Archive for the ‘News & Events’ Category

Video of Dr. John F Murray as Panelist on CBS 12 Show “Beyond the Game” with Rick Horrow

December 12, 2009 – Palm Beach, Florida – Sports psychologist Dr. John F. Murray served as a panelist on the new South Florida television show hosted by Toyota called “Beyond the Game,” produced by Ben Becker and hosted by Rick Horrow on CBS 12 and airing at 7:30pm on Saturdays. Horrow is the leading expert on the business of sports and was the sports business analyst for CNN and the FOX family of media properties including FOXSports.com, FOX Sports Radio, and the FOX Business Channel. Click here for the entire show.

In the December 12 show, Murray appeared alongside former NFL player and radio personality Troy Stradford and ex-NFL player Rick Davis. Issues discussed included the Tiger Woods scandal, Rooney rule in college, home field advantage in football and the pressure to go undefeated on Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

More and more media outlets are recognizing the significance in society of sports psychology.

Dr. John F Murray Speaks with Jeff DeForrest and Lesley Visser about Tiger Woods on FOX Sports Radio

Sports Psychology Radio – December 18, 2009 – FOX Sports Radio 640AM South Florida – Hear clinical and sports psychologist Dr. John F. Murray’s interviewed by broadcasting legend and pro football Hall of Fame inductee Lesley Visser and longtime radio talk show host Jeff DeForrest on the Friday morning drive to work as they discuss the Tiger Woods scandal, the death of NFL player Chris Henry, and more. This was Murray’s fourth appearance on FOX Sports Radio with Jeff and Lesley.

Later in the show, hear this brief and funny one minute segment in which Lesley teases Jeff that he needs Dr. John F Murray to move into his apartment.

I hope you have enjoyed this radio clip on the topic of clinical and sports psychology.

Might Tiger Woods Morph into the Bad Boy of Golf Now?

Reuters, Times of India – December 12, 2009 – Tiger Woods is making a wise move by taking a break from the sport but faces major challenges when he returns, sports psychologists said on Saturday.

Woods has announced an “indefinite” break from golf and admitted being unfaithful to his wife after a series of short-term relationships with women were reported in the media.

“I think that is a sign that he wants to send a strong message to his family that he is serious about addressing the problems,” Casey Cooper, a California based sports psychologist said. “It really is impossible to do that when you have the travel schedule of a competitive professional athlete.”

Palm Beach-based psychologist John F. Murray, who has worked with professional tennis and NFL players, said Woods’ hiatus could also be simply a case of allowing him to escape the stress.

“It’s the only possible thing to do when you are facing such amazing pressure. … It is too much for him – he needs an escape, some kind of relief from the stress. He definitely needs a break,” said Murray.

“Tiger isn’t just a golfer, he is an empire and he has lots of people advising him. He has probably been advised to take a break, to come up with a plan, come up with a strategy.”

Cooper added she doubted the public scrutiny of his private life would affect Woods’ performance when he returned.

“For the typical athlete, these types of distractions can obviously impact performance but Tiger has shown time and time again that he can manage his off-course life separately from his performance,” she said.

“I think his step away isn’t about protecting his performance, it is about how he is going to address his family situation. That requires time and his physical presence which he just can’t do if he is on the tour.

“Athletes are very all or nothing people, so if he is … going to fix his marriage he is going to fix his marriage and pour himself into that.”

Most observers expect Woods to be back playing some time next year, but a major question remains how he will cope with the loss of his previous image as clean-cut family man and Murray said one way of dealing with that could be to embrace the change.

“He could do what John McEnroe did (in tennis) and become the bad boy of golf,” Murray said.

“There are ways to do it, I don’t know if he could be the bad boy but I don’t know how he is going to keep that clean image.”

Little ‘Kangaroo’ hops into tennis all the way from Australia

CBS Sports – Dec. 9, 2009 – By Lesley Visser – Excellent footwork? Check. Concentration? Solid. Reliable forehand? Naturally. It’s when she says, “Daddy, can you take me to the bathroom?” that something seems a little strange.

