Posts Tagged ‘John F Murray’

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

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.

Dr. John F. Murray Advises Capital Hill

Dr. Murray’s Tips on Capital Hill

I recently spoke with the editors over at “The Hill, the largest Capitol Hill publication. It is aimed at the 100 senators, 435 House members, 40,000 aides and tens of thousands in the influence industry whose work affects the lives of all Americans. The topic is ways to relax and beat stress after this crazy and exhausting political season. The principles apply equally well to holiday, family and financial stress. Enjoy! JFM

Political junkies, take heart: There’s a cure for post-election depression

Are you still tuning into MSNBC to hear the latest poll numbers? Have you awoken in the middle of the night shouting “Country Firstâ€? or “Change We Can Believe Inâ€??

If so, you may be suffering from a new phenomenon called post-election depression.

Take heart; there is a cure — and it’s not Cialis, Abreva or Abilify. Sports psychologist John F. Murray tells ITK that all political junkies who have been wrapped up in the presidential election for the past two years need to do what Super Bowl athletes or Olympic stars do after their big events: Take a break.

The Palm Beach, Fla.-based Murray helps top-caliber athletes come down from monumental events like Wimbledon tennis championships or Olympic gold-medal judo matches. His mantra is relaxation.

“Part of my relaxation session is to have clients go to their most relaxing place,â€? he said. “There has got to be a major recovery period, and some people de-stress in different ways. Some people go on vacation, some go hunting.â€?

Murray says junkies should take advantage of the upcoming holidays to unwind from the tense campaign season.

“You can’t completely shut down,â€? he says. “A little bit of exercise is a good thing, eating healthy is a good thing.â€?

The key is that you deal with the stress.

“If it’s unabated, [stress] can lead to disease,â€? Murray says. “There’s a lot of heart disease and there’s a lot of stress in this country.â€?

Warning: Do not heed this advice if you are pregnant. Do not hold ITK responsible for your physical well-being. Consult a physician if you feel dizzy during treatment. Relaxation may cause resentment towards your profession, colleagues and even family members.

p.s. Don’t forget to see the great antique watch auctions ending soon at:
John F. Murray, PhD
139 North County Road Suite 18C
Palm Beach, Florida  33480
Tel: 561-596-9898
Fax: 561-805-8662
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.

Steve Raebel Interviews Dr. John F Murray

December 3, 2008 – Dr. John F. Murray was interviewed for two hours by Steve Raebel about the field of sports psychology on Blog Talk Radio and you can hear it all now by clicking the play button above.

John F. Murray, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical & Sport Performance Psychologist
139 North County Road Suite 18C
Palm Beach, Florida 33480
Tel: 561-596-9898
Fax: 561-805-8662

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 frequent speaker and seminar leader, and his commentary appears almost daily in the media. 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.

BYU’s’ Quest for Perfection’ questioned by some, praised by others

The Salt Lake Tribune – Jay Drew – November 20, 2008 – PROVO – Along with winning 31 of his last 34 football games, Brigham Young University’s straight-laced, youthful-looking football coach, Bronco Mendenhall, has become rather adept at picking slogans.

You know, those catchy phrases that are often associated with political campaigns, words such as “Raise the Bar” and “Fully Invested.” The McCain campaign could have used this guy.

The success he has had with those notwithstanding, when Mendenhall, after back-to-back 11-2 seasons, rolled out his latest motto for Cougar players and their fans to rally around – “Quest for Perfection” – before the season it was met with more than a few raised eyebrows.

And those astonished looks didn’t just come from rival Utah fans, who enjoy mocking anything that comes out of Provo, almost to the point of obsession. They gleefully proclaimed it couldn’t be done, then gloated far and wide when the Cougars were pummeled by TCU a month ago while their own team continued to cruise along perfectly.

Many BYU fans also questioned the bold approach, even after being told by Mendenhall dozens of times that it was meant to signify a two-pronged quest – the part about living right off the field even more important than going undefeated on the field.

Which brings us to the here and now.

The Utes are perfect (11-0) and the Cougars are close (10-1) heading into Saturday’s

And Mendenhall isn’t apologizing.

