Archive for the ‘News & Events’ Category

Friend Finder Puts People Back in Touch

Special Report – Palm Beach, Florida – Several years ago Dr. John F. Murray, clinical and sports psychologist in Palm Beach, Florida, began offering a free service using the power of the web to find lost acquaintances and friends. “It worked brilliantly” said Dr. Murray, and “I even used the service to locate a few old friends from childhood that I had not seen in over 35 years!” Whether you attended the same academy or school, or knew that person in the neighborhood in the 1950s, it really worked!

The success of the web to put people in touch off anyone’s site really (it is more effective if the site is popular and gets lots of hits like here at is based on the relatively common phenomenon knowing as “ego surfing” in which internet users type their own name into a search box such as google or yahoo to see where they appear online. “Since I am contributing almost daily to the international, national and local media on topics related to sports psychology training and mental health, my name pops up all the time in articles and blogs that I was not even aware of,” claims Dr. Murray. Murray has been dubbed the “football freud” by the Washington Post and the “Roger Federer of sports psychology” by Tennis Week Magazine.

As a service to visitors to his site, Dr. Murray accepts emails from people all the time and then posts their names on his site to that others engaging in ego surfing will find their names on the site and contact Dr. Murray to be put back in touch with the lost friend. “I do it because it is fun and it is a way to get people to visit my site and see all the exciting things going on,” asserts Murray.

Here are the latest list of requests from people looking for long lost friends: (1) Michael Butler from Sacramento, California writes to say that he is seeking to re-connect with New York City native and schoolboy friend known as John Artusi. (2) Stephen Reynolds of Charlotte, NC is looking for an old girlfriend from high school in the suburbss of Chicago named Lisa Giordano. (3) Frank Morris of Gainesville, FL is looking for James Smith who used to live in Stoughton, MA many years ago. (4) Judy Lambert who lived in Boca Raton, FL many years ago is looking for her old neighborhood friend who she thinks moved to Plymouth, MA in the late 1960s but they went separate ways. (5) Monty Smith of Phoenix, AZ would like to re-connect with his teenage sweetheart who lived in Tuscon and her maiden name was Cynthia Murray (no relation to Dr. John Murray). (6) Attorney Stephen Miller lived over on the west coast of Florida many years ago (early 1970s) and lost contact with a golfing buddy, Frank Washington of Pinellas Park, FL and wonders whatever happened to him. (7) Ex North Palm Beach, FL resident William Smith (now living in Dallas) recalls dating a girl in high school from in Jupiter and Juno Beach, FL in the 1980s named Virginia Jones and they used to go boating frequently off Juno Beach.

I hope you use this service and sincerely believe that time travel to an interesting and distant past can promote a bright future when old connections are made! Just contact Dr. John F Murray by email and he will post your name and who you are searching for in the next update ( Hope you enjoyed this benefit of the website dedicated to sports psychology.

Granderson Decides to Visit the Swing Doctor

Wall Street Journal – August 13, 2010 – Brian Costa – KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Curtis Granderson was searching for answers.

More than four months into his first season with the Yankees, he arrived in Texas on Tuesday batting just .240 with 10 home runs, hardly resembling the All-Star he was just a year ago.

So when he approached Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long in the batting cage, he was ready to try just about anything.

“What would you suggest?” he said, according to Mr. Long. “I want to do something different.”

Slumping Curtis Granderson is working with Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long to re-invent his swing.

That conversation is what sparked a series of hitting sessions over the last few days in which the two worked on what Mr. Long called “a total reformation of the swing.” Essentially, Mr. Granderson is trying to eliminate excess movement in every facet of his swing, from his hands to his hips.

It does not require an advanced degree in the science of hitting to see that something had to change. Mr. Granderson, acquired in a trade with the Detroit Tigers last winter, is having his worst season since he was a rookie in 2004.

Though his average is only slightly down from 2009, when he hit .249, he is on pace to finish well shy of the 30 home runs he hit last year. He entered Thursday with a .722 OPS, down from .780 last year and .858 two years ago.

The only thing that hasn’t changed is his struggle against left-handed pitchers, against whom he entered Thursday hitting just .206.

But making fundamental changes to a player’s swing this late in the season is a radical move. Even Mr. Long called it “a stretch” to change longstanding habits in a matter of days and weeks.

The question, then, is this: How quickly can a swing be overhauled?

Mr. Granderson downplayed the extent of the changes, saying, “It’s just trying to simplify everything.” But what he is working on with Mr. Long is clearly more than the routine adjustments that many hitters make during the course of a season.

Mr. Long compared it to the work he did with right fielder Nick Swisher after he hit just .128 in the playoffs last year. The difference, though, is that Mr. Swisher made the changes to his swing during the offseason. During the season, he likely could not have done what Mr. Granderson is attempting.

“I asked Swish, ‘Would this have worked with you?’ ” Mr. Long said. “He said, ‘I don’t know. It would have been very difficult.’ ”

Mr. Granderson was benched Tuesday and Wednesday, giving him extra time to work on his revamped swing. But mentally, there will likely be a longer adjustment period, according to John Murray, a sports psychologist based in Palm Beach, Fla.

“What was previously automatic is now having to be re-learned,” Mr. Murray said. “It’s almost like you’re going back to a beginner’s state of mind.”

Mr. Granderson said he has made changes of similar magnitude in midseason twice before, first when he was in the minors in 2004 and again when he was in Detroit in 2006.