Racket control and two-fisted backhands aren’t unusual at a noted tennis academy, but this prospect just turned 5 years old.

Mia Lines ‘has a gift, and 5 years old is not too young to nurture that gift,’ her coach says.

Mia Lines ‘has a gift, and 5 years old is not too young to nurture that gift,’ her coach says.

“She has the best adjustment steps I’ve seen in 25 years,” said Rick Macci, owner of the Rick Macci Tennis Academy at Boca Lago Country Club in Florida, where Mia Lines trains, when she’s not playing Scooby-Doo back home in Australia. “She has a gift, and 5 years old is not too young to nurture that gift.”

Macci, who worked with champions Andy Roddick, Jennifer Capriati and the Williams sisters when they were young, has been celebrated for his work with junior players and has been named the USPTA Coach of the Year seven times. Mia’s father found him on the Internet.

“When Mia was 3, everyone kept telling me she had talent and that I should get someone to look at her,” said Glenn Lines, a former day trader from Melbourne who is now the full-time single father to his tennis prodigy. “I had heard of Rick, and when I researched his program, I brought her to America to train with him.”

At 3 years old? Three years before school starts? At an age just beyond what child psychologists call “object permanence,” the ability of a child to remember what he or she just saw?

“We make sure she’s having fun,” said Macci.

It appears to be the case. Macci, who said Mia had racket control from the beginning, has the child bouncing basketballs with both hands, hitting the ball “on the rise, give ’em a surprise” and taking lemonade breaks. I watched her hit 30 balls in a row over the net, then jump over a couple of Macci-fed tosses as if the ball were a hot potato. She giggles and laughs, but there is something else inside.

“She’s extremely competitive,” said Macci. “When I had Venus and Serena, they would run through glass on the court to get to a ball. Mia’s the same way.”

She is small, short for her age, but when she gets up on her toes, tiny calf muscles pop out in the back. Her movements are efficient and the ball almost never goes beyond the baseline. But where is this heading, what can come of training three hours a day at such a young age?

“Well she’s not going to win any tournaments for 5-year-olds,” said renowned sports psychologist Dr. John Murray. “But it isn’t necessarily bad that she’s developing her passion. At the moment, she’s no different than any child who plays the violin or is precocious at ballet or art at a young age.”

Tennis has had its share of pushy-parent casualties. Stefano Capriati was famous for changing coaches, signing endorsement contracts and courting sponsors when Jennifer was only 12. Her early burnout is the stuff of legend. Andre Agassi wrote in his book that he hated the game his father forced him to play. Damir Dokic was famously ejected from a tournament where his daughter, Jelena, was playing, when he drunkenly accused an official of being a Nazi who endorsed the bombing of his native Yugoslavia.

“Some of these parents are just pathological,” Murray said. “They don’t understand that all athletes go through developmental stages. Being a star at 10 doesn’t mean that child will be world-ranked at 14.”

It’s too early to tell if Glenn Lines has the right stuff to make the precarious journey. He admits he “took a tennis ball to the hospital where Mia was born”, and “waved a tennis ball” over her head when she was in the crib.

But Lines seems to have some perspective.

“I don’t come from a wealthy family,” he said of his upbringing in Wantirna South, a suburb outside of Melbourne. “I’m middle class, and I’ve decided that when Mia turns 14, if she wants to do something else, anything else, that’s her decision. I know that my father, who loves Aussie rules football, wanted me to play, but I never did.”

Macci will not say whether Mia, whom he calls “Kangaroo,” will develop into a world-class tennis player.

“There are too many factors,” he said. “But I don’t resent or worry about her father. Many, if not most great players, had at least one parent devoted to their development — Jimmy Connors, Monica Seles, Chris Evert, Martina Hingis. Not all parents are bad.”

Macci has been on this route before. He is convinced that Mia has skills that put her “on the path” to greatness. And everyone agrees she has the perfect tennis name.

