The Real Athlete Blog


Category: Sports Psychology

  1. Mental Strength in Practice for Peak Performance

    by Gregg Swanson 12-16-2010 12:33 AM Training | Sports Psychology

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    Do any of these statements sound familiar?

    “In practice, I didn’t fumble once. Yet, during a game I fumbled a few times.”
    “In practice, I hit 4 out 10 balls. Then during a game, I can only hit 2 of 10.”
    “I easily make 8 out of 10 free throws at the end of practice, yet in games I’m shooting 40%. It doesn’t make sense.”
    Do you find that at times you perform at a specific level in practice but are unable to perform at this same high level in the competition?


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  2. Game Preparation

    by Alan Stein 12-14-2010 10:22 PM Coaching | Sports Psychology

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    Dictionary.com provided this definition of the word "prepare":

    [pri-pair] – Verb  

    To put in proper condition or readiness.

    How do you prepare for games? 
    1)    Do you get 7-8 hours of sound sleep the night before a game?
    2)    Do you review your playbook or read your opponent’s scouting report before you go to sleep?
    3)    Do you eat a healthy, energy packed breakfast the morning of the game?
    4)    Do you pack your uniform, shoes, etc. in advance to avoid scrambling at the last minute?
    5)    Do you “dress for success” on game day to put yourself in a confident state of mind?


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  3. Mental Strength in Sports Performance

    by Gregg Swanson 12-09-2010 09:53 PM Sports Psychology

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    Mark Spitz once said, “Practice is 90% physical and 10% mental and competition is 10% physical and 90% mental.”

    How true!
    There is a vicious cycle that occurs without the help of mental strength. There’s a trigger—it could be a missed catch, a dropped pass or a missed putt. Whatever it is, this event gets anchored into the psyche of the athlete. You don’t have to be a professional for this to happen. This can happen to a weekend warrior, amateur or semi-pro athlete. 


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  4. LeBron James' "What Should I Do?" Nike Commercial

    by Dr. Timothy Thompson 11-03-2010 01:06 AM Public Relations | Athlete Career Development | Human Relations | Image Branding | Sports Business | Sports Psychology

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    I see nothing wrong with this message from LeBron James, especially since he appears to be answering the critics whose perspective was championed by Charles Barkley. I strongly disagree with what Barkley and his supporters were saying about the future implications of LeBron’s team selection, and I believe Charles’ reasoning was historically irrational and misguided. Essentially, Charles said LeBron should have chosen to stay with the Cavaliers primarily because that would’ve allowed him to be the undisputed leader rather than just a super cog. Furthermore, Charles argued that by not staying in Cleveland, LeBron was somehow dishonoring the cultural status of NBA basketball by rejecting the notion of competing with superstars like D-Wade for the top NBA dog spot. According to Charles, this was the true effect of LeBron joining a team that already featured another player of roughly equal star status. Never mind that Charles, who never won an NBA championship, was thinking about his own ego needs, and wasn’t really speaking from first-hand knowledge of what makes LeBron tick.


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  5. The “Hidden Secret”

    by Gregg Swanson 10-17-2010 06:44 PM Training | Athlete Career Development | Sports Psychology

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    “I always stress condition with my basketball players. I don’t mean physical condition only. You cannot attain and maintain physical condition unless you are morally and mentally conditioned.” —John Wooden, college basketball coach

    It’s been awhile since the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and they were simply amazing to watch, weren’t they? I had so much awe and respect for these elite athletes as I watched them sled, ski, jump and skate, with speed, precision and grace.

    It’s not just the Olympics; I have this same feeling when I see an amazing catch in football, or a precise move in dancing, or even an “invisible” technique in the martial art of Bujinkan.

    In observing these elite-level athletes, their physical and technical prowess is glaringly evident, and their endurance and technical precision is obvious to anyone who watches their performances.


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  6. Advice From a Legend

    by Alan Stein 10-17-2010 06:26 PM Athlete Career Development | Coaching | Sports Psychology

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    Jerry West is a living legend.
    Yeah, he is in the NBA Hall of Fame.
    Sure, he was voted one of the 50 greatest players of all time.
    For crying out loud… Jerry West is the NBA logo! 
    When he speaks, you need to listen.
    Jerry West is friends with the father of a basketball player at Gonzaga High School in Washington, DC.  A couple of weeks ago he stopped in to address the team after a pre-season workout. He spoke from the heart and gave sound advice: 


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  7. Coaching Wisdom

    by Alan Stein 10-11-2010 07:57 PM Athlete Career Development | Coaching | Sports Psychology

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    This past weekend I had an opportunity to meet (and listen to) two brilliant basketball minds: Jeff Van Gundy and Brad Stevens. I was overwhelmingly impressed, as they both offered invaluable insight into what it takes to be successful on and off the court. Here are the highlights:


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  8. How To Keep That Burning Desire Alive

    by Gregg Swanson 10-04-2010 11:26 PM Training | Sports Psychology

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    Autumn is underway and winter is on the horizon. And with this change of season brings cooler and colder temperatures, inclement weather, and darkness. If you’re like most people, you probably work out in the early morning or late afternoon. This is tough enough now, and then when you throw old, dark, and damp weather on top of it, these conditions can challenge even the most highly motivated athlete.

    Motivation—you understand what that implies, correct? Athletes frequently use phrases such as “drive,” “desire,” or even “going after something with intensity” to explain or even define motivation, as well as motivated behavior. Basically, we frequently believe that motivation happens completely from within the person (intrinsic). It is essential to understand that motivation is really a function of both the person (an individual) and the circumstance(s) (extrinsic). Which means that to improve your motivation, you'll want to address both the "you" part of the process (i.e., what motivates you?; why do you exercise/compete/train?; and what else could you perform differently?) and examine the situational elements as well (i.e. your coach, training partner or even the facility where you train). 


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  9. Do You Deserve It?

    by Alan Stein 09-21-2010 12:24 AM Training | Coaching | Sports Psychology

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    One of my high school players asked me if I will teach Luke and Jack that they "can be anything they want to be when they grow up."

    I said “nope.”

    They were shocked! 
    They thought that’s what parents were supposed to teach their kids.


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  10. Are You A Baby?

    by Alan Stein 09-13-2010 11:22 PM Sports Psychology

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    Why? Because they have already figured out the 6 keys to success:

    For those that follow my blog, you know I am the proud father of 6 month old twin sons, Luke and Jack. While I am not 100% certain (haven’t had them actually tested), I am confident they are geniuses. I’m serious!

    1)    Persistence: they never quit. Ever. When they want something… to be fed, to be changed, or hold a toy… they do not stop until they get what they want. Right now they are learning to crawl… and they spend hours and hours “practicing.”

    How persistent are you in getting what you want? How relentless are you in your development?


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