Category: Mindfulness

Coping with Times of Uncertainty- Building Resilience

By: Premier Sport Psychology

During times of uncertainty, we can start to feel a little anxious and lost. Resilience is something that can help us cope with times of uncertainty. Below are 2 different exercises to help foster the development of your resilience through your support system and accountability through group activities.

Exercise 1: Identify three teammates you want to reach out this week and how you want to give and maintain support. A key pillar of resiliency is to identify your support system. Get creative in the ways that you can support each other virtually or from a distance. Click Here


Exercise 2: Movement feels good and boosts your immune system! Here is a workout you can do with your teammates, with instructions on how to set up a “workout meeting” via Zoom. Which exercises will you enjoy more with the support of teammates? Click Here

How Sport Psychology Has Helped One Hockey Goalie

By: Premier Sport Psychology

By: Premier Intern Staff

“I’d probably say 90% of [hockey] is mental.” -Philadelphia Flyers prospect Carter Hart¹

Carter Hart is the top goaltender in the Canadian Hockey League- earning this title the past two seasons he has played in the league. He is also the top goalie prospect for the Philadelphia Flyers, being called the future cornerstone of the franchise. Not only is he talented as a goalie because of his reflexes and hockey ability, but also because of how strong he is mentally. Like most athletes aspiring to make it to elite levels of their sport, Hart has worked with trainers and goalie coaches since he was 10 years old. What separates him from other athletes and hockey goalies is that he has worked with a sport psychologist since he was young. Hart says that working with a sport psychologist has made him more focused, confident, and calm in the nets- lending to his athletic ability and making him an overall better and mature player.

Hart considers the mental skills training as an important part of his overall training, and not as an add on that takes the backseat to all the physical training. Everyday, Carter worked on the mental side of his game. He would use tools such as imagery, where he would imagine his past successes, he would use concentration grids, mindfulness, meditation, and more. With the help of his sport psychologist he created a toolbox of exercises and activities that he could use whenever he needed to, whether it was in training, practice, or games, Hart had sport psychology tools at his disposal whenever he needed them. All of these mental tools have made Hart more and more mentally tough over the years. At the young age of 19 (only 21 when he is aiming to join the Flyers) Hart will have the mental skills that will make him seem like a seasoned player, a unique skill that could contribute his potential success as an individual and to the Flyers franchise. Definitely be on the look out for this kid in the future, his grit and mental skills could help Hart go far in the NHL. To read more about how Carter Hart credits some of his success to mental skills training:

More and more athletes (pro, elite, competitive, high school, etc), are taking advantage of the beneficial services that certified mental performance coaches (CMPCs) and licensed sport psychologists have to offer. Working with a CMPC or sport psychologist can help athletes learn how to deal with the mental aspect of sport such as anxiety, confidence, focus, imagery, mental health, motivation, etc. Working on mental skills can take your sport performance to the next level.

¹Source: Carchidi, Sam. (27 June 2018). If flyers prospect Carter Hart has a long career, credit his sport psychologist. The Inquirer.






Athletic Identity

By: Premier Sport Psychology

By: Premier Intern Staff


Who am I?

Answering this question isn’t always easy for we all have numerous roles that identify who we are as individuals. Whether that means you are a sister, brother, teacher, dancer, or friend, the roles that you fulfill encompass the way you interact with the world and how you portray yourself to others.

Think for a second about the way that you introduce yourself to a stranger. Most people will begin with their name and follow it with what/whom they are associated with. For example, you will frequently hear an athlete say something to the effect of “I am a swimmer.” Or “I am on the hockey team.” This tells others that they value their identity as an athlete and want to be recognized as one. (Symes, 2010)

Pride in one’s identity as an athlete is understandable and should be encouraged.  Athletes are typically healthy individuals who value teamwork and determination, traits that are valued in our society. The danger, though, occurs when there is too much association given to one’s athletic identity at the cost of the other roles one plays. Over-identification causes the individual to see himself exclusively as an athlete. The reason why this can be harmful to the athlete is because it can cause them to lose sense of the person that they are outside of their sport. They limit themselves to believing that their highest value in the world is solely as an athlete.