Dr. John F Murray on ESPN2 and NFL Films Network

See Dr. John F Murray’s Recent Appearance on NFL Network and ESPN2 (NFL Films Presents)
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Photos from The Charles Evans PCF PRO-AM Tour

Special from JohnFMurray.com – Enjoy this quick photo album of Michael Milken, Vince Spadea and Ivor Braka at The Charles Evans PCF Pro-AM Tour at the Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, Florida. Photos were taken on Sunday November 22, 2009.

Dr. Murray Talks Sports Psychology on Sirius Radio

Sports psychologist Dr. John F Murray was recently a guest on Sirius radio to discuss his perspective on sports psychology and some of the serious mental health issues in sports, and some of the factors that prevent athletes from getting the help they need.

To hear a replay of the Hardcore Sports Radio interview on Sirius, just click Sports Psychology Radio.

Dr. Murray appeared the previous week on ESPN and the NFL Network to discuss football player’s emotions in an episode of NFL Films Presents hosted by Steve Sabol. Thanks for tuning into the world of sports psychology.

Contributing, but barely playing Two-sport star in high school adjusts to mostly watching soccer with Cavaliers

Washington Post – Steve Yanda – October 31, 2009 – Sports Psychology – CHARLOTTESVILLE — An all-state honoree who set her high school’s records for goals and assists doesn’t expect to be warming the bench midway through her third collegiate soccer season. A three-time state player of the year in basketball possesses plenty of options other than performing a role unnoticed by nearly everyone.

Katie Carr, a redshirt sophomore for the Virginia women’s soccer team, is all of the above. She does not start and barely plays for a Cavaliers team that has earned 15 consecutive NCAA tournament berths. Once the heartbeat of any team on which she played, Carr carries out a far diminished responsibility. Her value is tied to her performance in practice, where official stats aren’t kept and victories are mostly of the moral variety.

Virtually every roster of every college sports team includes athletes such as Carr: players who were stars in high school, active for nearly every consequential minute of every game, but who now spend more time watching rather than competing during matches.

“It’s hard because when you win a game, you’re ecstatic, you’re happy, you’re happy for the team, you’re happy that we’re doing well,” Carr said. “But then at the same time you’re like, ‘Well, how much did I really contribute to that?’ ”

For Carr and the constituency she represents, athletic validation comes in subtler forms, such as a dime-size scab crinkled on the bridge of her nose, lingering evidence of a slide tackle she executed in practice the day before. Carr hasn’t played in seven straight games, and she’s been on the field for 16.8 percent of the total minutes Virginia has played this season.

Carr’s primary task involves devoting countless hours and immeasurable amounts of energy and focus during practices to ensure that her teammates — some of whom stand between her and the prominence she used to own — have the best chance to succeed come game time. Her function on the Cavaliers, though far different than she ever imagined it would be, remains vital, her coach says. But for a long time, Carr struggled to come to that realization.

“The beauty of playing a team sport to me is you’re really sacrificing your service to the team,” Virginia women’s soccer Coach Steve Swanson said. “It’s not an easy thing to do. These guys are giving a lot of time and a lot of sweat and a lot of tears, and they’re sacrificing it for the team. The biggest thing you have to balance in a team sport is you have to decide at some point, ‘Why am I doing this?’ ”
Below the dunes

For six days during every preseason camp, Swanson takes his squad to Maple City, Mich., where the Cavaliers train and scrimmage against Notre Dame. In August 2007, Carr and the rest of the incoming freshman class learned the most daunting task of the trip was climbing nearby sand dunes, some of which rise as high as 450 feet.

When it came time for that exercise, though, Carr stood aside. She had torn her left anterior cruciate ligament and some of meniscus during the first soccer game of her senior season at the Walsingham Academy in Williamsburg and had to sit out her first college year for rehabilitation. No practices. No games. No bonding with teammates over the shared accomplishment of conquering a sand dune.

“They all could celebrate that because they did it together, and I kind of was just there cheering, you know?” Carr said. “It was hard from that aspect, just that I wasn’t going through the same things they were going through.”

