Posts Tagged ‘sports psychology’

VIOLENCE IN SPORTS SURVEY RESULTS

JohnFMurray.com – Dec 17, 2004 – Feature – As Discussed on BBC Radio by Host Anita Anand & Dr. John F. Murray.

Thank you very much to all who participated in the Violence in Sports Survey. You have spoken and your comments have been tabulated in this report which aims to help improve sports by first understanding the situation better. I asked you to comment about what you felt was the main CAUSE and SOLUTION to the sports violence that erupted three weeks ago during the Indiana Pacers/Detroit Pistons game now known as The Basketbrawl.

I received an outstanding response to this survey as 376 of you emailed back. Many were very long and thoughtful letters offering multiple causes and solutions. The makeup of the population included one NBA coach and player, three NCAA basketball coaches, one NFL coach and two NFL players, seven NCAA Division I athletic directors, 21 professional athletes from a variety of other sports, and a couple hundred junior and recreational athletes and fans.

From your responses, it soon became clear that you felt this was an extremely complex issue with multiple causes and multiple solutions. As such, I carefully recorded each and every listed cause and solution and arrived at the Top 10 Causes and Top 8 Solutions to the problem as well as an otherâ category for less popular responses. I calculated the percentages to show you how frequent specific responses were, and have them listed below in order of most frequent to least frequent.

CAUSES

(1) POOR EDUCATION (24%): Athletes Today Receive Poor Education in the Areas of Character, Discipline, and Sportsmanship

(2) MONEY IN PRO SPORTS (20%): Excessive Money, Privilege, and Adoration of Pro Athletes Leads to Greater Self-Absorption and Less Responsible Behavior

(3) VIOLENT AND STRESSED SOCIETY (17%): Society Becoming More and More Violent, at War, and Collective Stress of 911

(4) FAN PROVOCATION AND RESTLESSNESS (16%): Fans Provocation of Players, and Fans Desire for More Stimulation

(5) SECURITY (5%) Poor Security in the Arena

(6) MEDIA (5%): Media Attention for Fans and the Reality TV Era

(7) AGGRESSIVENESS OF SPORT (5%): Player Frustration, Testosterone, and the inherent Aggressive Nature of Sports

(8) VIDEO GAMES (1%): Video Games Teach Violence

(9) FAN FRUSTRATION (1%): Frustration and Jealousy Among Fans

(10)Â RON ARTEST (1%): Ron Artest is a Unique Case

(11) OTHER (5%)

SOLUTIONS

(1) MORE CHARACTER EDUCATION (29%): Sportsmanship and Character Education Needs to be Better Developed and Implemented

(2) EXTREME DISCIPLINE ON PLAYERS (24%): Fines, suspension without pay, and much tougher standards on all players

(3) EXTREME DISCIPLINE ON FANS (21%): A range of suggested measures

4) MORE SPORT PSYCHOLOGY INVOLVEMENT (14%): Sport Psychologists Need to be More Involved with Athletes and Teams to Better Anticipate and Resolve Problems

(5) MEDIA (3%): Need to Return to Promoting and Worshiping Real Heroes who are True Role Models

(6) DISCIPLINE ON TEAM MANAGEMENT (2%): Fines on Team Owners and Franchises Whose Players Act out as Incentive for Change

(7)SECURITY (1%): Better Security in the Arenas

(8) ALCOHOL (1%) Eliminate Alcohol at Games

(8) FUND PROGRAMS FROM FINES (1%): Use the Money Collected in Fines to Directly Fund Programs of Education for Athletes, Teams and Leagues

Here are my thoughts based on the quality and proportion of your responses:

1. This is a very popular, complex and multifaceted issue.

2. You perceive lack of education as the biggest contributor to the violence and more education as the biggest potential solution.

3. You call for far tougher standards and more severe penalties for all the parties involved including players, fans, and team management.

4. You support the greater involvement of sport psychologists as a viable contribution toward helping install preventive measures and develop solutions too.

5. You call for a return to family values and sportsmanship.

Feel free to send me any more of your thoughts.

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

Sports Psychology in Sports Illustrated

Sports Illustrated – Dr. John F. Murray Profile – Sports Psychologist – October 14, 2003 – Work in Sports Feature by Mike McNulty – What started as a routine sideline interview after a typical preseason NFL game between the Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons, quickly turned into a serious, heart-felt discussion of mental illness. There Ricky Williams stood talking about the social anxiety disorder he recently overcame. It was unusual — but incredibly positive — to see a tough-as-nails, muscular football star admit to something so personal. And Ricky Williams isn’t the only one.

All across the country, the stigma of mental illness is slowly disappearing. As a result, more and more athletes are willing to discuss their feelings with a professional.

One of those well-respected confidants is Dr. John Murray, PhD, who treats NFL players, professional golfers and professional tennis players.

Interestingly, Murray didn’t set out to be a sports psychologist when he started his career. “I traveled the world coaching tennis,” he says. But he saw something glaring while on the road watching matches.

Seeing how critically important the mental game was to success, and how few athletes trained their minds properly, I felt this was the perfect “next step” in my career,he says. “I wanted to do what I was doing in coaching but expand it to a much broader application for all people and athletes in all sports. Sport psychology was a small but growing specialty within psychology and the sport sciences.”

Along with a BA in psychology from Loyola University, Murray went south to Florida and began piling up degrees along with invaluable experience.

