Palm Beach – December 17, 2010 – A new book signifying a paradigm shift in sports toward greater respect for the mental game and mental performance, and that is about to be released, just received a strong endorsement from a former NFL player, Jim “Crash” Jensen, Miami Dolphins 1981-1992. Nick Lowery, the most accurate placekicker in NFL history, and Doug Blevins, one of the NFL’s top kicking coaches over the years, also endorsed the book. Blevins writes that this book is a “masterpiece” and Lowery writes “read this book!” More about Lowery and Blevins in a future article as their endorsements were just received. This article will focus more on the book and Jim “Crash” Jensen’s endorsement.
The book’s title is “The Mental Performance Index: Ranking the Best Teams in Super Bowl History” by John F. Murray, Ph.D. Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Lesley Visser wrote the epilogue. The book is published by World Audience in New York City (ISBN: 978-1-935444-89-3) and will be available before the start of Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Briefly about the book: Murray writes about repeated fortuitous experiences and people who inspired him to become a sports psychologist so that he could inspire others with an exciting new science and profession. After receiving the best education possible for this profession, and doing a PhD on a national champion college football team, Murray discovered that there was lots of work to be done before he and others would have a bigger impact. Rather than welcome the new science of success as a mental advantage, NFL head coaches and others in major sports often resisted it like a plague had arrived and everyone needed to keep things hushed.
When Murray found that something was conspicuously absent in team performance statistics, he seized an opportunity to correct an historic flaw that looks so obvious in retrospect that it shocks everyone who stops and really considers it. Mental performance was hugely influential, and fairly easy to quantify, but no one had taken the time to do it. It was treated as some mysterious X factor when it was really just another aspect of human behavior and performance. Reading in Hegel that â€œthe obvious often remains unknownâ€? Murray attempted to correct this historic omission by creating a statistic measuring degree of perfection in American football performance with physical and mental components included.
In the book, Murray tests and provides empirical and statistical support for his theory that mental performance greatly influences performance and outcome and proclaims that a paradigm shift in sports has begun with a new respect for the mental game. Later, Murray goes back and reviews every game in Super Bowl history from a new perspective including the mental game where it should have been all along.
Lesley Visser writes an epilogue on Bill Walsh and his San Francisco Forty-Niners success. Visser knew Walsh well and her chapter is a window into his genius and the consistent dominance of the Forty-Niners.
Jim “Crash” Jensen, who endorses this book, is known as one of the toughest and most versatile players in NFL history. Originally drafted as a quarterback, Jensen played at least ten different positions, throwing and catching touchdown passes, running for touchdowns, and making big plays on special teams. In 1988 Jensen was name the NFL Special Teams Player of the Year, and in 2006 he was awarded the Miami Dolphins “Unsung Hero” award. After reviewing an advance copy of the book, Jensen provided the following endorsement: “Everyone is gifted, but not everyone opens the package. Open this package and you will understand the secret advantage that helped keep me in the NFL for 12 years!” — Jim “Crash” Jensen.
In providing the endorsement to Dr. Murray for this book, Jensen also wrote: “I saw a sports psychologist in the 80’s and he helped me tremendously on focus. I learned how to visualize and before every game I would throw a towel over my head, see myself in the backfield or out wide, see myself run the route, create separation from the defender (get open), get my head around, catch the ball and get the first down … I got pretty good at it … it helped me stay in the league for twelve years!”
I hope you enjoyed this update from sports psychology!