Even if it is too late to save Mr. Granderson’s season, Mr. Long said they have little to lose in trying.

“Like he said,” Mr. Long said, “how much worse could it get?”

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into just another aspect of sports psychology.

Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade building goodwill in 2 worlds

Miami Herald – Michael Wallace – August 1, 2010 – Dwyane Wade’s work in the community includes the Summer Groove, which he leads along with Alonzo Mourning. It was only weeks ago that Irene Brodie sat on her living room sofa in suburban Chicago, leaned over a coffee table and sorted through photos and articles chronicling one of her town’s favorite sons.

Her mind was focused on the task — putting together a collage commemorating what was going to be Dwyane Wade’s triumphant return to Chicago to follow in the legendary, Nike-sneakered footsteps of Michael Jordan and restore the Bulls to elite-level status.

It was set to be a full-circle celebration for Brodie, who was mayor of the Chicago suburb of Robbins, Ill., when Wade left to attend college at Marquette in 2000 and is marking two decades in office this year.

Wade had other plans, opting early in July to join free agent stars LeBron James and Chris Bosh for a championship quest with the Miami Heat.

“This will always be home for him, and he’ll tell you he’s from Robbins,” Brodie said. “But I guess if I want to see him play, I better get down there to Miami.”

Wade is scheduled to return to Chicago later this month to host his annual Wade’s World Foundation weekend of charity events. It will be Wade’s first public appearance in the city he spurned after visiting the Bulls twice and indicating serious interest.

Wade has said a big part of his heart — and family — will always be in Chicago, but there’s no doubt now where his loyalties reside.

After committing to the Heat for another six seasons — and recruiting James and Bosh to join him in Miami — Wade is as entrenched in South Florida as sunshine, sand and salsa.


Wade, 28, was already approaching the regional iconic status of Miami Dolphins Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino after leading the Heat to an NBA title in 2006. But his role in helping the Heat execute the most controversial free agency coup in NBA history may have established him as the No. 1 figure in South Florida sports.

“Across all sports, in terms of his impact, [Wade] was top five down here already,” said Dr. John F. Murray, a Palm Beach County-based sports psychologist who has worked with professional athletes and teams. “As great as Marino was, he never won a championship. If Wade is able to do it again, with what they’ve got in place, he would solidify himself at the top.”


During a recent appearance on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, Wade said the buzz around Miami is even greater now than after the Heat won its lone title four seasons ago.

Wade also said his decision to take less money — he will earn $107 million over six years compared with the $110 million Bosh and James will get — has been appreciated around town.

With all three players agreeing to take $15 million to $20 million less than the maximum they could have received under league rules, the Heat retained money to fill out a solid supporting cast.

“Everywhere you go, everyone is excited about the opportunity,” Wade told Kimmel, marveling at how often his dinner tab is picked up all around town. “I haven’t paid for anything. That loss [in contract], the city is going to help me get it back. It’s going to be fun.”

Even with the Heat still months from its late October season opener, its three stars have already taken a national victory lap of sorts. There have been talk-show appearances and red-carpet treatment in Los Angeles, star-studded parties in Las Vegas and even an instant declaration by Sports Illustrated that the Heat are one of the top 25 most reviled teams ever.

Wade welcomes the challenge.

“Bring it on,” Wade said during the July 9 news conference at which James and Bosh also signed their new contracts. “We play this game to have that competitive nature, competitive juices. We don’t expect [teams] to say, `OK, Miami’s won it. We don’t want that. I expect people are going to say [negative] stuff. And we accept it with open arms.”

Miami returned the love in a public embrace that capped months of waiting for Wade, who a year ago was in the midst of a public spat with team president Pat Riley about a lack of roster upgrades going into the 2009-10 season.

Wade also dealt with lawsuits over failed business ventures, including a doomed restaurant chain. Even more serious were bitter divorce proceedings and custody issues over his two young sons that dragged on for nearly two years.

“It’s been a lot of stuff I had to deal with, grow through and realize what I was about and what people around me were about,” Wade said. “But I had to go through it for a reason. Everything I went through made me a better person, and I think people see that.”

The down times gave way to better ones. In January, Wade embedded himself deeper in the South Florida community when he joined with former Heat center Alonzo Mourning to raise more than $1 million for victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

A month later, Wade was named Most Valuable Player of the NBA All-Star Game, playing before a record crowd of 108,713 at Cowboys Stadium near Dallas.


It was during those All-Star weekend festivities that Wade, Bosh and James practiced and played on the Eastern Conference team, and also further entertained the idea of uniting as free agents if the chance arrived.

“His leadership ability certainly came to the forefront in this whole thing,” said Chicago-based agent Henry Thomas, who has represented Wade and Bosh since they decided to enter the 2003 NBA Draft. “He’s shown himself throughout the league to be the player and person Chris and LeBron wanted to play with.”

Thomas said the way Wade handled himself through his legal matters and family issues also showed a humility that resonated with Miami fans.

“He’s been through some things off the court human beings go through,” Thomas said. “He’s not perfect. He’s made mistakes. He’s been classy the way he handled that adversity. And I’ve got to believe folks in Miami see that and recognize that beyond what he does on the court, he’s a human being that’s pretty special.”

Hope you enjoyed this story with a touch of sports psychology.

