Monday, July 31, 2006

Choke no more, help's at the door

…Even the most unprofessional weekend athletes are hiring trainers or getting their gaits photographed—so why not a sports psychologist?

…Writing in the Chandler Republic section of the Arizona Republic, Cameron Eickmeyer quotes sports psychologist Jim Afremow of Tempe, AZ, as saying athletes hire him more to get an edge than to foil a losing streak.

…Apparently there is no stigma, real or imagined, to hiring a sports psychologist. “(Athletes) think it’s kind of cool,” he told Eickmeyer.

…Amateur golfers are big clients.

...A local coach also hires a sports shrink to visit her volleyball team a few times a year.

…Some coaches are put off, Afremow says. They think motivating and evaluating psychological readiness of the players is their job and that this indicates they are not doing it.

…Writing in the Wall Street Journal (July 29, 2006), Russell Adams recounts his sessions on a neurofeedback machine, moving images with his brainwaves. An interruption blew him out of the water and he had to refocus.

…Having a “quiet mind,” the ability to tune out distractions, is key to sports.

…Tiger Woods’ Dad used to jingle the change in his pocket and drop things to try to distract his son. Golfer Se Ri Pak’s dad used to try to toughen her up by taking her to pitbull fights and Korean cemeteries at night (Child Protective Services, please call your office).

…Some of these neurofeedback devices, however, have been known to pick up radio waves instead of brain waves, so the science is not completely there yet.

…Still, the message is plain. Don’t ignore the mental game.

…P.S. This is not limited to sports.

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