is not learning the new; it's forgetting (unlearning) the old: Eliminating habit patterns and improving learning transfer. Presented at the SimTect 2005 Health Care Simulation Conference, 2005, 1-3 November. Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital Education Centre, Brisbane, Australia.

Baxter, P. Old Way New Way; Accelerating adaptation to change through cognitive science. Keynote speech delivered at the Singapore Airlines Flight Instructors' Symposium, Singapore, 2004, 22-23 July.

Baxter, P. Old Way New Way Flight Training. Invited paper delivered at the Royal Aeronautical Society's Human Factors Conference, Gatwick, London. 1998.

Baxter, E. P., Lyndon, E. H., & Dole, S. L. (August). Old habits no longer die hard: Accelerating the development of skilled performance using a novel approach to error and technique correction and habit unlearning. Paper presented at the 34th Annual Conference of the Australian Psychological Society, Hobart, Tasmania. 1999.

Baxter E. P. et al. Skill Correction and Accelerated Learning In the Workplace: The Conceptual Mediation Program Corrects Learned Errors In Skilled Performance. Paper presented at the Griffith University 4th Annual International Conference on Post Compulsory Education and Training - Learning & Work: The Challenge. 2-4 December. 1996.

Baxter EP et al. Skill Correction and Accelerated Learning in the Workplace. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Australian National Training Authority Research Advisory Council, 3-4 November, Melbourne.1996.

The TAFE Counsellor: An Evaluation of Student Services in TAFE. Australian Association for Research in Education Annual Conference, November 26-30. Ramada Hotel, Gold Coast. 1991.

Reports

Resource-based Education in Chemical Engineering: Student Perceptions of a Teaching Innovation. The University of Queensland, Tertiary Education Institute. 1989.

Resource-based Education in Chemical Engineering: Staff Perceptions of a Teaching Innovation. The University of Queensland, Tertiary Education Institute. 1989.

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