Mind Over Sports


Posted on: December 2, 2011

I was interested in comments made by Missouri basketball star Kim English in the Missouri Alumni magazine MIZZOU (Winter, 2012 issue) when he was quoted as saying: “’Before the game and at halftime, I look into all of my teammates’ eyes,’ English says. ‘I take a second and stare at every person so I can see if they’re ready, nervous, focused. There’s an unspoken bond between us.’” Kim instinctively knows that athletes who have poor eye contact generally have issues they’re withholding (repressing). Withholding is a form of lying that demeans them and lowers their self-esteem, creating psychological baggage that affects their ability to focus and process information. For example, a shooting guard who is having a problem with a girlfriend and is keeping it bottled up inside himself will begin missing his 3-point shots unless he’s able to talk about his issues with the coach or teammates before the game in a safe, controlled, environment. By the same token, athletes who have excellent eye contact and visualize their success will almost always perform close to their skill levels on a consistent basis. And when an athlete has good eye contact it’s a sign of high self-esteem and starts with having been reared in a loving, nurturing home environment. No small wonder that Kim is one of the team’s best players and I would wager that he fits the mold perfectly


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