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New Code Games

24 Apr 11
Daniel Smith
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Being “in the zone” can be an incredible feeling. Whether it’s that feeling of making a presentation “just right”, or being in a negotiation when things “just work”, or hitting the golf ball “perfectly”, when things work for us, when we are at our very best, it can be amazing.

New Code Games are typically used to generate Content Free High Performance States. These valuable states can then be used to enrich and upgrade our state in situations that we are facing – whether it is public speaking, creative thinking, problem solving or being out on the town – or to help us handle aspect from our personal history that have been getting in the way.

The Alphabet Game is usually the first one that I usually share. Rhythm of Life and Breath of Life are pretty straightforward too. The NASA Game is pretty well-known too, likewise the Croydon Ball Game. But there are always more.

Jack Carroll created Alphabet Touch as a variation of the Alphabet Game when he was working with a client who was blind. Though it’s easy to learn, scalable, and does away with the need for writing up charts altogether. Daryll Scott developed another overlapping the Alphabet Game with the Stroop Task.

Juggling itself has many of the characteristics of the content free high performance state. It uses a huge amount of our brain by virtue of its stimulation of our vestibular system, left and right motor cortexes – and for most people, it’s not a ‘normal’ activity, so the risk of overlap is minimized. Plus it’s fun – and my 16mo son loves watching me practising! The main limitations are the lack of engagement of our auditory loop (auditory short term memory) and the lack of easy scalability.

We have been experimenting with juggling while rhythmically reading off the letters of words. But not just left to right: Instead, the first letter, then the last letter, then the second letter, then the second last letter, etc. So, for example, D, L, A, E, N, I for Daniel.
Likewise, we have tried using variations on table tennis where the way the ball is hit is manipulated – combining aspects of Alphabet, NASA and Croydon Ball Games. It’s just limited to situations where you’ve got a table tennis table, though fortunately there are usually quite a few of those around 🙂


  1. noahscales March 15, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    vis a vis your comment on changing up the lettering, there are specific recommendations for that in the book Attention and Memory Training, by Ray Gottlieb. Trampoline, metronome, ball and bed bouncing (bouncing on the edge of the bed), jump roping, and I like speedbag drill change-ups with the chart in front of me, thought I’ve done the others types of bouncing. You know that the word reading is scalable, you can do clap inclusions in the exercises, clap/reverse is one of hte recommendations, and possible with juggling. There’s making turns while juggling, instead of bouncing on the trampoline, you wait for a cycle of juggling (the control bounce analog), then turn, when the coach calls out “left” or “right” (at least that’s how Gottlieb does the trampoline game), and there’s adding in specific leg kicks while juggling, in response to specific letters. You can specifically move right when left is called, and vice-versa, and get creative with that, which I imagine you’re already doing.

    • Daniel Smith March 15, 2013 at 1:18 pm

      Great additions, Noah! Agreed on all fronts and thanks for the reference to Ray Gottlieb.

      The games are developing too, with Alphabet Touch and NASA Dancing being “just” the most directly attributable incremental variations.

      • noahscales March 15, 2013 at 1:32 pm has the book cheaper than amazon, lots of interesting charts. I”m buying your book, it looks super good, though I’m annoyed that I’m so slow to get to an ITA NLP training, it’s to do with my chosen profession, really, computer work has a certain … inertia for me.
        More from gottlieb: item substitutions, silence instead, alternating counting/equal length words/alphabet, jump-turn on vowels or designated items, picture charts of animals (with their sounds), and he introduces some fantastic stuff about meditation…, which I’ll leave you to find out for yourself.

      • noahscales March 15, 2013 at 1:44 pm

        Oh, I am interested to know your thoughts on natural versus artificial sets wrt the latrogenic principle, and also whether new code games introduce unbounded or 1st order changes. It appears to me that they do. Am I right about that?
        Also, I was a little surprised by the formal competency requirements of itanlp:
        is ita training really this impossibly hard? I don’t think I can do all that…, cross-over mirroring with strategy work after detecting the client’s prefered system, peripheral vision drills, and the breath of life…, the new code change format but recognize parts are a metaphor when you establish unconscious signals, calibration after auto-application to enhance congruity for n-step reframing… aaagh!!! I thought the new code was supposed to be “new” and “easier” to learn to apply?!
        Is there an ordering principle, a decision tree, available for this stuff?! How can any practitioner ever qualify without skills from extensive prior training?
        None of this is your fault, of course, but it looks like the ITA NLP stuff was decided by committee, either that or Dr. Grinder and Ms. Bostic St. Clair only want the pre-trained students.
        If I could just have your thoughts on the iatrogenic principle, I’d be grateful, it’s only recently that I started to consider the difference between natural and artificial sets, one of the many opportunities for learning from WITW that I missed 12 years ago. I wish I had never posted then.

      • noahscales March 15, 2013 at 1:49 pm

        Sorry, one last comment before I let you answer, don’t worry, this will probably be my only time posting on your threads online. I’m not sure if Gottlieb’s meditation is any good, it would take a strategy analysis to really know for sure. Also, while I will be reading your text, I probably won’t comment on it, I find getting focused at a rhythm that is comfortable for me while online is fatiguing and unpleasant, and yet I have no motivation to improve my ability to to function “online”.