Ericsson Open Winners Emphasize Mental Game

Florida Tennis Magazine – By John F. Murray, PhD – – As a contributing editor to Florida Tennis magazine for over 10 years, you’ve heard from me countless times about the mental game and mental training for top junior tennis players hoping to earn a college scholarship, or perhaps ATP or WTA Tour success. What about players who have already made it? Does the mental game still matter for them? Let’s glance back at the men’s side of the 2010 Ericsson Open – from quarterfinals to Andy Roddick’s impressive win – and listen closely as the pros describe their mental keys to their success. We’ll cover the women exclusively in a future article.

This Key Biscayne Masters series gem continues to rank as the 5th most important tournament on the tour. Mark it official and just call it a grand slam, on par with Wimbledon and Roland Garros. Why not? It’s the biggest and baddest tennis in Florida, the Caribbean and South America, and my prediction is that it will eventually become the second US Open in some future decade as the Latin population of American and South Florida continues to grow beyond expectations. I love it because it is so close and I get to meet with players I am working with and see them play too.

By the quarterfinals of the 2010 event, 8 of the current top 20 ranked players in the world were still standing, so you had the cream of the crop for sure! In parentheses after their names are their current ATP Tour rankings: Rafael Nadal of Spain (1), Robin Sonderling of Sweden (5), Thomas Berdych of Czechoslovakia (8), Andy Roddick of USA (9), Fernando Verdasco of Spain (10), Jo Wilfried Tsonga of France (11), Mikhail Youzny of Russia (14), and Nicolas Almagro (20) of Spain. With Spain just winning the World Cup too, you wonder what they are drinking over there!

Let’s listen to the winner’s post-match comments from the mental perspective, with the key mental principle(s) underlined as a header:


Berdych d. Verdasco 4-6, 7-6, 6-4: Berdych after the match stated: “I brought many positive things even though I was tired.â€? He explained in the press conference how beating Roger Federer in the previous round gave him confidence. He showed just that in saving 7 of 9 break points. Rather than getting defeated in adversity or reacting to a difficult situation in a negative way, Berdych hung in there, knew that he could do it, and did it.

Sonderling d. Youzny 6-1, 6-4: Robin Sonderling explained in the interview how taking the initiative and dictating play with his flat groundstrokes worked like a charm. He also talked about how he won with quickness, and we know from research how important mental processes are in anticipatory quickness. It’s actually equally about physical movement as it is about getting a jump mentally and reading cues properly. Sonderling beat his rival to the punch with better anticipation skills, by taking the ball earlier, and through lightning fast shot-making, and these all begin in the brain.

Roddick d. Almagro 6-3, 6-3: Roddick, off to one of his fastest career starts, described this match in a way that shows he was in a state of pure focus and automatic play or automaticity. He already had played and won a lot in 2010, and described in this match how “things slowed down and muscle memory took over.â€? This is classic in higher stages of learning where auto-pilot predominates. It defines simplicity and perfect focus. Andy found it in this match and he felt like he could do no wrong.

Nadal d. Tsonga 6-3, 6-2: Never neglect the influence of the environment in performance, and social facilitation is a psychological state caused by crowd support. Nadal credited the crowd when he said after the match “I was inspired by the full and passionate crowd.â€? He added, “the crowd is always very emotional here.â€? There is no doubt that despite Nadal’s fatigue, he got a second and third wind from this special social element.


Berdych d. Sonderling 6-2, 6-2: Thomas Berdych knew that he was in trouble if he tried to out-steady the Swede. It’s actually a somewhat absurd concept to try to out-steady a Swede ever since Bjorn Borg hit the scene. Berdych used his noggin to set a couple clear goals: (1) play more aggressively, and (2) reduce mistakes. This combination proved lethal to Robin when packed his bags and went back to the ice bar in Stockholm (I went there a couple years ago and can only imagine that is where Swedes go after they lose a match to cool). Humor aside, Berdych used his frontal lobe well in this match by setting goals to perfection. He had 17 winners and only 15 unforced errors compared with Sonderlings 10 winners and 31 unforced errors.

Roddick d. Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 6-3: Mindsets are crucial in sports. They reflect how you view a problem and solution. I often help players get ready for matches with particular sentences that capture a needed mindset. In this case, Andy knew he was in trouble against Nadal if he played it safe. Playing consistently against Nadal is like trying to beat a wall. So he changed his mindset to high risk/high reward and it drastically changed the course of the match mid way through the second set. Andy showed high intelligence in making this needed risky change and going on the attack. He went on to win 15 of 25 net approaches, found his flat risky forehand, and Nadal went home wondering what had happened.

Roddick d. Berdych 7-5, 6-4: Andy used two important mental skills to take his 2nd career Ericsson title. He won by being creative and stated after the match, “I was smart in chipping and mixing paces which kept him guessing.â€? He also said, “I had a lot of pressure to win this one because I had a pretty good opportunity at Indian Wells.â€? In reflecting on the entire tournament, Roddick said “I haven’t had an off day mentally in this tournament.â€? The end result was the he held serve perfectly and did not even face a break point in this match. By combining smart creative play with urgency on every point (rather than negativity as often happens in pressure) Andy Roddick, the lone American in a draw with 3 fierce Spaniards and all top 20 players by the quarterfinals, showed that he was the mental champion of the week.

I hope you enjoyed this article on sports psychology.

