Mind Over Sports

Posts Tagged ‘USA Today

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.

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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.

I just read in this morning’s USA Today where a former NFL player, Christian Peter, who had been plagued with aggression problems throughout his career, including rape, had been fed a steady diet of steroids while in high school by his high school coach. He felt that the steroids he took in high school may well have been the origin of his behavior involving the physical abuse of women.  Perhaps I’m a bit naive but it never occurred to me that high school coaches were dong this.  One has to wonder if this situation exists in school programs throughout the country and if yes, why aren’t there drug testing programs in place similar to the NFL and the NCAA? Those coaches who are caught giving their players steroids or have been looking the other way while their players have been taking steroids, should not only be banned from coaching forever but should also be strung up by their thumbs.

I’m a big believer that relationships in sports can have a positive or negative effect on performance. When the relationship is good, the results in competition are good. But when the relationship is bad, it can be devastating to performance.

That’s why I believe it’s no coincidence that Caroline Wozniacki experienced a three year drought on the tennis courts during her relationship with PGA golfer Rory McIlroy. According to USA TODAY the breakup came about after a phone call from McIlroy after the wedding invitations were printed…”At 25, he’s clearly playing better without her. At 24, she’s clearly playing better without him.” I wouldn’t be surprised if she won the U.S. Open.

The Tamp Bay Buccaneers announced yesterday that defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth has been released, but gave no indication why. It’s possible that Albert has forgotten the lesson he learned back in 2006,when he underwent counseling. The following appeared in USA Today: “DT Albert Haynesworth said he learned through counseling that he should quit bottling up his emotions until they explode, a problem that landed him the NFL’s longest suspension for an on-field act. His remorse and willingness to seek help since kicking Dallas Center Andre Gurode in the face with his cleats is why he will practice today. But the Titans are requiring Haynesworth to continue that anger-management counseling. ‘I just want to keep doing it,’ Haynesworth said. ‘Honestly, it’s helping. I can actually talk about stuff. My wife likes it, too. I actually open up and talk about problems I have.’” Athletes who withhold, who bottle-up their feelings, will not perform anywhere near their skill level and are prone to making mental errors during competition because withholding affects their ability to focus.


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