Dr. John F Murray has been fortunate to work with athletes and teams in at least 41 sports. In addition to working with athletes in golf, tennis and show jumping (see tabs on home page) Dr. Murray has worked with athletes in the following sports as well:
American Football – News Flash: Dr. John F Murray just won the 8th Annual World Series of Handicapping with a 70-45-1 record (61%). One of Dr. Murray’s favorite sports, much work has been done with NFL, college and high school players over the years. John F Murray also wrote the book “The Mental Performance Index” (read the Amazon.com reviews to get an appreciation of the scope and depth of this book and overall approach) with Forward by NFL coaching legend Tom Flores and Epilogue by NFL Hall of Fame broadcaster Lesley Visser, and endorsements from many including Steve Sabol of NFL Films. In recent years, Dr. Murray has turned the statistic derived from this book into a great predictor of success against the spread, demonstrating indirectly that knowing about mental performance enhances prediction, thus is extremely valuable to work on to make teams better too. Those who would like to delve into all that the MPI has been doing in predicting games are wise to visit a new page put up by Dr. Murray in 2018 at FootballShrink.com as this will explain the MPI and how successful it was in its first season of prediction. Beyond prediction and the book, if you are an American football player, coach or executive, Dr. John F Murray is there to help your teams and players win.
Issues Frequently Seen in American Football: This sport is highly position dependent, so there is no one set of issues. It requires highly specific attention to the details of the particular player, but concentration is particularly important in football at every position.
Baseball – This is a great team sport but the roles within the sport often make it much more like an individual sport. The dual between pitcher and hitter, for example, is similar to a high level tennis match. Many baseball players at all levels have benefited from mental coaching and the need will only increase. Bryce Harper’s recent signing for over 300 million dollars is a sign that baseball is here to stay for a long time. There are tons of baseball articles on this site, and here is a radio interview on baseball psychology.
Issues Frequently Seen in Baseball: Confidence and dominance on the mound and at the plate, On-deck routines, Relaxation in the batter’s box.
Basketball – John F Murray has been the team psychologist for division I basketball teams (giving chalk talk in the locker room, and even sitting on the player’s bench, and yes – carrying towels too!), and has worked with several top notch NBA scoring leaders over the years including Tracy McGrady. Here is what T-Mac had to say: “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
Issues Frequently Seen in Basketball: Anxiety of going for shots rather than passing the ball away, Free-throws, Playing more instinctively.
Ice Hockey – The work with hockey players in high school, college and the NHL has been exciting and rewarding. NHL star Olli Jokinen was a client for years and Dr. Murray was privileged to attend his 1000 point celebration and bronze hockey stick celebration with the Calgary Flames, and to later be invited as and credentialed by Jokinen to see him play in the Winter Olympic Games for Finland in Sochi. Here is what Olli wrote about his mental coaching work: “Thanks so much for making me mentally stronger this year. You are the best … nothing like the rest” Olli Jokinen, NHL hockey All Star, Calgary Flames
Issues Frequently Seen in Ice Hockey: Lots of imagery work in preparation for games, Goal setting, Persistence on the boards.
Soccer – This is the most popular sport in the world, and Dr. John F Murray has worked with many strikers including some of the world’s best on teams in the English Premier League, in Germany, and in other organizations.
Issues Frequently Seen in Soccer: Persistence, Creating plays and managing them with imagery, Team leadership.
Athletics (e.g., track and field, running, long jump) – Usually associated with the Olympics, many athletes in many sports have benefited from mental coaching work with Dr. John.
Issues Frequently Seen in Athletics: Highly sport dependent and position dependent but a great need for Confidence, Focus, Performing in front of large crowds.
Boxing – Getting ready for a big prize fight is accomplished so much better when mental training is part of the mix.
Issues Frequently Seen in Boxing: Imagery, Fight preparation with imagery, Confidence, Resilience to take the hit.
Mixed Martial Arts – Dr. Murray worked with a UFC fighter going for the number one spot in the world at UFC 100 in Las Vegas. He would later write about his work with Dr. John F Murray in several publications. There have been other MMA fighters who benefited as well and the preparation is not unlike getting ready for a big boxing event. MMA fighters need the best in mental coaching.
Issues Frequently Seen in MMA: Imagery, Fight preparation with imagery, Confidence, Resilience to take the hit.
