Posts Tagged ‘confidence’

CONFIDENCE NOW AUCTIONED ON EBAY

JohnFMurray.com – Nov 30, 2005 – For Immediate Release – The Cowardly Lion received his medal for courage on the Wizard of Oz. Now, for the First Time Ever, Confidence is Auctioned on eBay. The age of mental skills training has fully arrived as eBay users can now bid on a one-hour mental coaching session aimed at teaching confidence, or any of 7 other critical mental skills important in success

Palm Beach, FL (PRWEB) November 27, 2005 — For the first time ever, a performance specialist in business, sports, academics, and healthcare is offering on Ebay a one hour mental coaching session by phone or in person aimed at teaching one of the 8 critical mental skills.

Bidding on Ebay starts at $10 and any amount above the normal fee for a one-hour session will be donated to charity. The item can be found on eBay here

Dr. John F. Murray, who authored the best-selling tennis book “Smart Tennis” (endorsed by world #1 Lindsay Davenport) and who works with busineses, healthcare personnel, NFL players, as well as professional golfers, tennis players, and other athletes, believes that it’s extremely important to get the message out about the benefits of training the brain.

“We’ve gone as far as we can go physically, but mental training is a territory with unlimited potential for improvement in business, sports, or life,” stated Murray. “With the mind, limitations are always self-imposed,” added the doctor.

Bidding starts at $10 and the winner will receive one hour by phone or in person. It should be made clear that this hour is not for psychological counseling or psychotherapy, but rather for a mental teaching session focused on one of the following mental skills: confidence, focus, energy control, goal setting, imagery, enjoyment, resilience or discipline.

Many pro athletes, teams, businesses, and organizations receive the benefits of mental coaching, but the general population is still often surprised to know that these services even exist, as there are few legitimate performance psychologists or other professionals to provide these services. “It’s truly a cutting edge science and profession, says Murray, but the benefits have been demonstrated time and time again.”

Dr. John F. Murray is a sports psychologist and clinical psychologist providing sports psychology and counseling services based in Palm Beach, Florida.

BEFORE UNM CAN TAKE THE NEXT STEP, IT NEEDS TO FIGURE ITSELF OUT

Albuquerque Journal – Aug 8, 2005 – Greg Archuleta – Rocky Long is not a good candidate for psychoanalysis. His University of New Mexico football program, however, just might be.

Long’s eighth season as UNM coach gets in full swing Monday as the team begins fall practice for the 2005 season.

Under Long, the one-time Lobos quarterback, the program is enjoying one of its most prosperous periods: three straight Mountain West Conference runner-up finishes, three straight bowl-game appearances for the first time in the school’s 106-year history.

Losses in each bowl game, however, have kept UNM from finishing on a positive note.

“I don’t agree with that,” Long says. “I think we’ve ended the last three seasons on a positive note. I don’t agree that losing a bowl game eliminates everything you’ve done during the season.”

No, but the fact is that UNM hasn’t felt good about itself at the end of December in 2002, ’03 or ’04.

This is supposed to be a feel-good story� namely, what can the Lobos do to feel good about themselves at the end of December 2005?

The Lobos are in full preseason-speak mode, saying the MWC title is the goal, they’ve learned from past mistakes, they’ve worked harder this offseason than they ever have. …

Yada, yada, yada. The bottom line is UNM hasn’t won a conference championship in 41 years or a bowl game in 44. Does taking the next step simply mean working harder?

Or does it go deeper? Do the Lobos have a psychological bridge to cross?

Depends on whom you ask.

The doctor is in

“I do believe there’s something there to be dealt with,” says Dr. John F. Murray, a noted sports performance and clinical psychologist based in Florida, referring to UNM’s three successive bowl losses.

“I would want to know more about the particulars about the program,” he said. “I don’t want to sound like I’m some wheeler-dealer that can come in and fix it all. It sounds like (UNM’s) done a good job, improving the program year to year.”

The Lobos went 7-5 in 2004, marking their third straight year the program won at least seven games.

UNM enjoyed breakthrough wins each of those seasons (at Brigham Young in ’02, at Utah in ’03 and at home against Texas Tech in ’04).