Sports Psychologist Dr. John F Murray Appearing on Tennis Channel Next Two Weeks

DR JOHN IS ON THE TENNIS CHANNEL OVER THE NEXT TWO WEEKS (PREVIOUSLY RECORDED): Dr. John F. Murray to appear on the Tennis Channel in episodes 3 and 4 of “Fit to Hit” with host Danielle Dotzenrod. Episode 3 starts July 26.

—>BEFORE EPISODE 3 OF “FIT TO HIT” (begins July 26, 2010) – Sports Psychologist, John F. Murray will show us why setting goals can do wonders for our game.
—>BEFORE EPISODE 4 OF “FIT TO HIT” (begins August 2, 2010) – If you’ve ever found yourself on a losing streak, you’ll want to watch…we will talk to the sports psychologist, John F Murray, that helped Vincent Spadea come back from the longest losing streak in history!

My Pseudo-Trainer and Client Wins Summa Cum Laude

Special to – July 22, 2010 – Many of you follow my daily activities on Twitter, Facebook or this website. In a few of my past posts I alluded to one of my clients who I started counseling while walking in my unique brand of walk therapy written about in the National Post of Canada and the Wall Street Journal. Why be normal when you can be super-normal is my motto!

This client was fun to tweet about because he was somewhat odd in his sessions which started with walking and progressed to intense walking sessions. I soon realized that this client had no interest in wearing running shoes and instead opted to wear flip flops or sandals even when running long distances as many as 30 miles! Our sports psychology sessions would transpire in the car driving to our runs or on the walks before the runs, and we would then run long distances alone and meet up at a later time, at times running the University of Miami campus, the Palm Beach lake and ocean trails, or more lately from the west part of Las Olas Blvd. in Ft. Lauderdale to AIA and then north to Oakland Park or Commercial Blvd. and back.

In short, we combined our sessions with healthy exercise but despite my many warnings to him he insisted in running in sandals. He soon outclassed even the fastest runners on AIA and one day even went 30 plus miles in sandals. He tried a pair of vibram running shoes that look like gloves, but they soon broke and he returned to wearing sandals.

This client was a married student with two children and attending a local university. On campus he dressed in casual clothing and got into his share of trouble with administration. He bucked the trend, spoke his mind, and at times complained to the university administration for unfair policies and restrictions of student freedom. We’ll spare the details, but let’s just say that he was more inclined to tell the truth than play the game and stay out of trouble. He despised red tape, university politics and outdated policies, and unfair treatment of students send him into a frenzy. His controversial nature got him in trouble more than once and the administration even tried to throw him out a couple times in ridiculous hearings that he always defended himself well at, leaving the administration looking confused and disoriented, but he always walked away from these conjured up hearings because there was nothing to them.

He didn’t talk much about his grades, so I assumed he was a B student or maybe B+ since he had a family to take care of, engaged in these marathon runs, and just didn’t fit the image of a pencil case carrying geek with academic perfectionism. I was wrong. He didn’t look like a geek, but he apparently is. My pseudo-trainer recently attended his graduation ceremonies and learned after completing his degree not in 4, but in 1.5 years, and was named the overall best student in the school with a GPA over 3.9 that earned him the top honors of Summa Cum Laude. To add insult to injury for the mean spirited adminsitration, last week he also get accepted into medical school program that awards a combined MD and PhD.

After medical school and residency, this pseudo-trainer wants to do nothing less than cure cancer, and he says he already knows exactly which part of the human genome he is going after once he sets up his lab and begins his practice. Is a Nobel Prize in the future for him. Probably not. It is probably not a big enough challenge for him.

I’ll keep pseudo-trainer annonnymous because he is still a client, and he also has a lot of schooling left and probably not the convenience of a sports psychologist bragging about him. Knowing his blunt and somewhat controversial nature he’ll probably rub someone wrong somewhere in the future and I would prefer that nobody with ill intent gain the benefit of reading this. Like art for art’s purpose alone, this article is an applause for the human spirit exemplified in pseudo-trainer. It is a celebration of our need to remain unique and think big throughts. All is within grasp with the proper mental attitude. I teach that daily to my clients and the flip flop running pseudo trainer has been a great student indeed. He has also been a great running coach for me and I am still learning. Let’s clap now for running dude in sandals who beat a corrupt university administration at their own game by being the school’s overall best student, for getting into a very fine MD/PhD program, and for his future Nobel Prize 🙂 Everyone can take a lesson from him to stand up for what is right rather than go along with corruption and politics, and to shine both academically and in sports.

I hope you all enjoyed this little glimpse into the world of sports psychology and the kind of clients that come my way. Go get em in med school now! This was an article about the human spirit and the benefits of sports psychology.

Psychology of sport: how a red dot swung it for Open champion

London Independent – Steve Connor – July 20, 2010 – The strategy employed by golfer Louis Oosthuizen demonstrates the growing importance of mental techniques in the field of competitive sport

A small red spot on the glove of golfer Louis Oosthuizen is credited with playing a critical role in his winning of The Open Championship at St Andrews last Sunday. The coloured spot was a visible manifestation of the growing influence of psychology in sport – it was designed to help the 27-year-old South African concentrate on his swing in the crucial moments leading up to a shot.

Sporting professionals are increasingly turning to similar mind-training tricks to improve their performance on the field. It may involve mental imagery that allows them to rehearse a game in their heads, or psychological blocking techniques that stop them from dwelling on past mistakes. In the case of Oosthuizen, an outsider who was widely expected to collapse under the pressure on the final day, it was a simple dot on his glove to make him focus on his swing.

