What lessons can and should we learn from the two-week build up for the Super Bowl?
I can think of a few Super Bowl lessons and I’m sure others can add some things too. This of course comes up each year at the Super Bowl and for the most part it is the same each year. There are I think some important lessons and choices we can all understand.
Super Bowl Lessons from the build up
With lots of time on their hands at least one person is going to brag about themselves. This years biggest bragger is Randy Moss.
Now if you have read some of my posts I encourage athletes to brag in my office. Sometimes it is important to say good things about yourself. We do not however do it in front of millions to draw attention to self. Randy Moss is a great receiver. One of the best. No need to say he is better than Jerry Rice other than to hear his own voice. Read the rest of this entry »
I was asked the other day and not for the first time why do mental training? I have been a proponent for three decades now that everyone should do mental training and working with someone like myself can help give every athlete a new set of tools or even one tool that will help them get to a new level of performance. I have worked with beginners to world champions and everyone finds something that is useful to them. But the question is still often asked so I thought I would address it here today.
The usual questions start with how does mental training or sport psychology help athlete’s perform at a higher level. Generally before I can answer that question the person will ask; will it help me deal with ___________________? There is a long list usually dealing with fear or anxiety. The answer is yes it will help and in so many other areas as well. Usually people will ask about a certain area.
In general I usually work with athletes on some form of the things I have listed below. If you are astute the thing you will notice is that I have listed a combination of training techniques and issues. I’ve done this because over the years I have found that people tend to think about sport psychology in both terms issues and techniques. An example is relaxation training. Athletes may want to learn how to deal with stress and the easiest way for them to talk about it is they want to learn to relax. Whatever way you want to think about is OK. What I want you to understand is that regardless of how you think about sport psychology and mental training it must be in your arsenal as a hockey player. It doesn’t matter how much talent you have, and I have worked with world champions, this is an area that you can improve and help yourself get to the next level. Read the rest of this entry »
This is a journal of a sport psychology consultant. A week with the Cheyenne Stampede working with them on the mental game. Pre season Mental training with them. I thought I would take a brief moment to talk about the process. It is a process I have used many times, but it is always different in the sense that flexibility is critical. I had worked out a rough schedule with the GM prior to my flying in. He and the head coach had worked it into a posted schedule on the website so the players were aware of what we were going to be doing. I flew into Denver and drove up to Cheyenne where I met the GM at the Holiday Inn (a team sponsor).
Working with the Cheyenne Stampede, Jr A Hockey Team
Our first session was at 5PM, but our first stop was practice. I met briefly with Coach Quarters as the players hit the ice. Right after practice we headed to Smart Sports which is where they do strength and conditioning. It’s a great facility with its own medical facility. I met the facility owner and head physician Dr. Skip Ross and the personal trainers and physical therapist. There were a few players getting PT while Ro the personal trainer was killing it with the team doing core and strength work.
Headed to the Arena for my first session with the team
Ceremonial Puck Drop prior to Stampede vs Weber State
Talked a little more with Coach Quarters about my plan and then met the team officially. I was introduced to the team by GM and owner Mark Lantz. GM & coach sat in on introductory session. This is important to establish that what we are doing is important to the team’s success. I’ve often been asked to work with teams and the team coaches and front office more or less go play golf. This hurts the programs credibility as players see it as there is no buy in from staff. Read the rest of this entry »
Following up on something from the Master’s that applies to all athletes. I’ve made some comments about this the use of imagery and visualization in other posts, but the comment by Bubba Watson is particularly important.
Bubba got off the course at the Masters and said “I just got into the trees, saw a crazy shot in my head, and now I’m wearing the Green Jacket”.
So let’s look at what this means to an athlete. The ability to imagine success is critical to performance and imagining or visualizing the right picture is important as well. It is not good enough to conjure up unrealistic pictures in your mind, nor is it helpful to have a perspective that will not be of value. Read the rest of this entry »
This for everyone that actually wonders what I do. Sport Psychology Consultants helps Athletes reach Another Level. Please share and comment on the video. Working on a few adjustments. Promotional video by Tim Dawes of effective web marketing in Bellevue, WA.
This is the third post in my series about the effects Sport Psychology and Mental Skills Training can have on Jr. “A” Level Hockey Players. I am indebted to JuniorHockey.com for posting these to the hockey community.
