Vice President of Performance Programs
Interview with Matt Ward
Nick Bolhuis leads a staff in charge of all Peak Performance training. He has extensive experience working with teams and athletes in the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL. He and his team also work with numerous professional golfers on the PGA, LPGA, and Korn Ferry tours. Beyond work in the athletic realm, Bolhuis has led teams that conduct corporate evaluation and training programs designed to promote and improve employee wellness initiatives.
THE BOLHUIS STORY
There are only a few times in life where you approach a fork in the road and the decision you make will significantly alter your path in life. I faced one such fork shortly after graduating college. I had planned to enter the finance world ever since high school. I liked math and figured I could make a very comfortable living helping people manage their retirement plans.
After several months in the finance world, I began to realize maybe I was built for something different. My wife was working with kids dealing with academic issues, focus problems, and anxiety. The work they were doing was incredible. I knew one of the owners and we discussed how I might be able to work with them. After much thought, I left my job in finance and took an entry level position with Neuropeak Pro.
I found that working with kids and seeing them excel after going through our training program was the most rewarding thing I had ever done. Shortly after I began working with the company we began working with a few local athletes. I grew up a huge sports fan so I was a kid in a candy store, helping kids do better in school, but also working with world class athletes.
15 years later I often look back at how that fork in the road was the best thing that could have ever happened to me professionally. Our clients have played in Ryder Cups, the Olympics, and have won countless titles. I get to work on a team that makes meaningful changes in peoples live every day; and my kid’s friends think I have a pretty cool job at the same time.
You wake up in the morning — what’s the driving passion?
I have the coolest job in the world. A typical morning might have me meeting with a pro golfer helping them to focus better on the course, followed by a meeting with parents of student who are trying to help them handle stress in the classroom better. Very different conversations but equally rewarding.
What was the genesis of Neuropeak Pro?
We got our start working with students struggling academically with focus and stress. We found that the precision breathing training and brain training could also help people already functioning well, to function even better.
How does Neuropeak Pro differentiate itself from your competitors?
Two things. Neuropeak Pro has a deep clinical and research foundation that drives everything we do. With the NTEL BELT, we have developed a wearable TRAINER, not a TRACKER. Many people have a wearable tracker that shows them historical information. We can show clients what is happening in their body in real time and then we train them how to improve in the moment.
Who is your customer and how do you identify them?
We train elite athletes, high powered executives, and anyone else looking to enhance their performance under pressure. We live in a world filled with stress and high expectations. If you have ever experienced stress and want to handle it better, Neuropeak Pro can probably help.
Is there any definitive research that demonstrates that using Neuropeak Pro results in superior on-course performance versus that not using it?
Both internal data and external data on the benefits of Precision Breathing and Heart Rate Variability have shown significant improvements in performance. Studies show that people who can stay calm are less likely to make mistakes that lead to higher scores. As we track outcomes data, it shows golfers in the Top 10 in the world are just as likely to see improvement as someone outside the top 1000.
Companies routinely tout the importance of customer service. Define the term and the approach followed at Neuropeak Pro?
Our company has grown primarily through word of mouth. I always tell clients that our first priority is to make sure they have a phenomenal experience and see great improvements. I want their experience to be so great that they want to tell everyone they know about it. Our growth on the PGA TOUR is directly fueled by the excellent service we give. Golfers are smart and they are pitched new things all the time. They aren’t going to waste their time working with people they don’t like or trust.
Do product endorsements matter from those playing the game at the highest of levels?
I believe first and foremost you need to have a product or service that works. We live in a world where social proof matters too. At Neuropeak Pro, we’ve been fortunate to offer solutions that work really well for our clients. We are very good at developing relationships with our clients and in turn, they are willing to advocate to others about the benefits of Neuropeak Pro.
You can change one thing in golf unilaterally — what would it be and why?
I typically consider myself a traditionalist, but in this instance, I think golf should embrace advancements in technology. Instead of rolling back tech in golf clubs and balls, we should continue to make courses harder. Tighten up courses to reward precision and skill and take away the advantages that new products tend to give.
Best advice you ever received. What was it and who was it from?
I have great parents. I only have brothers so my mom was constantly trying to keep us in line growing up. Of the many things she talked with us about, I would say the thing that sticks with me most is trying to be above reproach. Basically, carry yourself in a way that is honorable and respectful even when nobody is watching. If you strive to do the right thing always, you will tend to find success in life.
The biggest challenges facing Neuropeak Pro — short and long term is what — and how do you plan on dealing with each?
Short Term challenge would be educating consumers on why Precision Breathing is so important for performance and overall health. People take breathing for granted because we do it all day every day. Most people are doing it wrong, and with the NTEL BELT we can show them in real-time how to breathe better.
Long Term Neuropeak Pro needs to stay out in front as a thought leader in the health/wellness and performance space.
We have an amazing client base who look to us for solutions. As technology changes we need to continue to innovate so our existing customers have the best of the best and we can continue to draw in new customers to our ecosystem.