She paused as the memory replayed in her mind. “Honestly, I think that’s what made me fall in love with Virginia even more was the fact that the coaches were always there for me,” she continued. “Never was it like I was overlooked. I would be running sprints around the field while they were practicing because I couldn’t play with a ball yet, and every time I came around someone would be like, ‘Yeah, here we go. Let’s go, Katie.’ That was one thing that really helped me out that made it, not okay, but better than it could have been.”

The frustration — and the questions that fueled it — did not intensify until the following spring, when Carr was back on the field trying to recapture the mobility and speed that once made her an elite two-sport talent. During a high school career in which Carr tallied the second-most points in the history of Virginia girls’ basketball, she was courted initially by such storied women’s college programs as Tennessee and Connecticut. But Carr had decided by her sophomore year of high school that soccer would be the sport she would pursue.

She said one of the main reasons why she chose to play at Virginia was the experience she had during a summer camp run by Swanson before her junior year at Walsingham.

“Honestly, up until the day that my parents dropped me off, I was crying,” Carr said. “I didn’t want to go. ‘This was so stupid. Why are you making me do this?’ And then I came to camp and I got seen.”

For most of the camp, Swanson had Carr compete with and against the pool of players from which Swanson was recruiting. By the end, one of the camp counselors approached Carr and told her Virginia was interested in her. She felt wanted and needed and more than a little flattered.

By the fall of 2008, the first season in which Carr physically was able to play for the Cavaliers, all of those emotions had faded. She appeared in five of the team’s 23 games, starting one. Carr said she second-guessed herself constantly during practices. Am I just a practice player? Is this what I’m here for?

During games, Carr said she would go through the motions during warmup drills, reconciled to the fact she almost certainly was not going to play that day. Virginia advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament, and Carr wasn’t completely sure how to feel.

“Just knowing that we’re getting results and we’re getting the wins, I’m excited about how the team’s doing, but you question what you really brought to the table,” Carr said. “We always talk about how it starts at practice. You push each other, you do all that, and yeah, I can do that. I’m fine with doing that, but at the same time, you’re like, ‘Did I really make a difference in winning this game?’ ”

John F. Murray, a sports psychologist based in Palm Beach, Fla., said a college athlete dealing with such an internal debate must be able to expand his or her definition of what it means to be a member of the team. For those with prolific athletic backgrounds such as Carr, Murray said the process is more drawn out.

“Most of these guys are viewing it as whether they’re just fodder for the other players or someone to help out,” Murray said. “Everybody would like to play, but there has to be some level of acceptance of the reality of their role, sort of a resignation at some point, but also an extremely altruistic purpose.”

Following the 2008 season, several members of Virginia’s back line graduated. A starting spot at the center defender position — Carr’s position — became available, and her confidence sprouted from the opportunity in front of her. Finally, Carr thought, a chance to make what she considered a meaningful impact. She said she showed up to preseason camp in the best shape of her life.
‘You have to get over it’

Swanson could empathize with the player who was on her way into his office. He was a three-sport athlete in high school who played four years of varsity soccer before signing on at Michigan State. During his freshman season as a Spartan, though, Swanson said he didn’t play at all and that he took his predicament personally.

“You say, ‘Well, I must not be very good,’ and you get down on yourself,” Swanson said. “Psychologically, it doesn’t help you in terms of your development, and you start focusing on things that you have no control over, really. During my first year I really struggled, but I was fighting myself. And it wasn’t until I had a good conversation with my coach where he told me where I was and he made it out very honestly.”

In late August, Swanson had a similar talk with Carr, a player for whom the coach said he has the utmost respect. Carr had started the first game of the season — a 1-0 loss at Penn State — but played only the first half. Carr called earning a spot in the starting lineup “a breath of fresh air,” and for a few weeks, the questions — Do I really want to play soccer? What do I want to do? — died down.

Carr sat down in Swanson’s office, expecting to talk strategy or improvement, and heard her coach deliver the news: She would no longer start, and in fact, she would change positions entirely. An influx of talented first-year players had just entered the program and the coaching staff felt one of those players was a better fit at center defender. Carr would move to defensive center midfielder, a position she last played in high school.

