Posts Tagged ‘John F Murray’

Basketball

Just Received: “After having micro fracture surgery on my knee, I knew it would be a long road to get my my body back into playing shape. I also knew that to complete my total recovery, I needed to get assistance from a mental coach. Dr. Murray helped me regain my focus after being out of the game for a long period of time. I used Dr. Murray’s techniques of positive imagery and felt the benefits immediately. It helped my game tremendously.”

Tracy McGrady, 7-Time NBA All Star & 2 Time NBA Scoring Leader, Detroit Pistons

Dr. Murray loves basketball and considers Bill Russell the greatest player ever for his amazing skills and contribution to so many NBA championships. Michael Jordan is a close second!

Dr. Murray has worked with division I teams and players, and NBA players. He has consulted with players privately, given pre-game speeches in the locker room, and consulted with the coaching staff. The mental game can no longer be ignored in basketball.

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OFFSIDES BEYOND THE GAME – The Pregame Speeches

Tampa Tribune – January 31, 2009 – Brett McMurphy – Knute Rockne pleaded to his Notre Dame Fighting Irish to “win one for the Gipper.”

John “Bluto” Blutarsky used a much different approach, asking his Delta Tau Chi members if it was over “when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.”

Although both were successful, neither motivational speech has been uttered in a Super Bowl locker room, not that we’re aware of, anyway.

So what does a head coach actually say to his team minutes before they play in the biggest game of their lives?

It all depends on who you ask.

SHULA’S SUPER BOWLS: III, VI, VII, VIII, XVII, XIX

No one has been a head coach in more Super Bowls than Don Shula. So what better expert on pregame Super Bowl speeches than the coaching legend who took six teams to pro football’s ultimate game?

“What you try to do is do the things that got you to where you are,” Shula said. “You don’t want to be someone that you’re not. The thing I tried to do is summarize what it took to get there.”

Shula also reminded his team there will be only one winner.

“Once you reach the Super Bowl, both teams are talked about during the week,” Shula said. “But when the game is over, [the media] only go to one locker room. I told them to make sure it was our locker room.”

As a head coach, Shula was in the winning locker room twice and in the losing locker room four times. After losing Super Bowl VI, Shula delivered the same message to his team from the first day of practice until minutes before Super Bowl VII kicked off.

“We lost the year before, so my message from the beginning of training camp was that our goal wasn’t to get to the Super Bowl,” Shula said. “Our goal was to win it.”

His 1972 Miami Dolphins did just that. The Dolphins defeated the Washington Redskins 14-7 in Super Bowl VII. Not only did the Dolphins make good on Shula’s goal, they also capped the only perfect season in NFL history.

SUPER BOWL XXXV: BALTIMORE 34, N.Y. GIANTS 7

After the Baltimore Ravens set the NFL record for fewest points allowed during the 2000 regular season, Coach Brian Billick knew if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. His message before the Ravens ran onto the Raymond James Stadium turf for Super Bowl XXXV was brief.

“He said to approach this like any other game,” said Peter Boulware, a four-time Pro Bowl selection and the 1997 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year from Florida State.

“We took a very businesslike approach. That’s what helped us. We didn’t get tight. We just worked the same way.”

Despite the Ravens’ dominating defense, they still had their doubters. At least, they believed there were doubters as they used the always popular no-respect card.

“No matter how good you are, you always think you’re being disrespected,” Boulware said. “You just have to find one person, one writer, one broadcaster that doesn’t think you can win. And then all of sudden it’s no one is giving us a chance.

“And it’s funny looking back at it, because even if it isn’t true and you do get the respect, it still motivates you to do better.”

SUPER BOWL XXXVII: TAMPA BAY 48, OAKLAND 21

Ryan Nece couldn’t play in the Bucs’ only Super Bowl. He was sidelined for the 2002 season with a left knee injury in late October. But Nece was in San Diego in the locker room before the Bucs’ historic win under Jon Gruden.

“Coach Gruden always was a great pregame [speech] guy. He was always good,” Nece said.

“I remember him saying, ‘This is the time of your life,’ and, ‘Go out and take what’s ours. It’s destiny. Just go out there and take what is ours.’

“We all believed in our mind we would win the game. That’s what he preached all week, telling the guys to really enjoy every moment of it. Take in the national anthem, take it all in. It’s the greatest stage.”

Nece said the key for any speech is respect.

“There’s definitely a place [for a motivational speech], but it’s all how much the players respect the coach,” Nece said. “If guys are just out there and don’t respect the coach, they’re not going to ‘win one for the Gipper’ or anything like that.”