Although the athlete may be very successful within their sport, such over-identification may lead to serious emotional consequences. One consequence is losing enjoyment in other areas of life. Some athletes become so wrapped up in the game that they eliminate other priorities to keep their sport as their main focus. They end up neglecting things such as relationships, academics, or past hobbies in order to enhance their performance as an athlete.

What athletes often fail to consider is how long their athletic career will last. Many athletes find that the dreams they once had of playing in college or reaching the professional level become unreachable due to one circumstance or another. Whether that is because of a season ending injury, or getting cut from the team, the truth of the matter is that “only about 5% of high school athletes are able to play at the college level, and less than 2% of all college athletes are talented enough to play professionally.” (Stankovich, 2011) Is that discouraging or what?! For someone who has unknowingly been setting themselves up for an unreachable goal such as this, it can be extremely difficult to rediscover who they are after their sport is over and retirement has set in. This is why it is important for athletes to begin thinking about what they want to do after their athletic career is over before they reach the end of it. Being able to develop values and relationships that are independent of their team’s values will help with self-growth and identification. So that in the event that they are unable to continue forward in their sport, they can still have peace in knowing who they are and the things that remain important in their life.

According to Drew Mackenzie, a coach and athletic coordinator, here are four additional guidelines that one should stick to in order to maintain life-balance around sports.

  1. “Identify your top five priorities”. It is okay for sports to fall within that list, but ultimately it should encompass all areas of your life that are most valuable/important to you. It may consist of things such as: relationships, academics, or religion.
  2. “Drop unnecessary activities”. Achieving life balance means having equilibrium among all of the priorities of your life” (Mackenzie). This means that the time spent on each of these priorities should be split accordingly. An example of this would be dropping an hour of your workout in order to spend quality time with a friend. This doesn’t mean that you have to drop your workout altogether, it just means that you take a little time to balance your priority groups.
  3. “Protect your private time”. Carve out time in your day to adhere to your own personal wants and needs. After an overwhelming day of submitting to other people’s needs, this one will come in handy. It is important that you protect this time by getting rid of other distractions that draw away your attention.
  4. “Plan fun and relaxation”. This one goes hand in hand with protecting your private time. Do something special for yourself such as planning a trip or activity that you’ve always wanted to do. you are in charge of your own schedule, make it enjoyable for yourself!

As you continue to pursue athletics, I encourage you to be proud of who you are as an athlete, but also be proud of the person you are continually discovering outside of the game.



Mackenzie, D. Beyond Sport: Life Balance. Retrieved February 20, 2017, from

Stankovich, C. (2011, June 1). The Importance of Understanding Athletic Identity. Retrieved February 16, 2017, from

Symes, R. (2010, May 24). Understanding Athletic Identity: “Who Am I?” Retrieved February 16, 2017, from

Sticking with it: Motivation to Follow Through on Goals

By: Premier Sport Psychology

By: Premier Intern Staff


I’m sure that we have all experienced a time when we didn’t want to follow through with a task at hand. Either we got bored, felt like the task was too difficult to complete, became burnt out, or couldn’t see the benefits that would arise upon completion. Whatever the reason may be, we’ve been there. The good news is that there are various approaches that can be taken to fix this problem, one of them being, “keeping your eyes on the prize.”

Everything that we do is done for a reason. For example, baseball players both young and old are required to go to batting practice. It has become part of their pregame routine to take dozens of extra swings in preparation for competition. The purpose, as told by the Oakland hitting coach Chili Davis, is that “batting practice is a time to create and foster good habits. The guys who do it and do it right are the ones who are more successful.” (Caple, 2014) The same thing goes for volleyball players. “A setter will come close to making one third of all the ball contacts by the team.” (USA volleyball) This means that they better be darn good at what they do, or the team won’t be successful. But how do they achieve this skill? The answer is that they make goals for themselves and lean into them. They practice footwork, hand contact, vision, etc. time and time again so that they can deliver the perfect ball to their hitters. They want success for their team, so they keep their eyes on the prize during all of those days of practice and problem solving.

Another tactic that can be used to stay motivated is to take a different approach. Sometimes the way you are doing something won’t feel right or may seem more difficult than it should. In this case, taking a step back and re-analyzing your methodology towards the task may be a good option for you. Being able to identify a couple tweaks and changes that could be made may change your outlook and experience in ways you didn’t know were possible!