Yet, the Lobos have not won a nonconference game outside New Mexico in Long’s tenure. They’re 0-14.

Opponents have outscored UNM by a combined 116-46 in the three bowls.

“It just seems like certain teams have a collective confidenceâ€? do you truly expect to win or notâ€? that carries a team over,” Murray says. “Those teams just seem to have a knack for the big game.

He says confidence is the biggest asset a team can have in playing a “big game.” The greatest source of confidence is past success.

A team without a tradition of successâ€? like UNMâ€? has to “fake it until you make it,” Murray says.

“I don’t think the psychological factor in this case is the primary influence,” Murray says. “I think the primary influence is talent. But I believe there’s something to be said for momentum. Think of how many games come down to a few critical plays. Even if the psychological factor is 10 percent or 15 percent, does that give you a little more strutâ€? not thinking but just doingâ€? and a little more focus at critical times?”

That’s just crazy

“I don’t think it’s psychological at all,” Long says. “I just don’t think we’ve played to our physical ability in any of the bowl games.”

Long says the long layoff between the regular-season finale and the bowl game hurts UNM, which has been a strong regular-season closer. The Lobos are 8-2 in November games from 2002-2004.

“I think what a lot of people don’t realize is our talent level is very comparable to the people we play,” Long says. “If you go back through the league the last six years and see who has won the most close football games, it’s the University of New Mexico.

“That’s proof that our teams have played closer to their A-game than anybody else in this league has.”

Own worst enemy

The Lobos themselves seem to side with the good doctor.

“I think the biggest thing in keeping us from taking the next step is us,” junior offensive guard Robert Turner says. “We’ve been what’s held us back every year. I think for an inexperienced team, that’s the hardest thing to do, to not hold yourself backâ€? whether it’s emotions on the field that cause stupid penalties or a lack of knowledge of the game. Not to take anything away from our opponents, but I think our biggest competitor is going to be us.”

Adds senior running back Adrian Byrd, “It’s become psychological because we don’t want to finish second anymore. We don’t want to go to a bowl game and lose anymore.”

UNM’s 2005 hopes seem to hinge on both physical and mental aspects of the program.

The Lobos transformed their offense in the offseason from a power-based to a spread formation to improve a passing attack that ranked 114th of 117 Division I-A teams in ’04.

UNM is also anxious to find out how well senior tailback DonTrell Moore has recovered from offseason surgery after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against Navy in the Emerald Bowl on Dec. 30.

Long says the offense is a strong point entering the seasonâ€â€? which is a mouthful, considering UNM’s defense is one of only three Division I-A teams to finish in the top 30 in the country the past five seasons (the other two: Oklahoma and Texas).

“Going into the season, we’ve got concerns about experience at safety, linebacker and kicker,” Long says. “That’s not a lot of positions.”

The starting experience junior quarterback Kole McKamey gained last season is invaluable, Long says.

Obviously, UNM must avoid injury� the Lobos were 1-4 last season when either McKamey or Moore missed parts of or all of games because of injury.

The team has experience on its side, with 11 fifth-year seniors as starters. The fifth-year seniors are vying to play in their fourth consecutive bowl game, an unheard of opportunity in Lobos football lore.

“We have a lot of players at key positions that have been here for five years,” fifth-year senior linebacker Mike Mohoric says. “That’s the leadership this team needs to push through those times of adversity.”

The tools definitely seem in place for UNM to take that next stepâ€? physically, mentally … whatever.

After three years of “therapy,” the Lobos say the time is now.

“We see it coming,” senior cornerback Gabriel Fulbright says. “We’ve been so close the last three years, like we’re at the edge of the cliff, about to jump. But we ain’t caught flight yet.

“We know exactly what to do now. We’re ready.”

CHICAGO WONDERS: CAN CURSE-BUSTING CATCH ON?

Sun Sentinel – Apr 3, 2005 – Mike Berardino – Watching the Boston Red Sox end the Curse of the Bambino last October, Ryne Sandberg couldn’t help but smile.

You know Sandberg as the former Chicago Cubs second baseman, maybe the greatest ever to play the position. You probably remember his disappointments in the National League playoffs of 1984 and 1989, how even the great Sandberg was unable to return the Cubs to the World Series for the first time since 1945.

