Tag: Mindfulness

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.

 

 

He Shoots, He Scores! Setting Goals, Not Just Scoring Them

By: Premier Sport Psychology

Athletes today fight a very uphill battle when it comes to expectations from themselves and others. While most athletes begin playing sports because of pure enjoyment, expectations often grow alongside young athletes. For athletes at any age to improve physically and mentally in their sport, goal setting is a practiced skill that can too often be underused.

In order to develop helpful goals for athletes it is important to understand that there is two primary drives for people in just about any situation. The first being internal drive, and the second being external drive. Internal drive is that feeling of wanting to accomplish something for yourself or perfecting a skill you have worked on for some time. It is the feeling of accomplishment an athlete gets when they know they worked hard and did their best. External drive comes from outside motivators. This is when at athlete feels successful because they outperform their opponent or score the most goals. External drive is not necessarily a bad thing; it just should not be the only motivator for an athlete. The best way to develop helpful goals is to account for an athletes personal motivators and set goals that account for both their internal and external drives.

When goal setting it is equally as important to set mental goals as it is to set physical goals. If a basketball player can shoot 20 for 20 free throws at the gym, but believes he will miss as soon as he is in a game setting, what happens? More often that not, that great free-throw shooter will miss. At Premier Sport Psychology we are strong believers that the mind is like a muscle, and it only works at full capacity when it is trained properly. There are many different sport psychology techniques that can increase your mental training such as mental imagery, visualization, focus exercises, and mindfulness training. By educating yourself more on these topics you are taking the first step into reaching your goals.

Now, speaking of goals, how do we set them? When setting goals it is important to set SMART goals. Meaning that goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relative, and time-bound. It is also important that when setting goals, you track your physical and mental training. Athletes can set up a weekly and monthly schedule to hold themselves accountable and celebrate milestones along the way to their major outcome goal. For example, a runner may want to shorten their mile time by one minute before their season begins. It is important to figure out the proper training, both physically and mentally, that will need to take place in the allotted time to reach that goal. It is not enough to simply want to be better, faster, or stronger; you must actually follow through on the process.

In review, here is a basic overview:

1) Identify personal motivators. Figure out what your internal and externals drives are and how you can target them to reach your goals. Success and achievement are different for everyone; make sure you understand what success means to you.

2) Learn and implement proper mental techniques to help you work towards your goals. If you would like more information on this, consider looking into the Premier Mental Training System on our website or contacting one of our sport psychologists.

3) Develop SMART goals and stick to them!

4) Set up a weekly and monthly calendar to keep you on track. Seeing your goals on paper will be helpful for you to process where you began, where you are going and the steps it will take to get there.

5) Seek input. Remember that being an athlete is often a very dynamic role. There are often coaches, parents and/or peers that are alongside you at some point during your athletic career. It is important to share your goals and get constructive feedback and support from others to help get you to where you want to be!

6) Accept non-linear progress. Setting goals and working towards them is not a linear process. You will have ups and downs, and it is not realistic to reach perfection all (or any) of the time! Be patient and proud of yourself with any progress you make, even if it is slow and gradual.

Bethany Brausen

Reflect, Be Present, and Embrace Hope

By: Premier Sport Psychology

Janus: the Roman God of beginnings and transitions. The double-faced God looks in opposite directions; toward the past and also toward the future. The month of January has been named in remnant of this Roman God, representing the doorway into a new year. As 2015 approaches, we can take time to use Janus as a guide to look both at the past year and what the New Year has in store for us.

The beginning of the New Year is a time for fresh starts, new creations and a chance to begin again. The importance of looking forward to what lies ahead in the upcoming year and what may rise within you, your sport, your relationships and your hopes is something to spend time cultivating. Take time to set daily, weekly and monthly goals for the year that help move you in the direction of what it is ultimately important to you. To help fuel you, remember to let your values guide your goals. Here are three keys questions to ask yourself when developing your goals:

  • What is my passion for doing this activity?
  • Why is this important to me?
  • What am I willing to commit to (emotionally/physically) in order to achieve my goals?