Last of all, reward yourself! Nothing worth having ever comes easy, right? So instead of just looking at the big picture (which may appear a little daunting), make small goals for yourself along the way. When you reach one of those milestones, reward yourself. One way you could do this is to treat yourself to a nice breakfast the next morning, or to document your success in writing. Reading and reliving your accomplishments may give you the right drive to continue forward on your journey. It is important to be able to recognize your own progress, which will not only allow you to celebrate the successes, but will also let you know how much further you have to go in reaching your primary goals.

“The discipline you learn and character you build from setting and achieving a goal can be more valuable than the achievement of the goal itself.” -Bo Bennett



Caple, J. (2014). Batting Practice: Swings and Misses

USA Volleyball (2013). Thoughts for Setters



The Power of Belief

By: Premier Sport Psychology

By: Premier Intern Staff


Every third Monday of January we recognize and celebrate the lifelong impact that Martin Luther King Jr. made on our country. We celebrate this day to honor and commemorate MLK and his strong belief in combating racial discrimination. As you all know, King was the lead spokesman for non violent activism in the Civil Rights movement, and is often recognized by his “I am a dream speech”.

However, this blog isn’t to give you a history lesson on WHAT King did- stuff you already know.  This blog is to prompt some thinking about HOW he did it.   So how did he do it? How was one man able to bring about change and bring a country closer together despite significant challenges and adversity?

The answer starts with a firm belief in himself and his cause (or task).  He showed immense courage by standing firm in his belief in a nonviolent approach, even when others prosecuted him for it. He knew that violence would only make things worse for his people and so instead, he led peaceful protests. He gained followers by staying true to himself, his good character, and treated others with that same respect and conviction.

The same process, believing in oneself and the courage to act even when we are frightened or facing the most difficult of adversity, is fundamental to anyone who is attempting to do great things.

How can we use this model for ourselves and how can it help in accomplishing our goals in life or sport?

Similar to MLK, It all starts with believing in yourself and committing to a vision or dream.   With these two factors, we can manage and be okay with failure along the way, for failing means learning. The bigger we dream, the bigger chances we have to take, and nothing will ever go perfectly as planned but don’t be discouraged because we ought to measure ourselves by our progress versus perfection.  For some of the biggest growth in a person’s life happens in moments of adversity! As Neal Donald Walsch once said, “life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Therefore, do what makes you uncomfortable.

Martin Luther King ran into many roadblocks along his journey that could have caused him to give up his dreams, but he kept going. Our encouragement to you today, is to fully embrace your hopes and dreams and go for them whole-heartedly, just as Martin Luther King Jr. did. You may just end up changing your story as well as changing the world!



Time and Date AS (2016). Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States

Schulke, F., Fernandez, B. (2014). About Dr. King: Overview Editors (2017). Martin Luther King Jr. Biography


What it Means to Be. Better.

By: Premier Sport Psychology

Change is inevitable. Growth is optional. The athletes who strive to Be. Better. are the ones that dive into deeper levels of mindset training and excel into the highest levels of peak performance.

To Be. Better. is to always strive to improve at what you’re doing – regardless of how good you already are or what circumstances surround you – and it extends further beyond physical performance. To Be. embraces the process of accepting who we are as an individual and allowing ourselves to exist in the present moment. Only then can we begin to understand ourselves more deeply – the pros and cons, the strengths and weaknesses – so that we can use that awareness to our advantage. Being Better. means putting in the time and effort each and every day with the intent to improve ourselves – from a physical, tactical, and mindset perspective. When we combine these concepts while maintaining focus on a growth mindset each day, we become efficient, and eventually, elite. We don’t get as easily stuck in similar patterns; we don’t fight with perfection. We simply accept who we are with the lean-in that we’re always trying to do something more – something greater than our previous self.

There’s an advantage of focusing on progress over perfection. Many athletes that come into Premier Sport Psychology are doing so because they feel like they’re not living up to what they think they should be. Many of these athletes have a set standard of who they want to be or how they want to perform, and they’re constantly looking at the deficit of where they aren’t versus where they are. That constant perfectionistic lens of only focusing on the deficit leads to burnout, lack of confidence, performance anxiety, pressure…you name it. What Be. Better. does – focusing on the progress over the perfection – is saying, “Look, we are where we are (Be.) and, there’s room to grow (Better.)

