sports psychologist & clinical psychology

Dimension X: Don Shula’s Role in “The Mental Performance Index”

When I wrote “The Mental Performance Index” I wanted the reader to know a little about how I came up with the idea of an index of perfection, or one single number that represented how well a football team had performed in a game. While I had never personally met Don Shula, his influence, as I explain in the book, was immense. As a 9 year old kid, I became a student of his comments in press conferences, radio and television, and his “perfect season” gave me the idea of measuring how closely a team had come to reaching perfection.

Fast forward to the year 2011. The book was about to be published and I had already secured a great forward writer in Tom Flores. I also considered Don Shula for this honor, but he was away on vacation and the book was due out. Flores kindly accepted before I ever heard back from Shula, and I immediately accepted his generosity. Flores is such a Super Bowl success (4-0 in the big game) and he is a fine gentleman too.

However, being in South Florida and having written so much about Don Shula and his wisdom, I still wanted to get a quote from him for the book. Through the assistance of ex-Dolphin star Jim Jensen, who had already endorsed the book, Don Shula graciously allowed me to use an actual quote taken from Jensen’s days as a player. Jensen had allowed me to borrow his Dolphins notebooks for a week, and Shula put his stamp of approval on the following for “The Mental Performance Index.”

“You’ve got to continually eliminate errors and take pride in not making mental and physical mistakes. It takes extra work, extra thoughts, and extra practice to get it all done. It just doesn’t happen on Sunday. You have to make up your minds to get it done and make up your minds to win.” DON SHULA

I am thrilled that Shula respects what am doing enough in “The Mental Performance Index” to put his own stamp of approval and name on it with a terrific quote that mirrors what I write about and tell athletes to do in my work. Why is that surprising? I learned a lot of it from Shula! Since Shula and Flores were involved in about 1/3 of all Super Bowls played, and epilogue writer Lesley Visser worked in broadcasting many more of them, we’ve about got the entire history of Super Bowls represented between my support team of Flores, Shula and Visser, not to mention the great quotes from Jim Jensen, Steve Sabol of NFL Films, placekicker Nick Lowery, coach Doug Blevins, receiver Dan Johnson and publisher Jim Martz! I could not be more thrilled with the good and highly intelligent and Super Bowl savvy people behind the new book “The Mental Performance Index” and I know you will love reading it!

I hope you enjoyed this journey into the world of sports psychology.

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