In the original I talked about four important skill sets. Relaxation: Imagination/Visualization: Self-confidence: Concentration. Of course these are not the only skills an athlete needs to work on, but it was a good place to get started as they have great impact and the terminology is easy to understand. Last week’s focus was on Relaxation .
This post focuses on Imagery Training.
Imagination/Visualization: What if we could practice more shots every single day? What if we allow that it takes 10,000 repetitions to groove a movement to a level of expertise? If Perfect Practice really makes perfect, through the use of imagery and visualization we can learn new skills and perfect them faster by using our minds. So let’s use the time we have wisely in order to find success. Utilize visualization techniques for both learning and accelerating your performance–in everything you do.
I have a great deal of experience in the area of applied imagery training. There are many diverse skills an athlete can develop with the aid of imagery. While working with athletes, I have developed these basic guidelines:
define realistic goals and limitations which are sport- specific
utilize relaxation training to prepare for imagery
develop a very clear image or feeling of the successful performance
maintain periodic surveillance over the athlete’s experience
Last time I wrote about the overall contribution that Sport Psychology and Mental Skills Training can have on Jr. “A” Level Hockey Players. These are posts written specifically for JrHockey.com . It encompasses just a few of the things we are doing with the Cheyenne Stampede Hockey Club. This is Part II.
I talked about four important skill sets. Relaxation: Imagination/Visualization: Self-confidence: Concentration. Of course these are not the only skills an athlete needs to work on, but it was a good place to get started as they have great impact and the terminology is easy to understand. I don’t like to throw academic technical jargon around, so starting with two of the basics, I will take you through how an athlete can better understand themselves and use these important skills.
Relaxation: Here is a skill that, when lacking, frequently interferes with play. When a player is not relaxed, they lose the feel for what they are doing. It is difficult to yell at a player and get them to relax. It just doesn’t work. Instead, players can be functionally taught how to relax. Then, a simple reminder can help them shift their focus and use their training to calm down. When they are relaxed, they will have much more success with their touch, bringing the Game within the Game full circle. By being relaxed, they are able to focus on their touch and, of course, their self-confidence grows. One of the most important aspects regarding athletic performance is that of self awareness. Relaxation training is how I address this from the start of the journey with an athlete. An athlete discovers that they can recognized the differences in muscle tension, then mental tension, this progresses towards a better self awareness of everything to do with their sport. They begin to understand their thoughts better and can rationally understand the direction they are headed. Athletes are less affected then by negativity because of this increased level of self awareness. It begins with a simple clinching of a fist.
Have you ever wondered how an athlete can control their bodies so well? Have you thought that they can do incredible things and still look like they are relaxed even under high pressure situations? The truth is that many athletes have a phenomenal capacity to remain relaxed and control their bodies during competition. For many it is just something they learned along the way.
Some athletes have learned this process through things like yoga or meditation, but for most of them it has really been part of the process. Yet many still search for other ways to learn how to control their minds and bodies during practice and competition.
For many the secrets of relaxation have eluded them. Others have found it by accident. What most have discovered was that this process could be learned and rather simply. It can’t be that easy, I’ve heard again and again. The truth is that it is easy. It takes a little practice, but anything worth doing takes a little work.
The answer to the relaxation response athletes have been learning for 70 years is called progressive relaxation. Athletes learning this skill can better understand their bodies and also relax within minutes into a deep state of relaxation. They can notice tension in their body immediately and get rid of it. It gives them control. The point is that relaxation training is for all of us. It leads to great self awareness and this is primary to success in sports. I’ve been making tapes/cds/mp3s for athletes for over three decades to make the learning process faster and easier. Read the rest of this entry »
This is Part I of a series of posts I did for Jr. Hockey . I am currently on staff with the Cheyenne Stampede and they asked me if i would be interested in writing some posts for Jr. Hockey. I’m at three so far and it’s been a very nice response.
Are you familiar with the game within the game? It’s the game we play with ourselves and the one we play against each other. It’s about what we tell ourselves preparing for, during and after competition. It is also the games we play with our opponents, and at times, even with our team mates. It’s about self confidence, stress management, concentration, goals, visualization and motivation. The game we play with ourselves to best prepare for the game that takes place on the ice. How we play this game determines how we play the one in the arena.