“I don’t have any regrets,” he said Monday, while acknowledging that the slogan brought some unintended attention and scorn, in some quarters.

“The intent was to just simply move our program forward.. . . But possibly I could have been wiser to assume where the world is, and where our intent is, because it [has] a dual meaning, and we were [eager] to be great on the field. But as I have said so many times, this is really about who we are trying to become. But to say it didn’t add pressure would be wrong. I think it probably did.”

For their part, BYU’s players have said all season they haven’t minded the approach, and at one point quarterback Max Hall wondered if “Quest for Mediocrity” T-shirts would have been more palatable, but 10 times less provocative.

“Doesn’t every team want to go undefeated?” he said. “Isn’t that everyone’s goal? What’s wrong with just saying it?”

Well, because it is almost impossible to attain – both on the field and off, says John F. Murray Read more »

Landmark Victory for Psychology and Sports Psychology

Florida Tennis Magazine – December 2008 Issue – by John F. Murray, Ph.D. – I have been talking forever about how mental ailments and difficulties are often ten times worse than a broken leg. Unfortunately we still live in a society where talking about mental problems or admitting that you are going to a sports psychologist to improve your game is something to hide from others or feel embarrassed about.

Well … times have officially – and I mean officially – changed! A new mental health parity law in America dramatically expands coverage of mental health treatment. As a licensed psychologist and sports psychologist in the state of Florida, this means that my services will be even more available to struggling tennis players who might also have a minor or significant psychological ailment like anxiety or depression, and who want to obtain my clinical services and reimbursement from their insurance company.

In a massive triumph for mental health care in America, Congress passed and President George Bush signed in a new law that requires insurance companies to cover mental health services at the same level they do for physical services. The bill is the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, and it passed Oct. 3 of this year as part of a measure that included the $700 billion financial bailout plan. It was approved by a vote of 263 to 171 in the House and 74 to 25 in the Senate. The parity law takes effect Jan. 1, 2010.

This is wonderful news for consumers of all psychological services including legitimate sports psychology. Psychologists have been fighting for mental health parity for almost 20 years and they finally won, and won decisively. The 2008 bill closes several loopholes left by the 1996 Mental Health Parity Act by barring insurance companies from arbitrarily limiting all aspects of mental health coverage, including the number of outpatient treatment sessions, or assigning higher co-payments or deductibles for those who need psychological services. The law also ensures mental health and substance use coverage for both in-network and out-of-network services when a plan provides this for physical health services. I operate as an out-of-network provider, and provide needed information to my clients should they wish to bill their insurance companies in the proper circumstances where I can establish a legitimate diagnosis.

Proponents of the law say that ending insurance discrimination for mental health and substance use disorders will encourage more patients to seek psychological care. In the APA Monitor it was reported,”We are ushering in a new era of health care for those with mental illnesses, said one of the bill’s main sponsors in the Senate, Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.). No longer will we allow mental health to be treated as a stepchild in the health-care system.”

Research has long established that physical health is directly connected to mental and emotional health. So if you are a person that is struggling with mental health issues, you do not even have to be in extreme distress to get help and bill insurance. Many people struggle with adjustment disorders, anxiety or depression and do not even know it. In the new world we live in, you will be able to afford a legitimate and licensed psychologist who also happens to practice sports psychology. So you can improve your mental health at a lower cost to you, and come on top with a better serve and volley too.

Afterall, you go to the dentist twice a year. What is more important to you, your teeth, or your whole entire well being?

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

Miami Dolphins Lift Spirits

Miami Herald – November 11, 2008 – Greg Cote -Have you found yourself awakening Mondays with a bit less dread for the work week? Have you rediscovered the lost bounce in your step or noticed that people seem to be smiling more easily lately?It isn’t just Democrats; it’s Dolphins fans. It isn’t just Dolfans; it’s local sports fans in general. And because that includes so many of us across a complete cross-section, it is South Florida at large feeling its mood and self-esteem lifted.

Sports can do that. Success is a powerful drug.

So many of us suffer and dream vicariously through the teams we love that the line between franchises and fans can get blurred.