SUPER BOWL XX: CHICAGO 46, NEW ENGLAND 10

Coach Mike Ditka didn’t wait until Sunday to provide his Super Bowl pregame speech. He delivered it to the Bears the night before the game.

“I gave the speech on Saturday night,” Ditka said. “Basically I said this was not about me and not about the city of Chicago. I told them this is the one memory you will have of each other for the rest of your lives.”

And what a memory it was: The Bears danced all over the Patriots in what was then the biggest rout in Super Bowl history.

“I told them you won’t remember the money, but you’ll remember the championships,” Ditka said. “Because it was a special group of guys that bonded and made something special happen. That 1985 team was a very unique group of men.”

NOLL’S SUPER BOWLS: IX, X, XIII, XIV

The Steel Curtain. Lambert. Bradshaw. Harris. Swann. Bleier. Stallworth. With that core group there probably wasn’t much Pittsburgh coach Chuck Noll needed to say before each of the Steelers’ four Super Bowl trips in a six-year span in the 1970s.

“It’s a coach-by-coach thing,” former Steelers wide receiver Lynn Swann said. “Tony Dungy, who had his team in the Super Bowl, I don’t know what kind of speech Tony gives, but when you look at his demeanor you don’t see a fire-and-brimstone type of guy. You see a guy that’s very focused that can communicate without having to shout and scream. We can all imagine Bill Cowher and what that locker room might have been like before Super Bowl XL or Super Bowl XXX.

“Chuck was a very level, low-key kind of guy, not a fire-and-brimstone type of guy. Very directed in terms of what he wanted to get done. We didn’t get those type of speeches from Chuck Noll.

“But we didn’t lose a Super Bowl, either.”

THE SPORTS PSYCHOLOGIST

For the past 25 years, John F. Murray has been involved in the motivational aspect of sports. As a sports-performance psychologist, he has worked with athletes on performance enhancement, mental health, general psychology, fitness, wellness and lifestyle. Murray, who lives in Palm Beach, has been a licensed psychologist in Florida since 1999.

Murray said the pregame pep talk or motivational speech at the NFL level can be very effective – or disastrous.

“I think it’s never going to go away,” Murray said. “Certain coaches have a certain way of saying the right thing at the right time or the wrong thing at the wrong time. You can’t discount the impact of a leader.”

Murray said the pregame speech is “an inexact science.”

“The team that gets too hyped has a disadvantage in the Super Bowl,” Murray said. “One of the more traditional theories is when you get too pumped up, you don’t perform well. I think the lower-key approach at the Super Bowl, a more cerebral, intelligent approach, might be the more effective approach.”

“Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?”

Photo credit: The Associated Press

Photo: Mike Ditka’s Bears made lasting memories, just as he wanted them to.

Photo credit: Paramount Pictures

Photo: John Belushi had quite a way with words in “Animal House.”

Photo: Knute Rockne

Photo credit: McClatchy/Tribune

Photo: Jon Gruden told his Bucs to “take what’s ours.”

Photo: Brian Billick

Photo: Shula had a lot of practice making Super Bowl speeches. He coached in six and won two.

Photo credit: Miami Herald

Photo: Don Shula got the ride of his life after his undefeated Dolphins beat the Redskins in January 1973.

Photo: Quarterback Terry Bradshaw was one of many great players Chuck Noll had on his Pittsburgh teams of the 1970s.

Analyzing the Mind of Madoff

Palm Beach – February 16, 2009 – Bernard Madoff has made quite a splash here on the island of Palm Beach. How could a man deceive his friends so badly and over such a long long period of time? Knowing something about psychotherapy is helpful, and Madoff fits the profile of a classic psychopath.

Enjoy the article published in Palm Beach magazine with photos of Madoff’s homes in New York and Palm Beach, and a description of his personality from the perspective of a clinical psychologist. You can read this Palm Beach magazine article about the mind of Madoff at this link

Fitness Magazine Covers Dr. Murray’s Walk Therapy

Palm Beach – February 16, 2009 – First it was the ancient Greeks who did it all the time, then the Wall Street Journal and National Post of Canada wrote about what Dr. Murray was doing with clients in Palm Beach, and in this month’s March 2009 issue of Fitness Magazine, Holly Corbett talks with Dr. John and espouses the benefits of mental health professionals walking and exercising with their clients!