But you probably didn’t know Sandberg has been a closet Red Sox fan all these years.

“I had great feelings [watching Boston win],” Sandberg says during a break at Cubs spring training in Mesa, Ariz. “In a lot of ways, I’ve been a Red Sox fan for a number of years, just pulling for the underdog. I just wanted to see them win finally, which I can relate to here with the Cubs.”

Although the Red Sox hadn’t won the World Series since 1918, Cubs fans have been suffering even longer. Their last championship came in 1908, when it was Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance around the infield and Teddy Roosevelt in the White House.

Their most recent tease came two years ago, when they were five outs from besting the Marlins for the National League pennant with Mark Prior on the mound. Before you could say “Steve Bartman,” the whole crazy notion of a Cubs championship collapsed beneath the weight of history and a stirring Marlins comeback.

Wasn’t a part of Sandberg saddened the Red Sox got to the mountaintop before his beloved Cubbies? That the Curse of the Bambino was toppled before Chicagoans could lay waste to the Curse of the Billy Goat once and for all?

Apparently not.

“I thought it was great to watch,” Sandberg says. “I had a good feeling about it. To me it kind of brings hope to the Cubs getting to the World Series and winning the World Series. It can happen. If you’ve got the right guys, and you’ve got them all playing like a bunch of wild guys like the Red Sox were doing, it works. That brings optimism for me.”

Extending the thought, perhaps the entire city of Chicago should be more hopeful than ever in light of Boston’s Band of Idiots’ unlikely success. Baseball’s second-longest championship drought belongs to the pride of the South Side, where the White Sox haven’t won since 1917.

There have been five postseason appearances since Pants Rowland managed those Sox to the title, but each — most recently a three-game sweep by Seattle in 2000 — has ended in disappointment. Most painfully, 1919 brought the Black Sox Scandal in which eight players were exiled from the sport for their role in fixing a World Series loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

One city. One sport. Two franchises. Two excruciating waits for a modern-day championship.

Maybe that’s why White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen admits he, too, was uplifted by Boston’s comeback from a 3-0 American League Championship Series hole against the hated New York Yankees and subsequent four-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.

“My reaction was that it was a great thing for baseball, and the way they did it was great, too,” says Guillen, a White Sox shortstop on their 1993 playoff team. “The Red Sox were down and out. All of a sudden they wake up and win.”

To hear Guillen talk, Boston’s victory stirred him into heightened consciousness as well. You can almost picture him sitting bolt upright on his couch in Miami and realizing his destiny was at hand.

“It made me feel like, `Wow, it’s time for us to turn around and do it,'” Guillen says. “It’s just something that you look up and say, `Wow, now it’s the White Sox’s and Cubs’ opportunity.’ We should look at that as an inspiration.”

Breeding confidence

The theory is calling “modeling,” and it has nothing to do with a handful of Red Sox players showing up this season on Queer Eye For the Straight Guy.

According to the concept, which originated in the 1960s with psychologist Albert Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy, the success of one team or individual can improve the confidence and, in turn, the results of another.

Dr. John F. Murray, a South Florida-based sports psychologist, says he “absolutely” would use the theory if he were hired to assist either Chicago baseball team.

“With modeling we can see somebody else like the Red Sox who have finally broken down that door,” Murray says. “We then say, `Hey, I’m a White Sox person. If the Red Sox can do it, now I can do it.’ Confidence can come from others if you do it right.”

Murray has helped expedite psychological breakthroughs before. He helped tennis pro Vince Spadea overcome a 21-match losing streak and rise to his highest career ranking.

In 1997, Murray and Dr. James Bowman, now working with the U.S. Olympic program, conducted regular sessions at Washington State University. The Cougars tennis team spent three months doing mental imagery in an effort to end a long losing streak against its archrival Washington Huskies.

When the breakthrough finally came, the Cougars won by the exact score the team had envisioned.

That same year, the Washington State football team, which also worked with Bowman and Murray, reached the Rose Bowl for the first time in 67 years.

“When you talk about losing streaks or breaking down barriers, you’re talking about the whole concept,” Murray says. “It can almost be like a slump, but a historical slump. How do you break that wall?”