The Dolphins are winning? It feels like we are, too.

”It’s absolutely human nature, a very real phenomena,” Palm Beach-based sports psychologist John F. Murray told us Monday.

‘There’s a certain pride of ownership that a fan feels over his or her favorite team. When things are going well, in social psychology it’s called `basking in reflected glory.’ When our team does well, we feel empowered that maybe things could go better in our lives, too. It’s like having ownership in a company when the stock is going up and up and up.”


The feeling is magnified in Dolphins fans because of the extremes that have been experienced.

This is the franchise of back-to-back Super Bowl triumphs, of the 1972 Perfect Season, of Don Shula and Dan Marino. But then it became the franchise of six consecutive years out of the playoffs and last year’s depressing, embarrassing nadir.

Nobody knows what 1-15 feels like more keenly than someone who has celebrated 17-0. Unprecedented high became humiliating low.

Community self-esteem reflected in a championship parade — such as we last experienced with the Heat in the summer of 2006 — sees its opposite in the collective gloom we feel if our teams are doing poorly — or, worse, being embarrassingly bad.

Now it’s as if our deep, dark cloud is dissipating by degrees and beams of sunlight are poking through, spreading warmth. Optimism: What an elixir!

Our flagship Dolphins have their first winning record in three years and a real chance to end that six-year playoff drought — an immediate and potentially historic turnaround from last season’s embarrassment.

But it isn’t just one team, albeit our biggest.

The Heat, with Dwyane Wade back healthy and the excitement of rookie Michael Beasley, shows early signs of similarly being a playoff team after a franchise-worst 15-67 mark last season.

The Marlins far exceeded expectations and were playoff challengers until late into the season, and they have a new ballpark and bigger payrolls on the way.

The young, ascending Miami Hurricanes have won four football games in a row to become bowl eligible, and in men’s basketball UM is ranked 16th nationally, best ever, in the preseason polls.


Don’t forget FIU football, with its new stadium and enough improvement to not yet be out of the picture for a small bowl game.

In hockey, the Panthers haven’t quite kept pace yet, but otherwise all of our biggest sports teams, pro and college, are enjoying a decided rebound from a collective recent downturn.

(The overall feel-good vibe might even include recent indications that Major League Soccer is poised to expand back into town).

Of course, the Dolphins are King Sport down here, with the biggest following and the most emotional grip, so it is this club’s seismic, sudden resurgence that buoys our collective mood most of all.

I asked Dolphins coach Tony Sparano on Monday how winning and losing affects his mood away from the job. He joked that the question would be better for his wife but admitted his mood is affected to a degree that, “I’m probably not as good a guy after we lose.”

Sparano’s livelihood depends on winning and losing. Ours doesn’t — and yet, in some ways, our quality of life does.

”Our purpose-driven nature is engaged,” Murray said. “When our teams win, it makes us feel like Miami’s on the map again. It’s a feeling of collective pride, like if your governor becomes the president. We all want to bask in success.”

In Alabama this week, a Crimson Tide fan, Michael Williams, is charged with killing two LSU fans ensuing from an argument related to those teams’ Saturday game. That obviously is the most extreme example possible of how seriously we take our sports, but anybody who has painted his face, cried with joy over a win or been cursing mad over a loss knows the power games can have over everyday lives.

A 2006 study in the journal of the Association of Psychological Science found that many fans feel similarly about their favorite teams as they do about their nationality or ethnicity — and that fans “can become so passionate about their team that it becomes a part of their identity and affects their well-being.”

It is why, all across South Florida, people are rediscovering that aqua goes with just about everything. T-shirts and jerseys kept hidden in drawers the past couple of years, perhaps subconsciously, are being pulled out again — and not so much worn as flown like flags.

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

News & Events

This News and Events Section is by far the Most Popular Part of this Website because it has a chronological listing of articles and updates! Search below this header for hundreds of articles on a variety of topics. At the bottom of each page you will also find “previous entries.” You can also look up a topic with the search function and find almost anything related to sports psychology, clinical psychology, executive coaching and more. Enjoy surfing and call Dr. Murray any time at 561-596-9898!