Are you ready to play? Do you know the rules? Are you playing this game with the proper background and fundamentals? If you’re not, then you really need to get in this game, because in most competitions, whatever your level, what happens in this game determines how competitive you are. How you play the Mental – Game will ultimately decide your outcome and success in sports, as well as in the classroom. Striving to reach your potential is about the game within the game. This is especially true for Jr. “A” Hockey Players and I’ll tell you why.
All athletes deal with stress. Generally it is stress of competition, but life being what it is always adds to the fun. This is particularly true in Jr. “A” Hockey. While most athletes the age of Jr. “A” players are competing in high school or beginning their college careers, the Jr. “A” hockey player has all of that and a few additional stressors to cope with. In Jr. “A” hockey, the players are very much like any high level player in other sport. They have school, they have practice, they have a life (revolving around practice and competition), but they also are full-time athletes. Early dry land training, then school, then team or community obligations. Of course we can’t forget about regular practice and games and travel. Read the rest of this entry »
Lecture and Hypnosis Demonstration for the Issaquah High School Psychology classes. History and use of hypnosis and how it is applied to sports. As I have been mentioning I recently made fourteen Hypnosis / Guided Imagery for Sports mp3s for a company called Best in U. I’ve already written that my involvement in hypnosis goes back maybe 40 years. I have used hypnosis with athletes and others individually and in groups. But until two weeks ago I never had done an active demonstration with an audience. So here is the story.
The day before Thanksgiving I did a lecture and demonstration for the Issaquah High School Psychology classes. My son is in the class and I have known the teacher for 10 years or so. This was the first time that I had volunteered to come into his class. I wanted to provide the students with something interesting that would get them thinking about how important psychology is to sports and other types of performance. I knew from talking with my son that this would be of interest to his class. His teacher Josh Moore was excited to have me in to provide a real link to his students on applied psychology. I asked him if as part of the presentation he would like to be hypnotized.
He had seen stage hypnosis before, but had never had a directed experience. I thought I would be just coming into class one day and do a short demo. Instead Mr Moore asked me to come in on a short day prior to Thanksgiving. This gave him control of time and place. So instead of meeting in the classroom he set it up that I would do the lecture in the brand new Issaquah High School Theater with three sections of students instead of one. Instead of 40 minutes I would have 90.
This was interesting for me as I said because with all of my experience I never had an occasion to do a stage like show using hypnosis. This was going to be fun, and in truth a trip for me into the unknown. Could I do a rapid induction on a single subject in front of my sons friends? Just have to see I guess. So here is the rapid induction.
If you go to my YouTube channel you can see more, including the teacher laughing, singing and demonstrating other aspects of hypnosis. My YouTube channel is SportPsychConsult . Just click on the link and like magic you are there.
This is of course only the demo. The first part was a lecture on hypnosis with class participation so they understood important concepts like relaxation, suggestibility and concentration, all critical aspects in performance success in sports and life. The video is grainy because we were negligent in asking someone to light the stage for video. We ended the session with a great Q & A session.
I’d like to give write today on Thanksgiving a few notes of gratitude to some good friends. Some that help me day to day, and others that pop in and out of my life. I can’t name them all, but I will call out a few by their first names and perhaps they will know that I am thinking of them. I imagine us all one day sitting around the table drinking good wine (or tequila) and celebrating our friendship. In no order, they are Kindra, Deborah, Ken, Michael, Don, Jon, Tiffany, Toni, JoLynn, Bobby, Matts, Ellen, Marg, DJ, Fancy and of course my family. To my extended family I want to also wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving.
So why is this post titled Imagery. We use imagery every day all day. It is critical to our process as human beings. I thought that I would offer up on this Thanksgiving Day part of one of the chapters from The Athlete within You. I have been thinking so much about how imagery is intertwined in what we do that I wanted to write something today. So what follows is an excerpt from my book. My thoughts in this area are becoming clearer than they have in years as I prepare more mp3 programs for Best in U. After over three decades of study maybe it’s about time.
This is from the middle of a chapter on Imagery.
“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot . . . and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why . . . I succeed.” Jordan was always willing to get back up. He was always willing to take the last shot. Moreover he had the extreme confidence to know that he would in fact make the shot. Read the rest of this entry »