Janus has two-faces; he sees both directions, looking not only toward the future but also at past events. January is also a time to reflect back on the previous year and see the progression of how the past has influenced and shaped who you are today as an athlete. Here are several reflection questions to spend time answering:

  • What accomplishments and areas have I excelled at within the past year?
  • Are there specific elements within my sport that I would like to grow or improve?
  • Which of those areas are within my control and can I let go of those that were not within my control?

Most importantly, we must not forget to take a second to simply just be in the moment we are in, savoring our current surroundings and situations. Become aware of yourself, your successes, mistakes, hopes, what scares you, your dreams… Take five minutes to create a safe space for where you are in this time without judgment and allow yourself to just be. Within that moment, can you discover one morsel of gratitude for yourself, someone else or something within your life?

Let Janus be the light to shine on the beginning of your January 2015 with reflection of your 2014, time to be present with yourself and your gratitude, as well as hope for what is to come for a prosperous upcoming year!

Happy New Year from Premier Sport Psychology!

Teddy “GUMP”

By: Premier Sport Psychology

By: Premier Intern Staff

If you happened to catch any of the Vikings-Falcons game on Sunday, you had the chance to see Teddy “Two Gloves” Bridgewater make his NFL debut. You also had a chance to see him throw for over 300 yards, score a rushing touchdown, and lead the Vikings to a hard-fought and well-earned home victory over a dangerous Atlanta Falcons teams.

So what’s the one word to describe Bridgewater’s brilliant debut? If you asked him, it would be GUMP.

GUMP is a nickname that Bridgewater first adopted in high school, given to him by his teammates after the copious amounts of Forrest Gump jokes and references he would make. But GUMP quickly became more than just a nickname for Bridgewater; those four letters are now a life motto that motivates Teddy each and every day.

It stands for Great Under Major Pressure and helped guide Bridgewater first through a spectacular career at the University of Louisville, where he saw tremendous on-field success. Arguably even more importantly, though, was the implication it has had on his life following his time as a collegiate star.

Heralded as one of the best available quarterbacks in the 2014 Draft Class, Bridgewater watched the big board move along farther and farther without hearing his name. To make it even worse, he had to sit by and watch other high profile QB’s, namely Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel, get drafted to teams in need of relief at the position. It was not until the Vikings made a trade and picked up Bridgewater with the 31st overall pick that his NFL dreams become a reality, and with them even more major pressure than he had ever faced in his young life.

Stepping into an organization with quarterback troubles and a lot of questions floating around about whether or not Ponder and Cassel would be able to perform, all eyes turned to Bridgewater. Here’s this first-rounder that’s coming in with the expectation that he’ll come in and help turn the franchise around. Think that’s a little bit of pressure? Chalk it up for major pressure count number one.

It was right around that point that the Vikings’ coaches formally announced that Bridgewater was going to be properly coached and was going to be given lots of time to acclimate to the culture of the NFL before seeing the field. So now not only was the weight of ‘franchise savior’ on his shoulders, but when he does finally see the field there would be no excuses for anything short of perfection. Add that to the major pressure count, number two.

Then suddenly, what seemed like all at once, the face of the franchise and the team’s best player, Adrian Peterson, was no longer a member of the team. Then, Matt Cassel seemed to flop against the New England Patriots. The packed house at TCF Bank Stadium chanted, “Teddy! Teddy!” begging for him to come save the day. Not only did Bridgewater need to come save the day, but in doing so he was being asked to become the face of a franchise in need of a hero on and off the field. We’ll call that major pressures three, four, and five.

Yet, despite it all, Bridgewater came out and led the Vikings to the victory everyone was asking for. He dominated the game on the field, and went on to handle himself as professionally and humbly as could be asked for off the field following the victory. He took every expectation of him–gathered every bit of major pressure that had been placed on him–and he was good. No, he was better than good: on Sunday, September 28th, Teddy Bridgewater was GUMP.

There are any number questions one might ask for crediting Bridgewater’s success. Did he prepare himself physically to be able to perform on the field? Undoubtedly. Did he study his playbook until he knew it like the back of his gloved hand? It sure seemed that way on the field. But what was the most important piece of the Bridgewater puzzle? It seems to be a state of mind that he has been practicing, normalizing, and optimizing since he was just a teenager; the real key to Bridgewater’s success seems to be that he believed he would be successful.