9 Top Domain Names up for Auction

Special Offer from – Palm Beach, FL – November 6, 2008 – Domain name bargain hunters should be quite excited by this one. Dr. John F. Murray, clinical and sports psychologist in Palm Beach, Florida, who has been collecting some of the best domain names for years, has decided to reduce his inventory of domain names in a series of auctions being held at the auction house listed at

Starting today, 9 domain names were listed. They include:,,,,,,, and

“I have so many domain names that I found that it was time to reduce those that I am not using currently, but I am sure that many people will see the value in these names,” said Murray from his office in Palm Beach. When asked which of the first 9 were most valuable, Murray stated, “I really like,, and the best overall, but some might find the others more useful given their needs. has a recent certified appraisal by GoDaddy for $451.00 – $1,270.00.,, and are probably worth even more, and and have certified appraisals pending which should be completed by Monday morning. All domains are being listed for $10 starting bid.”

Anyone who would like to bid on any of these first 9 names need only open an account at for about $5 a year, or contact Dr. Murray directly with an offer at 561-596-9898 or send an email to

Whether You Like McCain or Obama, Get Out and Vote Tuesday

Special to – November 3, 2008 – Since opening my clinical and sports psychology practice in 1999 I’ve purposely avoided talking politics. Not that I don’t have a view or perspective. It just doesn’t feel right to pick sides publicly. My work involves trying to help people of all shapes and sizes, and of all political, ethnic, and other backgrounds. In other words, while I might not agree with the views of all my clients, I at least want to present a neutral face to them to allow them to feel comfortable and share. I’m asking them to be open and to reveal highly confidential information to me, so it makes no sense to create immediate barriers or sudden alliances which might jeopardize the clinical process.

That being said, I am standing tall on my soapbox today strongly advising everyone to vote (but only once!) on Tuesday. We’ve hopefully evolved as a strong nation built on a solid constitution and laws. Our continued survival as a nation depends on our active involvement in the political process rather than apathy. We actually elect our leaders in this country, even if there is also corruption, shady advertising, or heaps of money clouding objectivity. Whoever said it was a perfect system? Life is never so simple, but I would like to think that it is an advanced means of change better than in other countries where violence, intimidation, or far greater corruption is the norm. We as the people who are the government need our vote to count in transferring power to one person. Each and every one of our votes is critical to making the process survive another 200+ years.

So I ask everyone to vote, but to vote with information and your own thoughts, rather than tuning to groupthink or drinking either party’s fruit punch. Study the issues thoroughly, and be careful about what you hear in the media. Depending on what channel you turn on you will be slammed hard in one direction or another. While the process is not perfect, the people still greatly influence the electoral tally which in turn decides the outcome. Abdicating your responsibility by not voting, not matter how lukewarm you may feel about the candidates, is a vote itself. It is a vote for giving up your rights, and since you are part of this nation, the country gains fewer rights as a result.

Many people died on far away shores in many conflicts over the years for our right to vote. We won the Cold War and we defeated the Nazis. The last thing we want to do is to defeat ourselves through negligence. More than ever before we are facing threats both economically and in the ever present fear of more terrorism on our shores. We desperately need leaders who are smart and wise, and who help make us better. We need to exercise our right to vote, and to act as precisely as a surgeon uses a scalpel.

After all the votes are counted and our leader is chosen, we need to exercise even more vigilance in holding that leader to his campaign promises. He is not our dictator and he needs to be accountable to us and held responsible for his actions. Study the issues closely before voting. You will be in a better position to rate how well your new president is doing in the future. If this person violates our trust, a trust that we bestowed upon him, then we need to act decisively to find someone new in four years with another vote.

One thing good about crisis is that it makes us all think. This is a difficult period for America, but we can overcome these problems as we have many others in our past. But it is all based on one word VOTE!

Let’s vote Tuesday in greater numbers than ever before in history. Good luck new president. We’ve chosen you and your legacy and the fate of our nation will be very much in your hands. Do your job well and we’ll keep it in your hands for 4 more years.

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