You can read this Fitness Magazine article about a very healthy and therapeutic activity at this link

Dr. Murray to Teach as Adjunct Professor at Argosy

February 16, 2009 – Dr. John F. Murray, licensed clinical and sports psychologist in Palm Beach, Florida was recently hired to teach a graduate level course, “Foundations of Mental Health” beginning in early March for graduate students of Argosy University in Sarasota, Florida. The course is mostly taught online but the adjunct professor meets face to face with students on three consecutive days toward the end of the semester too. He also contracted with Argosy as an SME (subject matter expert) to develop an upcoming course with a sports psychology theme, but details of this course are confidential until the course has been created.

Dr. Murray on the Radio

December 9 John F. Murray Ph.D., Sports Psychologist and Author

Bad time for Ramirez to push reject button on Dodgers

LA Daily News – Jill Painter – Feb 4, 2009 – Manny Ramirez scoffed at $25 million.  He needed only one day to reject the latest offer from the Dodgers, aone-year deal in which Ramirez would become the second-highest paid player in baseball.

If that’s not good enough, what is?

Ramirez is a rock star in Los Angeles for powering the Dodgers to their first postseason series victory in 20years. The Dodgers couldn’t keep their shelves stocked with enough Manny wigs and skull caps.

But a lot has changed since Ramirez lumbered around left field in Dodger Stadium with those dreadlocks flapping on No. 99.

Many of those fans who scooped up expensive Dodgers jerseys and playoff tickets have undoubtedly lost their jobs and their homes in this unstable economy. They’ve watched the bottom fall out of their retirement accounts and stocks. They’ve delayed retirement plans.For $25 million, 50$500,000 homes could be saved from foreclosure in California.

Ramirez’s inability to run out some grounders and lackadaisical attitude wore on teammates and fans in Boston.

Money might crush his love affair in Los Angeles.

The Dodgers were willing to pay Ramirez about $154,320 per regular-season game, and Ramirez wasn’t buying it. How much more does he need?

“Everybody is conscious today about being modest,” sports psychologist John F. Murray.

“You want to keep things in perspective. Everyone is struggling and when a player of that status
(rejects that offer), it’s naturally going to create some dissent among people that might be enthusiastic about him.”Privately, this is a business, and he could get more money. What’s wrong with that?”

Ramirez’s contract negotiations are anything but private. Ramirez and agent Scott Boras never officially responded to a two-year, $45 million offer from the Dodgers, either.

Yet the Dodgers, who need power in the middle of the lineup, are still interested in signing him. They also need pitching.

A soon-to-be 37-year-old outfielder known for his hot bat and not the ground he can cover in the outfield is digging in his heels and holding out for more. When spring training starts, Ramirez might still be waiting. He has no other known offers.

What’s a parent to tell their child? How do you explain that $25million isn’t good enough?

“We’re pretty straightforward,” said Sandra Shaikin, whose 12-year-old son, Sam, is a Dodgers fan. “I think it’s ridiculous turning down $25million when people are losing their jobs and starving. I know the economy and supply and demand. We explain this.”

Sandra’s son, Sam, couldn’t believe Ramirez didn’t accept the Dodgers’ offer. He’s a Ramirez enthusiast and has worn his wig, but he doesn’t get it.

“It was pretty dumb,” Sam Shaikin said. “I think they should’ve taken the offer. I don’t think anyone is going to sign him. They don’t want him for four years like he wants.”

Does Ramirez think he’s smarter than this sixth-grader?

Since Sam was in kindergarten, his father, John, has taken him out of school to go to Opening Day at Dodger Stadium. It’s a tradition.

Shaikin, who plays shortstop, catcher and pitcher for the Woodland Hills Sunrise Little League team, would give Ramirez more years for less money if he was running the Dodgers.

And if he was Ramirez, he’d sign for $25 million. First, he’d give some to charity. Then he’d buy a house, a car and provide for his parents and little sister.

“Well, because of the economy, he should be looking for less money and a better deal,” Sam said. “Last year with the Red Sox, he didn’t want to play for them anymore so he didn’t play his best. Teams don’t want that.”

And fans don’t want another superstar who’s insistent on ridiculous money.

It’s not the time.

After a Forgettable Loss, Terps Need Short Memory

Washington Post – Steve Yanda – January 27, 2009 – The visiting locker room at Cameron Indoor Stadium was open to reporters for roughly 10 minutes Saturday following the fourth-worst loss in Maryland men’s basketball history, more than twice as long as usual after a loss.

After falling to Duke by 41 points, Maryland Coach Gary Williams allowed his players to face questions no 18- to 22-year-old wants to answer. How did this happen? How did it get this bad? Where do you go from here?

Minutes earlier, Williams addressed similar queries. The Terrapins (13-6, 2-3 ACC) had two days to recover before tonight’s matchup at home against Boston College (15-6, 3-3), and the tone with which Williams approached his players in the aftermath of such a stinging defeat will play a crucial role in how his team will recover.