“I completed all my graduate work at the University of Florida in the 1990s. Got two masters degrees (Sport Psychology and Clinical Psychology) and a PhD (Clinical Psychology). The 1997 national champion Florida Gators football team was the subject of my doctoral dissertation.”

Now he needed an internship to apply his skills and gain some real world experience.

“I did my clinical and sport psychology internship at Washington State University and a post doctoral fellowship at Florida International University prior to opening my private practice.”

That practice, which is based in Florida and also includes non-athletes, has blossomed in recent years. Through his professional commitment, Murray’s schedule keeps getting more and more busy.

“My day typically involves seeing clients in my office and talking with them on the phone,”he says. “For many athletes this is the main way I work with them–using phone and email follow-up–as they travel throughout the world.”

“I always start with a new client by doing a full evaluation to see where their mental skills are, what they are like as a person, what they are dealing with. Then I devise a plan to help them reach their goals more effectively.”

Because of his success, Murray has slowly become one of the better-known voices in the sports psychology community.

“Other things I do are write articles for magazines, conduct workshops, and speak at various engagements,”he says. “I also do a fair number of interviews for newspapers, magazines, and TV occasionally. Most recently, I was called to do interviews for BBC radio, CBS national radio, NPR, Bloomberg Radio, ESPN The Magazine and Sports Illustrated.”

Another big element of his job is attending sporting events.

“I get out to the athletic site quite often. I spend time on the sidelines, on the court and on the course to see the athlete in their natural environment.”

Murray says one of the drawbacks (or at least issue to keep in mind when considering the field) is the constant hours.

“I am available 24/7 to my clients so it is definitely not a 9 to 5 job!”

Yet the benefits, according to Murray, are endless.

“It’s exciting work helping people achieve more success,” he says. “And the great thing about working with high performers such as athletes is that you can actually see the performance. Just turn on the TV on Sunday.”

How many people can see such direct results? Hey, there goes my client rushing for 467 yards today. Looks like the sessions are working!

Of course, there’s also travel.

Along with visiting clients and athletic sites, Murray says, “I went to London twice this year to do workshops. The cell phone gets a lot of use.”

Perhaps one of the most intriguing things about sports psychology is that it’s still emerging. There’s plenty of room for newcomers to join and enrich the profession.

Murray’s overall advice to those considering a career is this: “To be a sport psychologist you have to wear many hats and credentials are extremely important. I believe the only way to do it is to become a licensed psychologist first, as the bare minimum level of training. You need to know what makes people tick, how they break down, all of the assessment and treatment training.

But a license in psychology is not enough. You also have to have studied the sport sciences–the physical bases of sport–the movement sciences, the biology, the physiology etc. Then, and perhaps the hardest part to acquire, is the hands-on training by another qualified sport psychologist. I was fortunate to train under a current Olympic sport psychologist when I did my internship. It’s a long road with little gratification and a lot of hard work. But now I’m professionally satisfied and challenged, invigorated by what I do, and constantly learning. You never know enough. Performance and competition is always changing so you have to be able to go with the flow, make adjustments with athletes on the fly, and treat clinical problems too when they come up.”

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

Using the Weapons of Sport Psychology in Tennis

Mental Equipment Syndicated Column – July 1, 1995 – Dr. John F. Murray – Let’s talk optimal performance. Whether you play or coach tennis professionally, or just slug it out on the weekends, there is a wealth of exciting news available for you from the world of sport psychology. Are you keeping up-to-date on the fascinating developments in this field? If not, you are depriving yourself of key tools that would raise your tennis expertise to the next level.

Sport psychology was defined by Singer in 1978 as “the science of psychology applied to sport.” Sport psychologists provide two major types of services: (1) performance enhancement strategies, and (2) counseling for a variety of issues affecting the athlete. Although not all tennis players have access to a qualified sport psychologist, much can be learned from the available research.

Psychology as a scientific discipline began in 1879, making it one of the youngest of all sciences. Sport psychology is younger still, with only 30 years of extensive research. In fact, it wasn’t until 1985 that the Division of Exercise and Sport Psychology was recognized as a subspecialty of the American Psychological Association. Although still in its infancy, this field already has much to offer. Many research findings have still not been communicated to the player and coach in an easily available format. Much knowledge is just waiting to be tapped! It is my opinion that the complete tennis player and coach of the 21st century will require all the benefits sport psychology has to offer to stay on top.

In this introductory article, I have briefly outlined several areas involved and services provided by the sport psychologist. Look for future articles to explore specific techniques to optimize your performance on the tennis court.

Let’s look at a few domains where sport psychology plays an active role:

(1) Touring professionals and coaches
(2) National team programs
(3) Sport organizations
(4) Youth development programs
(5) Student players and coaches
(6) Families of athletes
(7) Players coping with injuries
(8) Recreational programs

Here are some typical services provided by the sport psychologist:

(1) Imagery training
(2) Arousal management/attentional focus
(3) Substance abuse management
(4) Eating disorders/weight management
(5) Relaxation training
(6) Motivational strategies
(7) Competitive pressure management
(8) Programs to cope with retirement from sport

In closing, sport psychology has much to offer tennis players and coaches at all levels. If you are looking for a competitive edge, or trying to help your players achieve at their maximum level, turn to the science of sport psychology!