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p class=roman>Mind Games: Sports Psychology for Every Player

by Dr. Gary Beale

Vist his website www.drrelax.com


by Gary A. Beale, PH.D.

There are not many players who can honestly say that their game is never affected by mental or psychological factors. Almost everyone who competes or attempts to do their best at some important aspect of life has experienced both mental boosts and hindrances. Doubts, confidence, anxiety, poise, courage and fears for example can have a significant impact on how well we perform. The more we understand the complex interrelationship between mind and body the more it becomes clear that in order to perform at our best physically we must properly prepare and use both body and mind. Research and experience have proven that structured scientific mental training can help us learn to prepare and use our mind to improve our competitive performance. A key psychological ingredient needed to consistently compete at our best is a winning attitude. In this context attitude is defined as those thoughts, feelings and emotions associated with a specific situation or performance. For example the thoughts and feelings we usually associate with a second free throw attempt with only one second to go in the game and the game tied, for many players, is an overwhelming desire to sink the shot! In general if we have doubts about our ability to put it in we have trouble doing so. On the other hand if we have confidence we tend to be much more likely to complete the free throw successfully. There is a scientific basis for the commonly accepted axiom that confidence at the line leads to better free throw averages. The muscles of the body involuntarily and instantaneously respond to thoughts, feelings and ideas. This phenomena is referred to as Ideomotor Activity. In practical terms what this means is that negative thoughts and emotions tend to have a negative effect on our muscles while positive thoughts tend to have a positive effect. In almost every situation of equal or nearly equal ability and preparation the more successful player is usually the one who maintains the most consistently positive attitude and pattern of thought. Basketball players can and should learn to shape their attitude and thought pattern into one of predominantly positive and confident thinking. Many proven mechanisms exist that can help players and coaches effectively develop, sustain and enhance a consistent and unshakable winning attitude.

For more information please visit Dr. relax or contact me at Gary A. Beale, PH.D. or voice at 1-775-828-6440, toll free at (877) 355-0620. Interested coaches may also wish to subscribe to "FROM BRAIN TO MUSCLE WITHOUT ANY TUSSLE" the free ,on-line Applied Sport Psychology E-zine published by the Sierra Center for Peak Performance.

The Original Review

I would like to personally thank Dr. Beale for allowing PowerBasketball to review his system and views on sports psychology. He brought back some much needed thoughts that I had forgotten when coaching my players under the pressure of winning basketball games. His views are concise and straight forward. His knowledge of sports psychology was impressive enough to warrant this review.

His system requires the player to be focused enough to handle listening to a couple of tapes for approximately 30 minutes every evening and reading aloud the "affirmations" that he selects in the initial consultation with Dr. Beale. This consultation is done through an e-mail process so as not to disrupt the athletes full schedule. Dr. Beale will then reply with the inital proofs of the player's choices. The player is then held accountable to envision and learn relaxation methods that Dr. Beale teaches. Remember these affirmations are based on the individual athlete, no two athletes are alike. No program will be designed the same.

The student athlete that I selected is a 15 year old sophomore playing varsity football and varsity basketball. He was one of a two starting quarterback rotation and the starting center. A very gifted athlete. His football season ended on a downside as the team lost their first playoff game and were eliminated from further post season play. Basketball season started up and his physical presence, 6'4" - 220 lbs, was felt on the offensive and defensive boards. His defensive play was adequate and offensively he was in a slump. I would see Richard on a daily basis in class and he would explain to me the situation of his game. He was used to being a leader on the team and was feeling stifled on the offensive end. His confidence was low and his self esteem as a premier player was dropping. Enter Dr. Beale's program.

Richard agreed that his problem was more mental than physical. I explained to him about Dr. Beale's program and he jumped at the opportunity to "try it out". I explained about the two tape system,
Relaxation and Imagery Conditioning :
to train your body and mind to relax and perform at their best

Subliminal Suggestion and Self-programming :
to enhance the development and maintenance of a positive, winning attitude

The idea of having Richard in my class 5 days a week for a minimum of 60 minutes a day fit very well for TAPE TWO. AS he already worked at a computer everyday, it was extremely easy to get him to listen to his favorite CD. The catch was that Dr. Beale would prepare the CD with subliminal suggestioning as Richard had selected his affirmations. The difficult portion was TAPE ONE, Dr. Beale indicates that the athlete should have a quiet area to relax themselves and provide themselves with the proper imagery for the tape to wotk. I explained to Richard that he should listen to the tape every night 30 minutes before going to bed and also read aloud his affirmations as directed by Dr. Beale.

The results did not take long. After two weeks of listening and relaxing, his game improved. He handled the pressure better. He was able to understand his role on the team better. He could knock down the free throws when we needed them. He had become a more complete player. I asked Richard to describe the feelings he had after a game. His comment was "I don't know I just feel more relaxed on the floor. The tape and CD must really be working." Richard has continued to use the combination of CD during class and imagery at night over the last 8 weeks and it has worked. His scoring is up, rebounding is up, play time is up, every part of his game has improved. Dr. Beale's system has worked just like the "Dr. ordered".

To bring this review to conclusion, I would admit that I was skeptical about the whole subliminal suggestion process. It doesn't bother me anymore. Dr. Gary Beale has shown me and my student athlete just what the mind can do to control the physical part of a game. Thanks, Gary.

Guy Power

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