If we look at the major factors playing into to any elite athlete’s performance, we can see that there are three areas that stand out more than others: the physical, the tactical, and the mindset. The physical component can include everything from strength and conditioning or agility training to the physicality of sleep and nutrition. These different aspects of an athlete’s physical well-being play into stress management and their energy to focus on the things needed in order to perform at their best. The tactical component is understanding the game at a higher level. Once athletes climb into the collegiate and professional leagues, we hear a lot about athletic intelligence – and that’s really talking about how well the athletes know the game and how well they anticipate different aspects of the game: how well they manage their energy, how well they read plays, how well they respond to offenses or defenses, etc. The mindset component relates to how aware athletes are to the things that might distract them or detract them from more optimal performance. This includes how aware they are of their emotions, and an understanding of how their emotions can hijack their brain at various moments in competitions or under stress. It includes how well they activate their sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems to increase or decrease their activation, depending on what they need in order to better perform. The athletes that are really well-trained and able to do all of this tend to be the ones that we see really making more efficient gains in their ability to perform at a high level. These are the athletes that want to Be. Better.

No matter the sport or the level of competition, we must each individually strive to define what growth and success looks like to us. Not everyone wants to be an Olympian or a professional athlete, but everyone can benefit from self-acceptance, present-moment focus, and a growth mindset.

A Personal Perspective

By: Premier Sport Psychology

This week’s blog is a personal story from Taylor Finley, sharing her own experience with a sports camp earlier this month.UTC War Paint

What would you think if someone asked you compete in an intense competition for 20-hours straight? You would probably think that they are crazy!  But over the past month hundreds of collegiate athletes across the country took on this challenge at Athletes in Action’s infamous “Ultimate Training Camp”.  This high intensity, Christian sports camp teaches athletes 5 biblical principles and then puts them to the test in a 20-hour sports marathon known as “The S.P.E.C.I.A.L.”. Athletes refer to this challenge as, “the toughest 20 hours of my life,” “pure exhaustion yet,” and “absolutely life-changing”.  I had the opportunity to attend Ultimate Training Camp this year and can say that it was nothing short of life-changing.  Although the focus of the camp was to incorporate God into your sport, which was certainly central to my experience, I was also amazed to see how elements of sport psychology and the power of the human mind played such an important role in every athlete’s experience.

I want to focus on The S.P.E.C.I.A.L., as it was an incredible platform to see sacrifice, passion, pain, and triumph through sport in its most extreme form.  Many athletes experienced a breaking point, or point at which they don’t believe they can go any further, and their body wanted to break down due to exhaustion.  This is when it was crucial to apply the biblical principles we learned, humble ourselves, and surrender to the Lord.  For me, seeing grown men and the strongest of athletes fall to their knees and break down in tears was extremely powerful and emotional.  In physical exhaustion but more so overwhelming emotion, we learned how to surrender and move forward when we thought our bodies couldn’t carry us anymore.  This is when the mind, and for me the grace of God, allowed us to persevere far past what I ever thought was possible.  Personally, this may not have been the most physically challenging workout I have done in my life, but through this experience I saw the biggest transformation in myself as a person and as an athlete.  I was amazed and how far I could go.  Sprints, push-ups, or anything else thrown my way, I could not only complete but also excel at because of the power of my mind.  Whether that is grit, mental toughness, or the grace of God, one thing is that through sport these athletes were able to experience something that had a dramatic affect on their lives.  

In your weakest moment, you learn the most about yourself.  Sports often expose your weaknesses in the most brutal ways, and The S.P.E.C.I.A.L. certainly forced the athletes to feel exhaustion and weakness.  However, what most athletes found was that they had some source of strength deep inside themselves, to fight through and not simply survive the competition but actually thrive!  This is the beautiful and unique thing about sports.  Athletics has a unique way of breaking an athlete down in order to build them up even stronger, and this is when the greatest lessons are learned as we saw through The S.P.E.C.I.A.L.  Through sports and competition you can experience pain, suffering, failure, disappointment, and exhaustion like no other; whether physically through an injury or emotionally through a loss of a big game.  At the same token however, sports teach us how to overcome adversity and preserve, resulting in incomparable joy, success, and relationships in teammates.  Every athlete can say that playing sports shaped their character in some way or another for the good.  It is often through the trials, such as that breaking point in The S.P.E.C.I.A.L., that qualities such as leadership, determination or grit develop within the individual.