The idea came from a sports psychologist who was asked to help Oosthuizen improve his concentration before starting his swing after a string of disappointing results in previous golfing events.

The idea came from Karl Morris, a Manchester sports psychologist who was asked to help Oosthuizen improve his concentration before starting his swing after a string of disappointing results in previous golfing events.

“His pre-shot routine was all over the place. I suggested he changed his whole game plan after he told me that when he played in the US Open last month he was making split decisions instead of thinking about what he should have been doing. One of the tips I gave him was to put a red spot on his glove and to focus on it during his swing.”

The ability to focus on the task in hand is one of they key techniques that sports psychologists try to refine when dealing with professional sports people. “There is a lot of evidence that the best sportsmen and women have a lot of psychological skills that allow them to concentrate and to control anxiety,” said Tim Rees, a qualified psychologist who specialises in sport at Exeter University.

Psychological skills may be more important in some sports than others. Endurance sports such as rowing, for instance, require a very different psychological approach from less physical sports like golf where the actual playing of shots constitutes a tiny fraction of the time it takes to complete the course. Rowing and other endurance sports involve intense activity for prolonged periods, whereas there is so much more time for psychology in sports like golf. There is a lot of evidence to show that once someone gets to a certain level of skill, it is the differences in their psychological approach that differentiates people at the very top,” Dr Rees said.

The red spot on Oosthuizen’s glove was one way of focussing his mind on the process of playing a shot, rather than thinking of the consequences. It is a classic example of what it known as “process goals” in sports psychology, when the athlete is asked to focus on something, however minor, to stop them thinking of what happens if the shot goes wrong – it brings them back to the here and now before the shot is actually played, Dr Rees explained.

Other mental tricks may focus on “thought stopping”. Instead of dwelling on a missed shot, whether it is a failed penalty or disastrous return on the tennis court, the athlete is trained to put such negative thoughts into a mental “black box” that can be dealt with after the match.

A simple trick is to get the athlete to think of a stop sign immediately after they make a mistake. “It allows them to park the problem so they can deal with it later. It takes a lot of practice to get it to work but it allows them to focus on what they have to do next rather than what they have just done,” Dr Rees said.

Almost all sports involve what psychologists call imagery. Athletes often describe how the day or night before a crucial game they mentally rehearse what they intend to do – even to the point of walking up to the winner’s podium. (According to Rees this is why so many first-time winners often look relatively relaxed and at home on a podium because they have rehearsed the moment so many times in their heads).

David Beckham, for instance, is said to have stored and replayed mental “video clips” of how the ball will bend when he takes a free kick at goal. Skiers at the top of a run often close their eyes briefly and sway from side to side just before they take off down a slope, as if they are rehearsing the difficult movements they are about to make.

“Imagery is most effective when it is used in conjunction with actual practice,” Dr Rees said.

Physical perfection, skill and technique are obviously critical to athletic performance, but the whole point about sports psychology is that the mind can so often be employed to overrule matter. This is never more true when it comes to the sort of psychological support that can decide whether a player wins or loses.

Several studies have shown that the emotional support given to an athlete from family, friends and even professional managers can make a significant difference to sporting performance. Olympic gold medallists Dame Kelly Holmes and Sir Chris Hoy, for instance, have both cited the support of their loved ones as a major factor in their success, and this is supported by empirical research.

In one study of 197 male amateur golfers, for example, Dr Rees found that the social support they received before a game affected how well they did. “While training, tactics and luck all play a part, the encouraging words or kind gestures of a partner or friend can make the difference between a footballer scoring that winning goal, or a sprinter achieving a record time,” he said.

Even the emotional support of a relative stranger can boost performance, according to another study by Exeter colleague Paul Freeman. Just listening to an athlete’s problems and offering simple advice and encouragement can make a significant difference to an athlete’s success, Dr Freeman said.

“It is significant that the support I offered, as a relative stranger, had such a marked influence on their results. The findings suggest that amateur and professional athletes would benefit from seeking social support, whether this is from a friend or family member or even from a professional,” he said.

This is why even a manager can make a psychological impact that makes the difference between winning and losing. Tell that to Fabio Capello.

Mind games

Howard Webb

Only 19 men have refereed a World Cup final and with each one the pressure has grown greater and greater as the global audience has expanded . Howard Webb cut a remarkably calm figure in Johannesburg despite issuing a record number of 14 yellow cards as the time he spent ahead of the game with a sports psychologist paid off. “We understand the stakes and how important it is to everyone involved but we also try to put it into some perspective,” said Webb.

Chelsea’s “mind room”

It’s top secret, but somewhere hidden in Chelsea’s Cobham training ground in Surrey is the Mind Room – it exists, but exactly what’s in it and what it does is jealously guarded. It was set up by Carlo Ancelotti, Chelsea’s manager, who had used something similar during his time in charge of Milan in Serie A. It is overseen by his assistant Bruno Demichelis, who is also a sports psychologist. The Italian version was designed to relax players and then encourage them to stay calm as they watched their performances, good or bad. “It allows players to improve their resilience through mental training,” said Demichelis.

Lindsey Vonn

The American skier was earmarked as the pin-up girl of the 2010 Winter Olympics before a ski had even touched the slopes. The pressure as she took the lift to the top of Whistler was immense and not helped by injury problems that had dogged her build-up. She used a technique taught to her by Sean McCann, the senior sports psychologist with the US team, visualising how she felt the race would pan out. It worked for Vonn; she swept downhill to a gold.