And maybe that’s the most profound lesson to learn of all. Something as simple as a mindset and a firmly held belief helped to mold Bridgewater into the NFL phenom he showed he can be. We’ve seen sport psychology techniques such as this prove to be successful already in professional football after Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks took their mindfulness all the way to the top, winning Super Bowl XLVIII. I’m sure Minnesota fans across the country will be hoping so–especially with the new stadium en route and the opportunity to host the contest in 2018.

Our advice: hop on the bandwagon now! Teddy Bridgewater has proven to be great, and has all the mental tools to be great for years to come. Where some might say the pressure will be too great to get to and win a Super Bowl in a team’s home stadium, we say to them this: If Bridgewater has been this successful already, just imagine how capable he will be faced with all of that.

 

 

Mental Preparation For Your Game

By: Premier Sport Psychology

While there are techniques and suggestions for mental preparation, the biggest thing to remember is that the best mental preparation for any game will come from both trusting your physical training and being aware of what it is you do mentally when you perform at your best. Mental preparation for a game will vary by the individual. For example, one athlete may prepare best by listening to music on their own and conversing with others minimally before a game. On the other hand, another athlete may need to talk and interact with others to prepare. Neither approach is right nor wrong. The trick is to key-in on what works on an individual level and channel your preparation through that. That being said, here are a few preparations strategies to try and see if they work for you:

Mindfulness:  Mindfulness has been shown to significantly increase athletes’ performance. Before a game, your brain can be going in a million different directions–what mindfulness does is center your attention on the immediate moment without judging the moment as “good” or “bad.” When we do this, we allow ourselves to channel our energy into our performance and take it moment to moment and be less critical of ourselves while competing. We are less distracted and more focused.

Imagery & Self-Talk:  Before a game, try closing your eyes and watch yourself on a highlight reel. See yourself being successful in all facets of your sport, competing exactly how you want to. Any time a negative thought seeps in, notice it and let it pass. Replay those positive thoughts over in your head to help build your confidence. Focus on what you do well. Your self-talk tells you whether you can or cannot do something, and the effect it has on your actual performance is profound.

Stay Focused on the Process & the Controllables: Lots of athletes get caught up in thinking about the outcome of the game before they go out to compete (e.g., score, win/loss, making the line-up, how they play, etc.) rather than focusing on the PROCESS of performing well. The PROCESS is all the how-to parts of playing a great game (e.g., staying relaxed, confident play, good communication on the field, aggressive start, holding form, quick feet, etc.)! We know that athletes who focus on the process and let the outcome take care of itself, actually perform better. Try not to get sucked into worrying about the uncontrollable aspects of the game (e.g., the weather, ref calls, opponents’ skill level, coach’s decisions, etc.). Rather, before and during a game, zone-in on what you can control such as your attitude, effort, preparation and mindset!

Mindfulness and Flow in Elite Athletes

By: Premier Sport Psychology

Background:

This study sought out to examine the relationship between mindfulness and states of flow in elite athletes. To learn more about flow, click here. In doing so, the researchers were able to test the validity of a mindfulness measure, replicate and extend past research, and look closer at relationships of mindfulness and flow in:

  • Individual vs. Team Sport
  • Pacing vs. Nonpacing Sports
  • Males vs. Females

By the Numbers:

92 athletes from the South Australian Sports Institute and the Australian Institute of Sport participated in the study. There was a representation of males and females from 12 different sports. Athletes used two measures, the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire and the Dispositional Flow Scale-2 for assessment purposes.

Take Away Messages:

Results of this study provided evidence that the relationship between mindfulness and flow may be slightly higher in individual-pacing sports compared to team-based nonpacing sports. Mindfulness could possibly be related to different facets of flow in males compared to females. This information makes an argument that mindfulness and states of flow may be more obtainable on an individual basis. No different than any skill for athletes, it is important to know what works for you and how to get into “the zone.”

References:

Carthcart, S., McGregor, M., & Groundwater, E. (2014).  Mindfulness and Flow in Elite Athletes. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, (8), 199-141.