Mind Over Sports


Posted on: September 2, 2012

When the Ohio Bobcats beat Penn State 24-14 this past Saturday, television pundits were making excuses for the Nittany Lions saying it was because of the “distractions.” And, of course, they are right. But it happens in almost every game when any football team, basketball team or baseball team loses. Very often you’ll find one or more players who dropped passes, caused turnovers, missed three point shots they usually make or go 0-5 at the plate. In almost all instances the same pundits give credit to and lavish praise on the winning team, focusing on how well they played, never even mentioning there could be “distractions” taking place among players on the losing teams. Distractions such as: Problems with a girlfriend, financial problems, problems with a coach. They can all negatively affect performance. That’s why I believe sports teams, if they want to be successful, should conduct team meetings every week (without coaches present) allowing players to vent issues they may be carrying around. And when this venting takes place, it not only enhances feelings of self-worth of individual players (and thereby enhancing their performance) but also helps to bond the team. Sports psychologists are not allowed to conduct these types of meetings since they would be entering the domain of the clinical psychologist and could lose their license. That’s why I advocate all sport psychologists be required to not only have a PhD but also a Masters degree in counseling.


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