Victoria Pendleton

Britain’s Olympic cyclists are regarded as one of the best prepared teams in any sport and have a record of spectacular success at the last three Games. They won seven of the 10 events in Beijing, and it is Steve Peters, the team’s psychologist, who is credited with a key role in putting the riders on the mental road to gold. Dave Brailsford, the performance director, describes him as a “genius”. Pendleton was a particular triumph. She has been overwhelmed by the Olympic experience in Athens and spent some intensive time with Peters in the build up to the 2008 Games. “I was a mess, I was really down,” said Pendleton of Athens. “It took me about a year of working with Peter to get my head working in the right direction.” That direction was straight to the top of the podium.

And when it doesn’t work…

“Own the podium” was the decree issued to Canada’s Olympians ahead of this year’s Winter Games. The team was equipped with 14 “mental performance consultants”. Kristi Richards, already a world champion freestyle skier, was told to write all her negative thoughts on a piece of toilet paper and flush them away. She qualified fourth for the finals, but on the big night ended up in a heap after her second jump. She finished 20th, and last.

Hope you enjoyed this article about sports psychology.

Career of Dr. John F. Murray

Scroll to the bottom of this page to see my professional activities

John F Murray, Ph.D.

This outline identifies highlights of my career that have shaped me as a provider of consulting services.

Career Overview

I am a clinical and sports psychologist in Palm Beach, Florida working out of my office and by phone. I’ve held university teaching positions in psychology and statistics. I traveled the world as a tennis professional in my 20s before going back to graduate school at the University of Florida, gaining masters degrees in both sports psychology and clinical psychology, and a PhD in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology. I completed a rare psychology and sports psychology internship at Washington State University and a similar postdoctoral fellowship at Florida International University in Miami before opening my private practice in 1999. My career has been extremely challenging and fascinating. I’ve produced and hosted my own radio show and have worked hard to increase public awareness about the benefits of sports psychology. I’ve appeared on national television and radio many times to discuss the field or current issues as an expert. Career highlights include writing a top selling sports psychology book cover endorsed by a Wimbledon Champion, developing a new football rating system that includes mental performance and standardizes scoring across decades (unveiled in a 2001 book that was revised in 2013), helping NFL players and athletes in all sports to compete better, helping engineer a comeback from the longest career losing streak in pro tennis history, coaching on the ATP Tour and getting an official win at the 2007 Australian Open, traveling with a #1 USA judo fighter to the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China, traveling to UFC 100 in Las Vegas where I worked with an MMA title contender, and I will soon attend the 2014 winter Olympic Games in Russia, working with Finnish hockey star Olli Jokinen. I have been dubbed the Roger Federer of sports psychologists by Tennis Week, one of the major psychologists in sports by Fox News, the Freud of Football by the Washington Post, and the most quoted psychologist in America. I have enjoyed contributing to thousands of articles and have written hundreds of columns including regular columns at Tennis Magazine and Florida Tennis. I recently launched a podcast on mental training to help athletes prepare for competition using a variety of mental strategies and I’ve written a football column for University of Miami football in CaneSport Magazine for 3 consecutive seasons.

Academic and Professional Background

I have a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Loyola University New Orleans, and three graduate degrees from the University of Florida: two masters degrees in both Exercise and Sports Sciences and Clinical Psychology, and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. I specialized in clinical, health, and sports psychology throughout my graduate and post-graduate studies. To meet the requirements for the doctorate at the University of Florida I also completed the only APA approved professional psychology internship in the nation that also had a full-time rotation in sports psychology, at Washington State University in 1997. I defended my dissertation in 1998 on stress, coping, and emotional adjustment to injury will all injured players on 1996 national champion Florida Gators football team and a matched sample of injured recreational athletes. I then completed a one-year postdoctoral fellowship at Florida International University and passed the Florida state licensing examination to become a psychologist in 1999 when I began my private practice in South Florida. In addition to the private practice, I have given numerous speeches and conducted many workshops worldwide, served as President of the local Florida Psychological Association chapter, served as an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Argosy University in Sarasota, Florida, and South University in West Palm Beach, Florida, and served as the subject matter expert developing new graduate sports psychology courses for Educational Management Corporation (EDMC).

Sports and Sports Psychology Background

I coached tennis on five continents before going back to graduate school at age 30 to become a licensed clinical and sports performance psychologist. I authored the best-selling book Smart Tennis: How to Play and Win the Mental Game (Jossey-Bass, 1999) cover-endorsed by Wimbledon champion Lindsay Davenport and available in English (Jossey-Bass), Spanish (Paidotribo) and Japanese (Prentice Hall Japan). Former #18 world ranked tennis player Vince Spadea talked on the Tennis Channel about how I helped him overcome the longest recorded losing streak in tennis history as his sports psychologist. I’ve also filled in as Vince’s official traveling coach at eight tournaments including the 2007 Australian Open where I have an official coaching win over Russian star Igor Andreev. I have written hundreds of articles on sports psychology in some of the best sports magazines in the world. I have been a contributing editor at Florida Tennis for over ten years. I have been ranked in the top 10 in men’s singles in Florida as an Open division player, and held an end of year ranking as the #16 ranked Open player in Florida in 1996. In 2002, I developed a unique system to rate the performance of a football team with a precise rating system that for the first time incorporates key mental factors into the performance rating, while also standardizing performance so that teams can be compared from week to week, year to year and across decades on the same metric. This culminated in 2009 with a contract when I signed with World Audience publishers to write “The Mental Performance Index: Ranking the Best Teams in Super Bowl History.” Pro Football Hall of Fame and NFL broadcasting pioneer Lesley Visser will write the epilogue. I have been the sports psychologist for hundreds of amateur, junior, college, Olympic and professional athletes, and I have conducted sports psychology workshops all over the world including eight annual events on the weekend before the start of the Wimbledon championships in London.