Volleyball – Dr. Murray has only had a few volleyball clients over the years, but has worked with some teams in college. It’s a great sport.
Issues Frequently Seen in Volleyball: Teamwork, Imagery of plays, Confidence in serving, and playing aggressively at the net.
Cycling – Over 20 years or private practice, Dr. Murray has only worked with two top cyclists but several more who were involved in cycling as part of triathlete events.
Issues Frequently Seen in Cycling: Race management within the peloton, Managing difficult stretches of the course, Imagery for the start and finish of the race.
Field Hockey – Only two field hockey players came through the door, but one went on the play in the London Olympics after college at an elite Ivy League school.
Issues Frequently Seen in Field Hockey: Imagery for great defense and shot making, Goal setting.
Lacrosse – A handful of lacrosse players, including one currently, have worked with Dr. Murray to improve their mental game for this terrific team sport.
Issues Frequently Seen in Lacrosse: Ground ball pick ups on defense, Shot making, Aggressiveness, Imagery.
Swimming – Taking a few seconds off an average time is challenging but really rewarding. Dr. Murray has worked with a handful of top high school and college swimmers and setting ambitious goals can help a lot in getting a faster time.
Issues Frequently Seen in Swimming: Staying motivated with difficult training schedules, Confidence to finish strong, Focus.
Squash – Dr. Murray has had a few squash players over the years, including one special player in particular who was the best squash player in the history of India and ranked in the top 20 in the world. That player met Dr. Murray at a Wimbledon tennis workshop and here is what he wrote: “Thank you very much Dr. Murray. The sport psychology seminar was an awesome learning experience and I really enjoyed it.” Ritwik Bhattacharya, #1 Ranked Squash Player in history of India
Issues Frequently Seen in Squash: Confidence, Executing a game plan, Playing well with a lead and from behind.
Gymnastics – Very similar mentally to springboard diving or ballet, several top gymnasts have secured sports psychology services from Dr. John F Murray and he has done a few gymnastic psychology seminars as well. Anxiety is seen a lot in this sport.
Issues Frequently Seen in Gymnastics: Fear of new moves and of injury, Confidence, Consistency in Training.
Wrestling – A great competitive battle of technique and willpower, wrestling has similar mental demands as MMA and boxing. Dr. Murray can only remember two wrestling clients in 20 years of practice! It doesn’t mean there are not more out there needing help.
Issues Frequently Seen in Wrestling: Dealing with grueling training and match schedules, Imagery, Confidence to not let up with a lead.
Horse Racing – Those little horse jockeys are as competitive as any sumo wrestler or NFL linebacker! One of Dr. Murray’s former clients was an older semi-famous jockey whose picture is still having on the wall along with some news clippings at Bradley’s saloon in West Palm Beach!
Issues Frequently Seen in Horse Racing: Managing the horse better, Staying confident in big and small events, Improving times.
Water Skiing – Dr. Murray has only worked with one water skier in his career.
Issues Frequently Seen in Water Skiing: There are tons of different types and styles of water skiing competition and it exists all over the world. Issues that come to mind include speed, tricks, and all kinds of artistic moves. So the challenges are similar to those in racing sports, gymnastics, and competitive flying.
Springboard/Platform Diving – This is a great sport and Dr. Murray has been privileged to do workshops for the coaches and divers of USA Diving, and he’s had a few top divers including one currently. Here is a quote from one of those divers from the past who is now a top coach in Florida: “I just want to thank you very much. During the Olympic trials I went over the 5 steps you gave me before every dive and I know it helped tremendously” Michelle Davison, USA Olympic Springboard diver
Issues Frequently Seen in Diving: Perfectionism, anxiety, routines, and any number of other issues seen in other form type sports like gymnastics, or the performing art of ballet.
Freediving – Also known as “breath-hold diving” Dr. Murray has only worked with two free divers, and it is quite a challenge to go that deep without a tank! One of those divers was going for the world record!
Issues Frequently Seen in Freediving: Staying relaxed in order to increase available oxygen and reduce panic, courage, confidence and gradual goal setting.
Rowing – You have to be a beast to survive in this sport! Talk about sore muscles and persistence. Dr. Murray has only had two clients from this sport.
Issues Frequently Seen in Rowing: Being a good teammate, consistently trianing in the gym and staying motivated, and goal setting for reducing times and increasing team efficiency.