This is when having a growth mindset, a concept that is widely used in sport psychology training, comes into play.  Having a growth mindset involves believing abilities can be developed through effort and dedication, and in times of trial it is important to know that this challenge is all part of a process and a bigger picture.  Finding your purpose and a strong motivation for why you play your sport is essential, and can help you overcome these times of disappointment or when you just don’t think you can push any further.  For the athletes at Ultimate Training Camp, we focused on playing for God as our motivation.  For any athlete, if you find a powerful motivation, whatever that may be for you, and focus deeply on that in every moment, whether practicing alone or playing in front of thousands of fans, you will be amazed at how far you can go and what you can achieve.

Taylor Finley

Treating Emotional and Physical Health Like Twins

By: Premier Sport Psychology

By: Premier Intern Staff


In Guy Winch’s TED Talk, “Why we all need to practice emotional first aid,” he proposes the idea that emotional care needs to be as commonplace as physical care. He gives an example of how natural it is for a five-year-old with a cut to put a Band-Aid on it; however, when people are feeling lonely or sad, they are told to brush it off–it is rare that people prioritize their emotional health in any way similar to that of their physical health.

Often, we are taught to be “tough” and to not let our emotions get the best of us; there’s a stigma surrounding emotional reactions, a stigma that is not synonymous with toughness. However, neglecting our mental health comes with a series of difficulties. As Winch shares his story of experiencing loneliness while being apart from his family and friends, he rattles off a few physical complications from his emotional struggle: “Loneliness won’t just make you miserable, it will kill you. I’m not kidding. Chronic loneliness increases your likelihood of an early death by 14 percent.Loneliness causes high blood pressure, high cholesterol. It even suppress the functioning of your immune system, making you vulnerable to all kinds of illnesses and diseases. In fact, scientists have concluded that taken together, chronic loneliness poses as significant a risk for your long-term health and longevity as cigarette smoking.” As he later states, one key difference (of many) between the effects of chronic loneliness and cigarette smoking is the recognition of the problem. One can easily say whether they smoke cigarettes: it is a yes or no answer. On the other hand, we may not be able to describe our loneliness, let alone recognize that this loneliness has taken a substantial toll on our lives.

We are constantly juggling numerous emotions, and some of these emotions will be heightened while playing a sport. Therefore, it is crucial that throughout our games and practices we regularly take a few minutes to do a quick self-check and see both where we are physically and where our emotions are. In-between games, for example: Did you go 0-4 at the plate yesterday and are now itching to get a hit? As you’re warming up, is your grip on the bat a little looser because your hands are sweating. Is your heart beating faster than normal before a game? It’s here that we combine our knowledge of the physical self with that of the emotional self. Recognize that those physical signs might stem from anxiety to get that hit. One way to combat anxious feelings is to utilize a few relaxation techniques. Maybe it’s deep breathing that helps calm you down or possibly picturing yourself in a tranquil place returns your heart rate to its resting pace–it could be a combination of the two. No matter your sport, make sure to consistently take time to assess how you are feeling in order to better understand where to focus your energy. Through working on recognizing what you are feeling and practicing what works to transform your stressful emotions into positive and productive feelings, you will be much better equipped to perform at your optimal level.


From Super Bowl 50 to–Retirement? Managing Breaks From Our Game, Both Brief and Indefinite

By: Premier Sport Psychology

By: Premier Intern Staff


This Sunday millions of people will be huddled around their televisions with an array of jalapeño poppers and chips and guac to watch the Carolina Panthers take on the Denver Broncos (as well as the commercials). There has been a lot of talk surrounding Superbowl L as Peyton Manning squares off against Cam Newton–specifically around Peyton and if this will be his final game. Whether that is the case or just a rumor, athletes’ decisions to end their playing careers altogether or take breaks from their game are some of the most difficult decisions they must make.