Background in Media

In 2002 and 2003 I produced and hosted my own radio show on WAXY 790 in Miami, Florida called Mental Equipment, a call-in talk show that offered mental tips and strategies to help people with the tools of sports psychology to live more productive and successful lives. I also appeared on hundreds of local and network radio shows including NPR’s All Things Considered, on CNN, ABC, Bloomberg, BBC and ESPN to name just a few to discuss many more issues involving sports and psychology. I have also appeared at least seven times on national or international television including ABC Good Morning America during the 2006 Winter Olympics to discuss Sasha Cohen and Bode Miller’s chokes, on MSNBC with Allison Stewart to discuss anger following the infamous basket-braw involving the Indiana Pacers Ron Artest and his attack on a fan, on John Gibson’s he Big Story on the Fox network to discuss a youth hockey violence incident involving a parent, on Neil Cavuto’s Your World to discuss Yankees manager Joe Torre and owner George Steinbrenner, on the Pan American Sports Network from my office to talk about the psychology of a champion with tennis legend and former #3 ranked player Jose Luis Clerc, and on the Sunshine Network from the Key Biscayne tennis championships. I have appeared on many more local television broadcasts to discuss a wide variety of issues. Finally, I have contributed to over 1600 stories in the general media earning the nicknames The Freud of Football by the Washington Post, one of the major psychologists in sports by Fox, the Roger Federer of sports psychology by Tennis Week, and the most famous sports psychologist in the world by the Topeka Capital Journal. I am the most quoted psychologist and sports psychologist in America over the past five years because I am passionate about getting the word out about our exciting profession.

Professional Activities

For Athletes, Coaches & Teams
Individual Evaluations, Counseling, Mental Skills Training, Life Skills Training
Team Presentations, Workshops & Pre-Game Speeches

For Individuals, Couples & Families
Individual Evaluations & Counseling
Family & Couples Counseling

For Corporations & Organizations
Individual Evaluations, Counseling, Executive Coaching, Life Skills Training
Speeches & Workshops

2010 Resume of Dr. John F. Murray

John Francis Murray
Florida Licensed Psychologist PY0006086
139 North County Road, Suite 18C, Palm Beach, Florida 33480
Tel: (561) 596-9898; Fax: (561) 805-8662

Areas of specialization: Clinical Psychology, Sport/Performance Psychology, Health Psychology, University Teaching and Consultation, Subject Matter Expert in Sports Psychology


Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, University of Florida (1998)
Gainesville, Florida
Dissertation: Emotional Adjustment to Sport Injury (on the 1996
University of Florida national championship football team)

M.S. Clinical Psychology, University of Florida (1995)
Gainesville, Florida
Concentration: Health Psychology

M.S. Exercise and Sport Sciences, University of Florida (1992)
Gainesville, Florida
Concentration: Sport Psychology

B.A. Psychology, Loyola University (1983)
New Orleans, Louisiana

Adjunct Professor of Psychology Present
Argosy University Sarasota Campus
Have Taught Foundations of Mental Health, Assessment in Counseling and Clinical Diagnosis and Psychopathology and on staff since 2008

Adjunct Professor of Psychology 2009
South University West Palm Beach Campus
Taught Statistics

Subject Matter Expert for Sports Psychology and Psychology 2008 -2009
EDMC, the parent company of Argosy University Pittsburgh, PA
Designed two courses: The Psychology of Sports Injury& Athletic Counseling

Clinical Psychology Private Practice 1999-Present
139 North County Road Suite 18C (Palm Beach, FL)
Full range of clinical psychology, health/medical psychology and sport psychology/performance enhancement services both in office and in various health care facilities

Psychology Residency 1998 to 1999
Counseling and Psychological Services, Florida International University (Miami, FL)

Clinical Psychology Internship 1997 to 1998
Counseling and Testing Services, Washington State University (Pullman, WA)

Advanced Medical Psychology Practicum Spring 1997
Psychology Clinic at Shands Teaching Hospital, University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)

Medical Psychology Research Assistantship Spring 1996 to Summer 1997
Departments of Neurology, University of Florida College of Medicine & Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Gainesville, FL)

Psychotherapy Practica Fall 1993 to Spring 1997
Psychology Clinic at Shands Teaching Hospital, University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)

Psychotherapy Practicum Spring 1995 to Fall 1996
Adolescent Psychiatric Unit at Shands Teaching Hospital, University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)

Clinical and Research Assistantship Spring 1993 to Fall 1995
Psychology Clinic at Shands Teaching Hospital, University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)

Advanced Assessment Practicum Fall 1994
Psychology Clinic at Shands Teaching Hospital, University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)

Neuropsychology Assessment Practicum Summer 1994
Psychology Clinic at Shands Teaching Hospital, University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)

Child Psychology Assessment Practicum Spring 1994
Psychology Clinic at Shands Teaching Hospital, University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)

Health/Medical Psychology Assessment Practicum Fall 1993
Psychology Clinic at Shands Teaching Hospital, University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)

Graduate Assistantship Fall 1992 to Spring 1993
Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)

Teaching Assistantship Summer 1991 to Spring 1992
Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)
Taught an advanced and beginner level sport class each semester for three semesters through the College of Health and Human Performance. Responsibilities involved daily lectures and instruction, administration of examinations and assignments, and final grade submission.