“That’s part of being an athlete and being a coach is getting embarrassed and then being able to come back,” Williams said Saturday. “That makes us 2-3 in the league, I believe, and we have two home games next week and we’ll be ready to play Tuesday night. At this point, that’s the key: getting back and being ready to play on Tuesday night.”

There are some, such as Boston College Coach Al Skinner, who believe — at least publicly — that the happenings in one game, no matter how positive or negative they may be, do not carry over into the next. And in an ideal, competitive environment, that theory would hold true.

But according to John F. Murray, a sports psychologist based in Palm Beach, Fla., the team aspect of basketball prevents its participants from completely setting aside previous outcomes when preparing for future opponents, even if doing so would serve them best.

“You have to realize that it is just one game and maybe not try to reverse it completely, but try to be more competitive,” Murray said. “That kind of an outcome, you weren’t even competitive. Something went terribly wrong. You can’t put that completely out of your mind, perhaps, but you have to focus on each game individually. I think all players are subject to thinking about the past, even though, ideally, you’re not supposed to. It probably does leave somewhat of a scar until you’re able to turn it around.”

Michigan State fell to then-No. 1 North Carolina by 35 points in Detroit on Dec. 3, a loss that left players and coaches feeling angry, concerned and embarrassed, according to Spartans associate head coach Mark Montgomery. But, Montgomery said, the coaches knew that employing a positive front when dealing with the players was their best chance at getting them to move beyond the defeat.

As soon as Michigan State’s bus returned to East Lansing, the Spartans held a team meeting in the locker room in which each player had to come up with a way in which the team could improve its performance. After an hour, the coaches left, but the players remained to talk among themselves. Montgomery knew then the staff had struck the proper chord.

“That’s the toughest thing as a coach,” Montgomery said. “You’ve got to figure out what tone you want to take with your guys — the hard approach or more of an understanding. I think we took more of an understanding approach, but we were firm that we’ve got to do this better or we didn’t do this.”

Montgomery acknowledged that while players should be unaffected by previous outings, their confidence — “swagger,” as he put it — can be shaken by a poor performance during a previous outing. A swift turnaround, then, is vital. Michigan State, currently ranked No. 9, won 11 straight games following the loss to North Carolina.

But that defeat came during nonconference season. Maryland was not so fortunate. In addition to having less time to correct their flaws, the Terrapins must also prepare for a higher caliber of opponent.

Murray said that “it can often be helpful to have a good whipping every now and then” because it forces coaches and players to be more accountable. But that implies that a lopsided loss carries at least some weight into future endeavors, a notion Skinner rejects.

Skinner said Sunday he would not address the Terrapins’ previous outing with his team in regard to how it might affect their mentality tonight.

“The fact that it’s a league game and we’re going on the road, we’ve just got to make sure we’re prepared,” Skinner said. “The last game has no impact on the next game. That’s my feeling about it. I don’t look at it either way, whether it works for us or works against us. It’s the same.”

Except it’s not, not for Maryland, anyway. Williams said yesterday he was “very positive” in dealing with his players after the Duke loss. He said he reminded them of how well he thought they had played in their two previous road games and implored them not to dwell on one horrific performance.

When asked whether he thought, at least subconsciously, that the Duke loss would carry over to tonight, Williams lowered his eyes and responded briskly.

“It can’t,” he said. “It can’t. That’s not an option.”

Team’s ‘perfect’ streak should be dunked

More than 30 years ago, as a short, scrawny, Afro-wearing kid at Gonzaga College High School, I earned a spot on the freshman basketball team. Putting on the purple-and-white uniform was the highlight of the year. Because on the court, it was brutal.

We had 18 games against ninth-graders at other local schools. We lost all 18.

We got blown out. We got close enough that a made free throw or timely steal would have ended the streak. It got to the point that  we sensed defeat about the same time we finished our layup drills. It didn’t help that my school competed in the same league with DeMatha and Mackin, two perennial D.C. powerhouses. In the process, I started feeling “less thanâ€?: not measuring up, not self-confident, not competent.

The Lady Spartans must know what I’m talking about.  They’re stuck in a similar funk of full-court failure. This year’s squad has gone 0-fer: In 20 games, the players have racked up 20 L’s. Only seven games remain in the regular season. Second-year coach Tara Owens didn’t return my call to the sports department requesting comment. However, in a Virginian-Pilot article last month, she acknowledged some of the challenges.