There are many factors that play into deciding whether to take a break from/stop playing a sport completely—some are controllable and others, uncontrollable. A serious injury, for example, is a factor that athletes have no control over. Now, you may have control over how closely you stick to your rehabilitation process and if that injury was due to poor form, but most injuries are accidents and are therefore uncontrollable. Right after an uncontrollable event occurs, it is easy to get wrapped up in worst-case scenarios; however, we must step back and look at our situation with a lighter perspective. To help you do this, work through the following exercise:

Take a sheet of paper and draw a line vertically down the middle. At the top on the left, write “controllables”; on the right, write “uncontrollables.” Think about the situation you are in and write aspects of it in the appropriate column. For example, “broken ankle” is something you cannot control, but “going to rehab and doing the exercises daily” as well as “attitude about the situation” are two things you can control. From there, think about how you can control those “controllables” in the most healthy and positive way.

Whether you are talking about taking a break from your sport, transitioning into a new phase of playing, or retiring completely, spending time thinking about your “controllables” helps you mentally shift away from negative thoughts and toward positive actions that can help you get back on the field/move forward.



Looking for a TED Talk? Premier Has a Few Recommendations

By: Premier Sport Psychology

By: Premier Intern Staff


At Premier, we always strive to learn more. We read through the latest scholarly journals, explore new books, and—one of our favorites—watch numerous TED talks. Below is a list of some of our favorite TED talks about sport and/or psychology along with a memorable quote from each of the pieces. If you have any recommendations for us, let us know via Facebook or Twitter!

Sarah Lewis – Embrace the near win “Coming close to what you thought you wanted can help you attain more than you ever dreamed you could.”

Dan Gilbert – The psychology of your future self Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished. The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting and as temporary as all the people you’ve ever been.”

Diana Nyad – Extreme swimming with the world’s most dangerous jellyfish And with all sincerity, I can say, I am glad I lived those two years of my life that way, because my goal to not suffer regrets anymore, I got there with that goal. When you live that way, when you live with that kind of passion, there’s no time, there’s no time for regrets, you’re just moving forward.”

Christopher McDougall – Are we born to run? Running — it’s basically just right, left, right, left — yeah? I mean, we’ve been doing it for two million years, so it’s kind of arrogant to assume that I’ve got something to say that hasn’t been said and performed better a long time ago. But the cool thing about running, as I’ve discovered, is that something bizarre happens in this activity all the time…”

Angela Lee Duckworth – The key to success? Grit Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Amy Cuddy – Your body language shapes who you are So, for example, we smile when we feel happy, but also, when we’re forced to smile by holding a pen in our teeth like this, it makes us feel happy. So it goes both ways. When it comes to power, it also goes both ways. So when you feel powerful, you’re more likely to do this, but it’s also possible that when you pretend to be powerful, you are more likely to actually feel powerful.”

Carol Dweck – The power of believing that you can improve I heard about a high school in Chicago where students had to pass a certain number of courses to graduate, and if they didn’t pass a course, they got the grade ‘Not Yet.’ And I thought that was fantastic, because if you get a failing grade, you think, I’m nothing, I’m nowhere. But if you get the grade ‘Not Yet’ you understand that you’re on a learning curve. It gives you a path into the future.”

Sophie Scott – Why we laugh Everybody underestimates how often they laugh, and you’re doing something, when you laugh with people, that’s actually letting you access a really ancient evolutionary system that mammals have evolved to make and maintain social bonds, and clearly to regulate emotions, to make ourselves feel better. It’s not something specific to humans — it’s a really ancient behavior which really helps us regulate how we feel and makes us feel better.”

Amy Purdy – Living beyond limits If your life were a book and you were the author, how would you want your story to go? That’s the question that changed my life forever.”

Andy Puddicombe – All it takes is 10 mindful minutes “…when did you last take any time to do nothing? Just 10 minutes, undisturbed? And when I say nothing, I do mean nothing. So that’s no emailing, texting, no Internet, no TV, no chatting, no eating, no reading. Not even sitting there reminiscing about the past or planning for the future. Simply doing nothing…”

Ben Ambridge – 10 myths about psychology, debunked So the myth is that psychology is just a collection of interesting theories, all of which say something useful and all of which have something to offer. What I hope to have shown you in the past few minutes is that this isn’t true. What we need to do is assess psychological theories by seeing what predictions they make, whether that is that listening to Mozart makes you smarter, that you learn better when information is presented in your preferred learning styleor whatever it is, all of these are testable empirical predictions, and the only way we can make progress is to test these predictions against the data in tightly controlled experimental studies.