Goal Setting

This is Your Brain on Sports – book review

“We’ve spent the preceding chapters trying to make the case that there are rational underpinnings for all the supposed craziness and unusual behavior that sports seem to trigger. That is, that “your brain on sports” is really just your regular brain acting as it does in other contexts.”
Sound interesting?  This is how Wertheim and Sommers sum up their latest book, This is Your Brain on Sports. From a sport psychology perspective, it’s a great book in the same vein as classics like “Freakonomics” or “Outliers.”   The authors take common ideas and phenomena in sports and put them under the sociological and psychological research microscope to explain certain peculiar behaviors and that are common not only in sports, but in life in general.

Each chapter explores a unique idea from sports, examines the research, and relates it to real life.  Beginning by promising answers to Why questions: “Why Hockey Goons Would Rather Fight at Home” to “Why We Need Rivals” to “Why Our Moral Compass is More Flexible than an Olympic Gymnast” these chapters offer excellent insights into how the mind works, how people relate to each other through the prism of sports, and uncovers why things that seem bizarre are actually quite common..  The conclusion is that sports isn’t so much different than life.  Although, they do go on to explain:  “…sports and athletic competition are fertile ground for scientists across disciplines to test their hypotheses about basic aspects of human nature.”

There’s a lot in here to relate to sport psychology and the mental game.  For instance, popular theory says that sport psychology was founded in 1898 by Norman Triplett, who noticed that he rode his bicycle faster when he was with other people.  In the chapter “Why We Need Rivals,” the authors explain how Triplett […]

By |May 24th, 2016|Coaching, General, Goal Setting, Sports Psychology|0 Comments

Top Waterskiier uses The Sports Mindset Gameplan to reach his goals

DID YOU KNOW ONE OF THE NATION’S TOP WATER SKIERS LIVES IN HILLSBORO… AND HE’S IN HIS 60’s?

Tom Carey credits SPINw book with helping him become a top 10 slalom water skier in the US
January  22, 2016, Portland, OR . . . It’s not often that a $20 book can transform your life, career and propel you to the top of national rankings in a sport. But for champion water skier and Oregonian Tom Carey, that’s exactly what reading “The Sports Mindset Gameplan” did for him. An athlete since the age of five, Carey had competed in various sports, and at age 60, he decided to take a different tack for competing at the 2014 U.S. National Water Ski Championships. Although he was always ambitious, he had never gotten the results he wanted while competing at the annual championships. This year, he committed to doing more than showing up.
The winter before the competition, a few copies of “The Sports Mindset Gameplan” showed up at his Beaverton facility Bio Force Youth Fitness. He grabbed on and went through it in meticulous detail, page by page, using it as his workbook. By the end, his goal was set to place in the top 10. And so, at the age of 60, when most people are seriously settling in to the thought of retirement, Carey competed and emerged in 6th place in the men’s slalom event.
“The Sports Mindset Gameplan,” written by Portland sports psychology consultant and SPINw director Brian Baxter, MA. It’s an interactive workbook designed for all athletes, from beginning to recreational to elite, and puts the mental focus back into physical training and performance.
“This is exactly what we had hoped the book would do—to transform […]

Goal Setting: Making your own Syllabus

by Brian Baxter, MA Sport Psychology

Most of the athletes I see come through SPINw are high achievers. They are high level athletes who are dedicated, self-coaches, and know how to push themselves. They don’t accept mediocrity. It’s these quality that get them to a high level in sports. but it’s also this quality that can make the overwhelmed and frustrated.

More often than not, these high level athletes are also high achievers in the classroom. Early in my career it was amazing to me how many 4.0 students come in to seek mental game training; now it’s just commonplace.

A collegiate cross country runner I worked with not to long ago was one of these high achievers in the classroom and on the field. A 4.0 student and talented runner on scholarship, she’d been struggling in her running for about a year, culminating in her refusal to run in an important event due to stress and anxiety. After a strong freshman season, she struggled with injury and sub-standard performances. She was beginning to question her abilities, her training, and herself as a runner.

I asked her to explain the difference to me between sports and academics. She said basically, for school, everything is spelled out for her: the professor gives a syllabus at the beginning of the year, and all she has to do is work hard, follow the steps, ask for extra help if needed, and do well on tests. But for athletics, there were too many factors she couldn’t control: injury, pressure from her teammates and coaches, and not meeting her own standards (“I’ve always been kind of a perfectionist,” she told me).

Goal setting is a great way to get the athlete to focus in on […]

By |December 18th, 2013|Goal Setting, Mental Game Training|0 Comments

Goal Setting –> Goal Achievement: A success story

 

by Jimmy Yoo

In the last newsletter, we spoke about setting resolutions / achievable goals early and using everyday challenges as motivation. For example, instead of waiting til the end of the holiday season to stop eating sweets, use the sweets as a reward.

For many of us, waiting till the last second is what we do. There was a high school athlete I once met with who also took this approach. This high school athlete, whom I shall call Jen, to respect this athlete’s confidentiality, had tried out for her high school basketball team. She felt she was prepared for the team tryouts because she had taken the time to stay in shape, mainly by playing another sport in the offseason; and she had participated in a majority of the captains’ practices in the off season as well. Therefore, she felt she had put in enough time to prepare her for the season.

When it came to the tryout week, her expectation was that she would easily make the varsity basketball team: one, because she was a junior in high school; two, she felt she had put in the time on the team to earn a spot; three, she felt she was in good shape; and four, she felt she had worked just as hard as a lot of the other players in the off-season.

To her surprise, three days into the tryouts, she was cut from the varsity squad and placed on the JV team. The head coach had pulled her aside that night and told her if she worked hard and had a good attitude, she could easily move up to the varsity team at some point in the season. At first she was crushed and […]

By |December 17th, 2013|Confidence, Goal Setting|1 Comment

“The New Year’s Resolution“ How to set Effective Goals

Have you ever wondered why New Year’s Resolutions so seldom stick? The New Year’s Resolution is about changing human behavior, which is no easy feat. (Trying to change it in the days after staying out all night and having a little too much champagne doesn’t make it any easier!)

The New Year’s Resolutions is a form of goal setting. In sport psychology research, literature, and practice, goal setting is the most consistently proven factor in facilitating peak performance. However, when goals are not set properly, they are not as effective as they could be, and can even be counter-productive.  This is almost always the case with the New Year’s Resolution.

Whether setting a New Year’s Resolution, or just a goal in general, here are the main reasons for failure:
1 – Too general
2 – Too hard or unrealistic
3 – Doesn’t account for unexpected events
4 –  No consistent check in
5 –  Lack of support system
Let’s take a common example of a New Year’s Resolution that is well intentioned, but destined to fail.

Goal: “I want to get in better shape this year.”

Sounds good, right? who wouldn’t want that? But, as is, this goal is destined to fail because it is 1) too general. What does that goal mean? How is it measured? If you go running 1 time in 2012, compared to 2011, when you went running 0 times, you have accomplished your goal! However, I doubt this is what you had in mind when you set that goal. It is too general; so let’s make it more specific:

Goal: “I will get in better shape this year by running every day.”

That sounds a little better, but will most likely fail because it is 2) too hard or unrealistic. Most people […]

By |December 8th, 2011|Goal Setting, Preparation|0 Comments