Owens threw four players off the squad last year, and two others quit . This year’s squad has five freshmen and four sophomores, so they’re relatively raw. There’s not a lot of height among the players. And the team journeyed to some “guaranteedâ€? road games — guaranteed to bring in money for NSU’s program, but also likely guaranteed to end in another loss.  At the current pace, the squad would relish a chance to equal its five  wins from the 2007-08 campaign.

Yet, Owens still sounded optimistic in the Jan. 15 article: “As long as I can see individuals improving every day, that’s all I can ask.â€?

That’s the proper attitude, said John F.  Murray, a clinical and sports psychologist based in Palm Beach, Fla., who works with pro and amateur athletes. “I’d want to know how hard they worked,â€? Murray told me in a phone interview, after I explained NSU’s plight. “Are they focused? Are they being resilient, not getting down when the other team goes on a streak?â€?

That sounds fine if you’re a Little League team or some high school squad. I asked  whether that  is sufficient on the collegiate and professional levels, where the stakes are higher, reputations and jobs are on the line, and everything is under the media spotlight.

Sure it is, Murray said. Players and coaches need to improve measurable factors — number of turnovers, crisp passes, rebounds — that can lead to intangible rewards, such as teamwork, comebacks,  leadership. Even just having fun is worth playing.

“You have to let go of the conscious fear of winning or losing, and focus on what you have to do right now,â€? he said.  It’s not life and death, after all, if NSU goes winless this season.

It sure would be nice to win, though. There’s a feeling of accomplishment, success, euphoria when you do. Maybe the Lady Spartans can turn it around this afternoon against Delaware State;  last month, NSU lost a close one to DSU. There’s always next season. I should know: By the time I was a senior in high school, playing on the varsity, my basketball team ended up 16-14.

So here’s my Valentine’s Day wish for NSU: a turnaround, soon, in the team’s fortunes.

The Boss won’t mind that show of affection.

Roger Chesley is associate editor of The Pilot’s editorial page

Are Sports Still Alive in this Economy?

SPECIAL REPORT FROM DR. JOHN F MURRAY: Are Sports Still Alive in these Tough Economic Times?

It’s been one of the most exciting weeks ever for sports, especially here in Florida. The Miami Dolphins won the AFC East after a 1-15 mark last year. The Florida Gators football team grabbed its second national championships in three years, making this author and all of Gator Nation extremely proud. But is all this sports hype justified in a time when the economy is tanking, shops are closing, and people are looking desperately for work? Read on …

Newsday and the Chicago Tribune: See the article in today’s Newsday and Chicago Tribune after I had a nice talk with John Jeansonne about the need for even more frivolity in sports

Florida Times Union: Mark Woods and I engaged in a similar discussion a few days earlier and you can find it here

Irish Tennis’ On the Line: Other nations are playing even more sports and learning about sports psychology. See my new article in Ireland’s top tennis publication, “On the Line” about sports psychology for kids

Speaking Engagements: I’ve been invited to deliver more speeches than ever recently. The consensus seems to be that sports should thrive even more in times of economic downturn as it serves a vital need in society to keep our spirits up. It was a pleasure this week to speak to the Palm Beach Flager Rotary meeting about coping with stress in these tough financial times. After the speech, I received the following endorsement from Stephen Millier, and thank him greatly for the invite and the quote:

John F Murray delivered a captivating talk at the Palm Beach Flagler Rotary breakfast meeting.
In these uncertain times, Stress was the topic of the day, John covered the topic in an interactive
manner engaging the entire group and leading to a lively discussion. We hope to have John F
Murray speak to us again. Stephen Miller, Speaker Chairperson, Palm Beach Rotary, January, 2009

It was also fun to deliver separate talks this week to almost 300 golfers and 30 tennis players at the Ibis Golf and Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens. I’ll be in touch soon with those details. Keep your schedules free for our February 21 workshop in Princeton, New Jersey. Contact me for details about that half day sports psychology seminar.

In sum, sports are not only surviving … they are … well … like what Joe Dimaggio represents in the song line “where have you gone Joe Dimaggo” … what we often turn our “lonely eyesâ€? to first in our times of greatest need.

All the Best!
John F. Murray, PhD
139 North County Road Suite 18C
Palm Beach, Florida 33480
Tel: 561-596-9898
Fax: 561-805-8662
www.JohnFMurray.com

Dr. Murray’s “high performance psychology” helps people in a variety of challenging situations in business, sports, academics and life. He is a best-selling author & columnist, and a frequent speaker and seminar leader. His commentary appears almost daily in the media. For example, Dr. Murray recently contributed to the Boston Globe, NY Times, LA Daily News, and Newsday, and he appeared as an expert on Fox Television, MSNBC and ABC Good Morning America.