Swanson said it was one of the most difficult meetings he has had with a player in 20 years as a head coach because “you want to reward people like Katie.”

Furious, Carr left the meeting but had to report immediately to practice. The questions returned. What is she doing that’s better than I can do? What did I do wrong?

“I was literally driving myself insane,” Carr said. “I started to realize that I couldn’t do that anymore. You have to get over it. I had spent the past two years in my own head.”

Carr returned to practice the following day determined to embrace the role laid out for her. She said she accepted that her performance in practice could impact the team’s play during games. Her minutes declined while her attitude improved.

Anne Carr, Katie’s mother, said she has noticed an evolution to the manner in which her daughter handles her frustrations on the soccer field, as well.

“She doesn’t want you feeling sorry for her,” Anne Carr said. “She doesn’t want you to say, ‘Oh Kate, I’m sorry.’ She’s like, ‘It’s fine.’ She doesn’t want that” sympathy.

On Sunday, Virginia will play its regular season finale against Miami, and whether or not Carr plays, she’ll at least be content in her newfound perspective. Soccer has made her more disciplined, responsible and humble. Those lessons, acknowledged in retrospect, are why she persists. She could have gone to another school and played as soon as she was healthy. She could have played another sport entirely.

“Or I could come here and have all these hardships and have all these, not letdowns, but things that you question about yourself and then you start to find answers,” Carr said. “I’ve realized a lot of things that I didn’t even think I could overcome. I think I’m a better, more mature, more understanding person because of it. Yeah, I’m really grateful to have come to this school.”

I hope you enjoyed this article on the topic of sports psychology

Halloween Wishes to All

Special to JohnFMurray.com – Spooky Update to Friends – By John F Murray – October 29, 2009 – A few new items for you today as an update. Happy Reading and Happy Listening!

(1) The audio archive of mental tips is really growing. The ones you might not yet have heard are on (a) how to time travel, (b) inner fire, (c) what to do after success, (d) anger management, (e) the formula for success, (f) from complex to simple, and finally (g) coping mentally with injuries. All the articles can be found at Kiki Vale’s Chicago radio show site at: https://www.kikivale.com/archives-live-drjohn.php with the exception of the most recent one on dealing mentally with injuries, which is off the main page of her site at: https://www.kikivale.com/live.php (scroll down on the right).

(2) I also posted my September and October columns from Florida Tennis Magazine at:
https://smartproinsight.com/Florida-Tennis-John-F-Murray-Columns-Sep-Oct-2009.htm

Here were the top two choices for scary Halloween costumes:

(1) Phillip and Nancy Garrido Masks (very creepy … I realize)
(2) Bernie Madoff Masks (always sold out in Palm Beach)

The Music Video of the Week:

This page is getting tons of hits as index for music videos of the week at:
https://www.johnfmurray.com/index.php/life/music-video-of-the-week/music-video-of-the-week

6 songs so far have been selected that represent inspirational songs or songs that can really move you in some way, and they were picked with reader input. Every Monday I look at my options and select a new one. Please send your suggestions today so I will have more to choose from. Here is a list of the songs picked so far so you can listen and watch how great these songs really are! My three favorites so far are Al Green, The Hollies, and Diana Krall.

(1) Al Green – “Let’s Stay Togetherâ€? at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QztIY43lPgI

(2) The Hollies – “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dressâ€? at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lP94PlEtsEQ

(3) The Beatles – “Here, There and Everywhereâ€? at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8X4eoNfm5E

(4) Michael Jackson – “Thrillerâ€? at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkjtctcuQ9Q

(5) Judson Laipply – “Evolution of Danceâ€? at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMH0bHeiRNg

(6) Diana Krall – “The Look of Loveâ€? at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yt33oF_joKM

TRICK OR TREAT!