The answer comes from within, although Murray cautions every player on a given team could have a unique set of mental challenges.

“You have to believe in yourself,” Murray says. “It’s critically important. It’s not the only thing that’s important. You also need talent. But confidence is a component that’s relevant.”

`It wasn’t us’

Not everyone buys into this psychological connection between the two cities, or at least not into the notion that the Red Sox’s breakthrough somehow makes the quest more attainable for the Cubs or White Sox.

Cubs pitcher Greg Maddux, who returned to the club in 2004 after 11 years in Atlanta, says watching the Red Sox win was “no different than being in Atlanta when the Yankees won. It wasn’t us.”

Says White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko: “I don’t draw anything from it other than the Red Sox are off the hook. They don’t have to worry about people getting on them anymore or calling them whatever. I guess it just moves to the next couple teams that are in line that haven’t won in a long time, which would be us and the Cubs.”

Former Cubs television analyst and White Sox pitcher Steve Stone downplays the connection as well.

“I think the Red Sox winning has absolutely no bearing on what the Cubs will do,” Stone says. “I just don’t really believe in curses and I don’t believe when curses are broken, it helps other people. It certainly helped the Red Sox, but so did having Pedro [Martinez] and [Derek] Lowe come on and adding [Curt] Schilling to that group. They had a very good team who got hot at the right time and refused to quit, but there’s no bearing on the Cubs.”

He smiles and points down the hall toward the Cubs’ clubhouse.

“If Kerry Wood and Mark Prior go down the first week, how do you think it will affect the Cubs?” he says. “A lot more than the Red Sox winning will.”

Personnel key

Indeed, the fragile co-aces of the Cubs pitching staff have spent much of the spring battling arm problems. No amount of Beantown idiocy would likely lift the Cubs past that sort of hardship.

Along those same lines, trading Sammy Sosa and losing Moises Alou via free agency this offseason wouldn’t seem to bring the Lovable Losers any closer to ending their nearly centurylong drought. At best, the Cubs are expected to have a ferocious battle with the St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros for the top spot in the National League Central.

Moreover, the White Sox must open the season without their best hitter, Frank Thomas, still recovering from offseason ankle surgery. Most preseason forecasts picked the Minnesota Twins to win their fourth straight American League Central title, with some placing the White Sox below the Cleveland Indians and even the improving Detroit Tigers in a relatively weak division.

But that doesn’t mean people in Chicago can’t dream. The Red Sox breakthrough was that significant.

“I guess this is one of those things over the years: Boston and the Cubs haven’t won in so long, people just tie the two together,” says Cubs Hall of Fame outfielder Billy Williams. “They got rid of the Curse of the Bambino, so we should get rid of the Curse of the Goat and all that kind of stuff. I know this: When you’ve got good ballplayers, no curse could stop you.”

But does Boston winning make things any easier for those in the Second City?

“It depends how you look at it,” Sandberg says. “It can bring hope or now maybe it can bring more of a spotlight and more pressure. It all depends how it’s perceived and how it’s taken. But I look at it as a positive, as there is hope. Now it’s the Cubs and the White Sox, both in the same city, that haven’t been to the World Series in a long time.”

Count Cubs superscout Gary Hughes, one of the early Marlins architects, as a proponent of the “modeling” theory. He sees no negatives whatsoever in the Boston victory.

“If there was doubt before, there can be no doubt now,” Hughes says with his trademark chuckle. “The Red Sox have done it. We still haven’t. So it’s our turn. All those people saying, `It’s never going to happen.’ Well, it just happened. Why not again?”

Then there’s Guillen, who admittedly has daydreamed about a championship parade in the Windy City and what it would mean to his life.

“Having played there for so many years, being one of the biggest White Sox fans in the history of baseball, that’s one of my dreams,” Guillen says. “I told my wife and my family, if we win the World Series in Chicago, I’ll quit managing baseball.”

Wouldn’t that be pretty drastic?

“I’ll be running for mayor in Chicago,” Guillen says. “Whoever wins first is going to own the city.”

Dr. John F. Murray is a sports psychologist and clinical psychologist providing sports psychology and counseling services based in Palm Beach, Florida.