Mountain Mindset

Downhill mountain bikers have “a higher threshold for adrenaline and fear,” says sports psychologist Julie Emmermann. Other PhDs say mountain bikers should “have their heads checked,” “pray,” and “not fall off.” And some say that fear simply isn’t a factor, only fun. Achieving optimal physiological arousal, the psychologist’s phrase for “getting psyched up,” is a big part of the [...]

2017-10-04T01:48:22+00:00 By |Performance|

Wax On

Martial arts training develops key areas of athletic fitness: strength, speed, agility, flexibility, and stamina. This is especially true of modern Taekwondo, with its noted emphasis on kicking. But did you know that martial arts training is also a good way to become a better skier? A major conditioning factor in martial arts is that training tends to be [...]

2017-09-20T20:56:23+00:00 By |Performance|

Assertiveness is Not Just Being Direct

Ever try being assertive, but feel like you’re ineffectively going in circles?  Some struggle with being more assertive because what they believe is assertiveness is accompanied with guilt.  And so they avoid being assertive until they “just can’t take it any more.”  The pressure cooker releases and the argument with their (spouse, friend, mother, father, boss, whatever) is ugly.  Sometimes they [...]

2017-10-04T01:41:53+00:00 By |Life, Performance|

Habits of Excellence: Work, Fun, or Both?

Wade seemed to be having a rough day.  This kid normally dominated our Opti practices, winning the favored end with ease, exhibiting almost flawless boathandling, and sailing clean.  But today he was starting late, sometimes from the unfavored end, and he was spinning for hitting marks.  And yet he had a smile on his face as he overcame a [...]

2017-09-27T22:53:35+00:00 By |Performance, Sailing|

Assessment In Applied Sport Psychology Chapter

Human Kinetics just published a new book, “Assessment in Applied Sport Psychology,” edited by Dr. Jim Taylor. I’m excited to have contributed Chapter 10, “Applied Psychophysiology:  Using Biofeedback, Neurofeedback, and Visual Feedback,” collaborating with a world class team of authors (Dr. Sheryl Smith, Dr. Melissa Hunfalvy, and Dr. Pierre Beauchamp). I think my colleagues in the field, and those [...]

2017-09-27T22:53:43+00:00 By |Career, Performance|

Cultivate your motivation

Think of a goal that you’ve been working for lately or that you’re about to go after. How about all those New Year’s resolutions? Do you know why you want it? In other words, what’s your motivation? Do you simply love what you’re doing, or is there a reward you are pursuing? Being clear about what motivates you can [...]

2017-09-05T16:19:11+00:00 By |Career, Life, Performance|

What really matters to you?

What do you value? It's an important question to ask yourself often. When you figure out what matters most to you, it can help guide what you do, even when you're at your lowest. Values help you make big things happen and little things along the way too. In identifying what you value, consider aspects of your life now [...]

2017-09-05T16:19:15+00:00 By |Performance, Teams|

Get SMART about setting goals

Goal setting can be a useful tool in many arenas. Experts say that 90% of the time, setting specific and challenging goals leads to better performance than “do your best” goals or none at all. Goals can direct attention, mobilize effort, increase persistence, and help you form good strategies. Famous sports figures such as Olympian Michael Phelps have achieved [...]

2017-09-05T16:19:19+00:00 By |Career, Life, Performance, Sailing, Teams|

Honing Your Mental Game

Sailing is a unique sport with many facets. Success comes from overall training plan encompassing development of technical expertise, boat speed, strategy, boat handling, tactics, physical training, and mastery of the mental game. In interviews with Olympians, professionals, or other top athletes, successes or failures are often attributed to cognitive or emotional experiences. Elite sailors control as many controllables [...]

2017-09-25T13:11:52+00:00 By |Performance, Sailing|

Steer my mind to perform?

Steer my mind to perform? Some peak performers try to take charge of their thoughts while others work on accepting them. Both approaches seem to make sense even though they are different. Learn about these two approaches and start developing your own mixture of strategies, capitalizing on positive thoughts to perform your best, either shifting away from or simply [...]

2017-09-05T16:19:31+00:00 By |Life, Performance|

Mental imagery works!

You can learn to use the same mental imagery skills that elite athletes use to achieve peak performance. Mental imagery is the practice of seeing (and feeling) in your mind's eye how you want to perform a skill, as if you were actually doing it. It's a popular sport psychology technique that service members can take advantage of. You [...]

2017-09-05T16:19:40+00:00 By |Performance, Sailing|

Anxious or excited?

When performance matters, it’s common to feel amped up—your heart beats faster, for example. How you interpret these physical sensations can change how you feel emotionally, including your overall mindset, and ultimately make a difference in how you perform. Recent research into performance anxiety over tasks such as singing, public speaking, and math gives us some insights about performance [...]

2017-09-05T16:19:47+00:00 By |Life, Performance|

Vary Heart Rate to Perform!

Key Points Breathing at certain paces allows for improved psychophysiological (mind-body) functioning when a person is not exercising, which can help with preparation, recovery, general stress management, and focus during a task. “Heart rate variability” is the acceleration and deceleration in the rate of heartbeats. A more variable heart rate is better for health and performance. Heart rate variability [...]

2017-09-13T22:19:07+00:00 By |Performance|