Books and Original Material

Murray, J. (1999). Smart tennis: how to play and win the mental game. San
Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers Inc. (English original), Tokyo: Prentice Hall Japan (Japanese translation), Barcelona: Paidtribo (Spanish translation).

Murray, J. (1999). The Tennis Mind-Body Checklist. A mental skills performance questionnaire for tennis players first published in Smart tennis: how to play and win the mental game.

Murray, J., Vasquez, R., Rothwell, M., & Nunez, C. (1999). El tennis: jugando
con inteligencia. Bogota: APA Club de Tenis.

Murray, J. (2000). USA tennis high performance coaches program-sport psychology competency materials. Champaign: Human Kinetics Publishing.

Murray, J. (2003). The Mental Performance Index. A performance rating system including mental factors used with American football. Self published and reviewed in several magazine and news articles including ESPN The Magazine. It is also going to be a book with the same title later this year (World Audience publishers) and sportscaster Lesley Visser is writing the book’s epilogue.

Dissertation Paper and Publication

Murray, J., Fennell, E., Rodrigue, J., Murphey, M., Dede, D., & Sears, S. (1998). Emotional adjustment to sport injury in elite and recreational athletes, a poster presentation at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco, CA.

Murray, J. (1998). Emotional adjustment to sport injury: effects of injury severity, social support and athletic identity (Doctoral Dissertation, University of Florida Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Gainesville, 1998). Dissertation Abstracts International.

Neuropsychology Research Contributions

Uthman, B. (1997). N-acetylcysteine for the prevention of neuropsychological morbidity following coronary artery bypass graft surgery. (University of Florida College of Medicine and Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Gainesville, Florida).

Uthman, B. (1997). Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) for Adjunctive Treatment of Epilepsy Patients who have Refractory Partial Onset Seizures with Alteration of Consciousness. (Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Gainesville, Florida).

Articles in National Publications

This is just a list of examples: Sports Illustrated, ESPN The Magazine, Tennis Magazine (columnist with 15 articles), (columnist with 12 articles), ESPN The Magazine, Sports Illustrated and hundreds more.

Recent Media Interviews (as an expert on clinical and sports psychology)

TV: ESPN, NFL Network, The Tennis Channel, ABC Good Morning America, Fox News with Neil Cavuto, Fox News with John Gibson, MSNBC with Allison Stewart. RADIO: NPR, CNN Radio and hundreds more.


American Psychological Association
Florida Psychological Association
President of the Palm Beach County Chapter in 2002
Vice President of the Palm Beach County Chapter in 2001
Program Chair of the Palm Beach County Chapter in 2000


Phi Kappa Phi National Scholastic Honor Society
Psi Chi National Honor Society (Treasurer-Loyola University)
Deans Honor List (Loyola University)
Student Government Association (Loyola University)
Produced and Broadcast a Radio Show from Miami’s WAXY in 2003 (teaching the benefits of psychology in high performance situations)
Produced and Broadcast a Radio Show from Ft. Lauderdale’s WDJA and WFTL in 2004 (teaching the benefits of psychology in high performance situations)


Provided Clinical and Sports Psychology Services at the 2009 UFC 100 (mixed martial arts) in Las Vegas, Nevada
Provided Clinical and Sports Psychology Services at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China
Conducted at Least 30 Clinical and Sports Psychology Workshops Worldwide (recently in Istanbul, Cairo, London, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Palm Beach Gardens)
Provided Teaching Seminars to Coaches and Tennis Players on the Weekend
Before the Wimbledon Championships at the Sutton Tennis Academy in London with the Full Facility as Sponsorship and Sponsorship of Hotels in London.
Provided Clinical and Sports Psychology Services at the 2007 Australian Open Tennis Championships as the Official Coach of USA Player Vince Spadea
Taught Tennis as a Professional Tennis Coach Worldwide from 1984-1990.


Clinical Case Conference Fall 1992 to Spring 1997
Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)

Medical Psychology Research Meeting Fall 1992 to Spring 1997
Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)

Therapy Brownbag Spring 1994 to Spring 1997
Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)

Motor Behavior Research Meeting 1991 to 1992; 1996 & 1997
Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)

PLEASE NOTE: This resume is just a brief overview of professional and academic experiences. A full vita and references are available upon request.

Television: Former #3 on ATP Tour Talks Psychology with Dr. John F Murray

Sports psychology on television: The following television show with Dr. John F. Murray aired on the Pan American Sports Network (shown throughout the Spanish speaking world) in the early 2000s on the show Tenis American latina (Latin American Tennis) hosted by Jose Luis Clerc, former #3 ranked tennis player in the world.

In this episode of the show, shot from Dr. Murray’s former office in Boca Raton, Florida, Clerc interviews Dr. Murray about the mental game of tennis and is later presented a copy of Murray’s new book “Smart Tennis: How to Play and Win the Mental Game” (Jossey-Bass/John Wiley & Sons).

I hope you enjoy this video on the topic of sports psychology.