John F Murray, Ph.D.
America’s Top Success Psychologist
139 North County Road Suite 18C, Palm Beach, Florida 33480
Telephone: 561-596-9898, Fax: 561-805-8662
https://www.JohnFMurray.com
(Alexa Ranking = 549,934 on 10/28/09)

Imagery in Golf is as Important as Shot Selection

Golf Psychology – November 11, 2004 – Dr. John F. Murray – Golf is perhaps the most “mentalâ€? sport of all. What does this mean? In my opinion, it accents the types of demands placed upon the player.

For example, high priorities include having a well thought out pre-shot strategy, selecting the right club, recovering from an errant shot, and staying calm and focused in the most stress-inducing situations. It’s much like playing chess, but a whole lot more fun and better for the body! Mental factors are also essential in developing physical tools for the game (e.g., efficient swings, proper footwork, fitness), for without quality instruction and knowledge, progress can be very difficult. Unlike in some other sports, sheer athletic ability and brute strength play a less prominent role. What is really needed in golf is more advanced software. Enter imagery.

Imagery, also called visualization, was described by Vealey and Walter (1993) as a mental technique that programs the human mind to respond as programmed, by using all the senses to recreate or create an experience. Mahoney (1977) described imagery as one of four categories of cognitive skills important in athletic performance, and Suinn (1984) developed a popular version of imagery called visual motor behavior rehearsal (VMBR). Whenever we imagine ourselves performing an action in the absence of physical practice, we are said to be using imagery. Although research into the merits of imagery lags far behind the practice of the technique, many golfers find imagery helpful. It is used for rehearsing new skills, practicing and refining existing skills, preparing for particular situations and readying for an entire round. Studies have shown imagery to be helpful in a variety of ways such as reducing warm-up decrement, lowering anxiety, and increasing self-confidence.

How is this technique implemented? First, it should be recognized that, like any skill, practice is necessary. Most golfers spend enormous time and energy improving their swings and other physical skills, while neglecting mental practice. Ask yourself what percentage of your practice time is spent hitting balls versus developing essential mental skills through techniques such as imagery. You may discover that you are ignoring this crucial part of your game. Jack Nicklaus was a firm believer in imagery. Are you even spending 10% of your practice time using mental techniques?

One note of caution, imagery may hurt your game if your understanding of strategy and/or technique is deficient. In fact, you’ll just reinforce bad habits. Before getting started, make sure your knowledge and basic skills are intact. If you are a professional or advanced golfer, this should pose few difficulties. Beginners and intermediates should schedule regular lessons with their local professional to monitor their progress.

Imagery can be practiced by lying down in a quiet room, fully relaxed, with eyes closed. This longer version lasts anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. It is often used prior to a match and helps prepare the player mentally. Here, the player rehearses a perfect performance, often visualizing a complete match point by point. A shorter version of imagery, lasting only a few seconds, can be used during match play. For example, prior to serving, the player visualizes a perfect serve to a strategical location. Imagery is also useful to familiarize the player with high percentage shot sequences, developing anticipation skills for a quicker and more effective response during the actual point.

Some individuals have a more natural ability to form visual images than others. Here are some tips for those with difficulty forming images:

(1) Try thinking in pictures rather than words

(2) Look at pictures or videos prior to using imagery

(3) Stay in a quiet, relaxed and calm environment to avoid distractions

Here are some general principles to enhance imagery:

(1) Make the imagery seem as realistic as possible by including all senses, in full color and detail, within a similar emotional context

(2) Practice imagery regularly as it may take months before seeing improvement

(3) Believe that imagery works, as your attitudes and expectations enhance the effect

(4) Keep a focused yet relaxed attention while using imagery

(5) Internal imagery is most effective. Picture yourself actually accomplishing the feat (from your minds eye), rather than viewing yourself from the outside looking in.

(6) Only imagine perfection. This will boost your self- confidence and reinforce good habits.

In closing, imagery is a potent mental technique that will raise the level of your game if your basic skills and understanding of golf are solid. Just don’t let your opponents know what you’re thinking!

I hope you enjoyed this golf article on sports psychology.