Mind Over Sports

It’s a new world out there when it comes to enhancing performance among NFL rookies who participate in the NFL combine. They’ve been checked and analyzed for everything from GPS tracking devices, heart monitors, sleep patches, journals to monitor nutrition, soreness and anxiety levels, medical histories, psychological profiles, functional movement patterns, biomechanical assessments and Krossover’s sIQ tests to record a player’s reaction time. So let’s assume that a player passes all the tests with flying colors but later, team coaches and team owners realize there’s one thing they’ve been unable to pre-test for: the likelihood that a player will get into an argument with his girlfriend the night before a game (and doesn’t tell anyone) and subsequently drops three passes that hit him right in the numbers. That’s why team support group sessions are so important to the success of a team. Support group sessions allow players to get things off their chests and share their personal problems with their teammates in the privacy of a controlled environment.

Here’s a great example of how, when athletes are happy and their lives are in harmony, an unseen power seems to take over and propels them to a championship. Such was the case today watching James Hahn win the PGA Northern Trust Open in a playoff. Hahn drained a 25-footer on the final hole for a birdie. After things settled down, he was interviewed and first thing he mentioned was how happy he was that he and his wife were expecting a new baby girl in three weeks. In the LPGA, it’s not unusual to see a professional golfer take a break, have a baby, then return to the tour and immediately start winning. This is in line with the Psycho Self-Imagery theory that says when you’re happy and your life is in harmony you create positive events in your life, on and off the field of competition.

“What we see in others is what we are carrying around within ourselves.”

“The higher your feelings of self-worth the more motivated you will become.”

“Keeping your feelings and emotions bottled-up will negatively affect how you feel about yourself.”

“Resolve important issues in your life before you attempt to visualize.”

“Helping others less fortunate than yourself will enhance your own feelings of self-worth”

“When you are happy and your life is in harmony, good things will happen to you.”

“People who don’t like themselves don’t like others.”

Timing isn’t everything. Preparation is ninety percent.”

“There is no such thing as luck. We create what happens to us in our lives based on our own feelings of self-worth.”

“Children who are loved have the greatest chance in life to be successful.”

“Good eye contact is an indicator of high self-esteem.”

“There’s a relationship between high self-esteem and wellness, and low self-esteem and illness.”

“The secret to longevity is high self-esteem and a strong belief in the almighty.”

“It’s never too late to find yourself.”

“The eyes are echoes from the ego.”

“Show me a man or woman who was loved unconditionally as a small child and I’ll show you a highly successful person.”

“Feelings of self-worth are the foundation for all human behavior.”

“A higher power exists within each of us.”

“We create what happens to us in our lives, both good and bad.”

“Show me a person who has good eye contact and I’ll show you a person who feels good about himself or herself.”

“You can’t motivate anyone. Inspire, yes. True motivation must come from within.”

Those of you who read this Internet column know the importance I place on transforming athletic teams into support groups, allowing participants to discuss issues in their personal lives that may be affecting their ability to focus. And nowhere is this more clearly exhibited than when players hold team meetings, allowing them to get things “off their chest” with their teammates and soon after, the team begins winning. But few in the medical profession place much   emphasis on the role support groups can play when newly diagnosed breast cancer patients participate. When cancer patients address stressful situations in their lives (and begin the process of resolving them) the stress is reduced and its negative effect on the immune system is greatly diminished. An excellent example recently appeared in the February 4th 2015 issue of USA TODAY when a woman – Megan Schanie – told about her experiences as a survivor. “It’s fantastic,” says Schanie, 39, who helped start a support group for young breast cancer survivors in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. “Even in my own little world, I’ve noticed that we have so many in our group who are surviving.” If you’d like more information send me an e-mail – marv@mindoversports.com – and I’ll send you free information regarding how and why support groups work when putting cancer into remission. Support Groups, by the way, are not to replace any prescribed medical treatment by your physician but are only to be used as supplemental treatment.

That is, the number of stupid excuses made by Coach Carroll, Russell Wilson, and Darrell Bevell as to why they didn’t run Marshawn Lynch up the middle for three consecutive plays and win the game.   Example from the New York Times: “The Seahawks’ offensive coordinator (Bevell) said he and Carroll feared if they ran the ball, the clock might run out on the Seahawks before the team finished its allotted plays.” It’s really too bad that Coach Carroll and Bevell weren’t up front with us and just said: “Hey! We messed up!” The most honest person on the team, Marshawn Lynch, exited the stadium immediately after the game without showering since I’m sure he didn’t want to be put in a position of lying or pointing out what a stupid call that decision was to pass rather than giving him the ball. And here’s Coach Carroll’s final comment: “Unfortunately, it was real hard luck. There’s no other way to look at it right now.” I have news for Coach Carroll: There is no such thing as hard luck. We create what happens to us in our lives, both good and bad.

Tiger Woods just shot the worst score of his professional career (82) and failed to make the cut for the Phoenix Open. The reason could be that he recently changed swing coaches. Or, perhaps he and Lindsey Von are having relationship problems away from public scrutiny. Or, it could be that his former wife, who is said to be jealous of Von, is driving him crazy, using their children as a weapon. Whatever the reason, one thing we know for sure: It’s something that is yet to be made public. Because that’s how it works. A player like Tiger doesn’t just start shooting poorly without a reason. If he has some issue (or issues) that he’s keeping bottled-up (withholding) that’s a form of lying that could be creating baggage affecting his ability to focus. Other examples include the three-point shooter in basketball who suddenly starts missing shots. Or the running back in football who fumbles multiple times in a game. Or the .300 hitter in baseball who keeps striking out. All suffer from a lack of focus brought on by keeping their feelings and emotions bottled-up. Regarding Tiger, no one may ever know for sure, except, of course, for Tiger. Stay tuned.

I was about to write something regarding Peyton Manning’s sub-par performance in the playoffs this year and was planning to point my finger at the deteriorating relationship between Head Coach John Fox and Quarterback Manning. But when I visited the Broncos’ website, I came upon this headline: “Broncos, John Fox agree to part ways.” I wasn’t surprised. Things have not been right between them ever since the playoffs two years ago when, with the score tied, 31 seconds left in regulation playing time and three timeouts remaining, Fox instructed Manning to “take a knee.” Amazing! One of the best NFL quarterbacks of all time at the helm, whose specialty is moving the ball down the field under pressure, and he’s told by his coach to take a knee. That tells you a lot about coach Fox: He isn’t a risk-taker…like Elway and Manning. I was surprised he wasn’t let go sooner.

And then I read what USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan wrote about Manning in today’s newspaper, that he’ll be turning 39 in just a few months and that he was showing his age.

What Christine and other sports writers don’t quite understand is that what takes place away from the football field (behind closed doors) affects what takes place on the football field. With Fox gone, I’m looking for next season’s Broncos to not only be in the Super Bowl, but to win it.

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If you would like to contact Marv directly, he may be reached at:

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Mind Over Sports
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