Body Building – There is a lot more in terms of mental needs in this sport than most realize. It is not only strength and technique. The right attitude and mental training can make the difference between lifting 60 pounds more or less in a competition. Dr. Murray has only had one serious active body builder over the years, but it was definitely important to this person’s success.
Issues Frequently Seen in Body Building: Poise and confidence during competitions, proper breathing and relaxation to improve performance and strength, and politics.
Fencing – This is a great sport. Dr. Murray has had a few fencers over the years, and here is what one wrote: “I won the world championship in August, 2013 and was the first in the United States to accomplish that goal. I’m sure that my training with Dr. John F Murray was a part of my success.” Miles Chamley Watson, 2013 Individual Foil World Champion (fencing) and Olympian at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games
Issues Frequently Seen in Fencing: Proper aggressiveness and persistency, similar to any dual sport, taking smart risks on offense but also defending well.
Figure Skating – Very similar to the other form sports and performing arts like gymnastics, ballet, and springboard diving, Dr. Murray has enjoyed working with a few figure skaters over the years.
Issues Frequently Seen in Figure Skating: Eating disorders, perfectionism, relationships with coaches.
Judo – Dr. Murray was fortunate to enjoy Judo a little in his youth, and to later work with some top judo athletes. One of them flew Dr. Murray to be his personal sports psychologist at the Beijing Summer Olympic Games.
Issues Frequently Seen in Judo: Like any martial arts sport, this one has a great tradition and requires the ultimate in confidence, focus, and persistence to the end.
Bowling – Dr. Murray has had several top bowlers over the years as clients. Here is what one wrote: “After a career threatening wrist injury, Dr John F. Murray’s mental strengthening techniques made me get back to the level I was at pre- injury. Last year I returned to the level I was accustomed to. If I didn’t have the mental training, I probably wouldn’t have made the exempt tour two years ago.”Tommy Deultz Jr., Pro Bowler, Achieved #3 World Ranking
Issues Frequently Seen in Bowling: Dealing with tough road travel schedules and low pay, competitive pressure, confidence, and focus.
Polo – With top Polo competitions right here in the backyard of the Palm Beaches in Wellington, Florida, Dr. Murray has enjoyed working with some of the top Polo players in the world, including two who are some of the biggest faces in the game in terms of major endorsements.
Issues Frequently Seen in Polo: Managing sponors and agents better, staying relaxed in a fast and fierce sport, confidence and anxiety.
Rugby – Only two clients have called this their main sport in their work with Dr. Murray.
Issues Frequently Seen in Rugby: Dealing with injuries and the intense physicality and endurance issues, consistent weight training and confidence.
Softball – Dr. Murray has had a few softball pitching females who started in high school and went on to have terrific college careers!
Issues Frequently Seen in Softball: Very similar to baseball (see above).
Water Polo – Talk about physical endurance! Don’t forget the mental fortitude needed as well. Dr. Murray has helped a handful of water polo players.
Issues Frequently Seen in Water Polo: Doing everything mentally to enhance physical training and preparation, endurance, and aggressiveness.
Skateboarding – In the past 25 years, this sport really blossomed, and many kids love it. Dr. Murray has had a couple clients from this arena.
Issues Frequently Seen in Skateboarding: Similar to other form sports, guided imagery for complex moves, courage and confidence.
Competitive Aerobatic Flying – Dr. Murray has only had one client from this sport, but he is great and one of the top in the world at this craft. Flying in that one mile box is a definitely challenge, especially when they give you the unknown challenges at the last moment and you have to follow it to the tee!
Issues Frequently Seen in Competitive Aerobatic Flying: Guided imagery for complex stunts and maneuvers, dealing with distractions both in the air and with the politics in the sport.
Trap Shooting – Only one client has come from this great sport, and it is current, and it is quite similar in challenge to golf. This person has already won a few gold medals and is a top Olympic hopeful for the future. Huge mental demands exist in this sport as well as a need for consistent mental training.
Issues Frequently Seen in Trap Shooting: Very similar to golf in its mental demands, incredible need for focus, and solid routines.
Triathlon – Running, biking and swimming really taxes the body and mind and Dr. Murray has enjoyed working with a few in this realm.
Issues Frequently Seen in Triathlon: Pushing through the pain, planning and goal setting the course, confidence and focus.