Sports Psychology, Peak Performance and Overcoming Fears & Blocks

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Overcoming Performance Fears and Blocks In All Sports


Are you struggling with a seemingly mysterious peformance problem? Have you or your athlete suddenly lost BASIC abilities?

FINALLY understand where this FRUSTRATING problem comes from and what you can do about it! 

Injuries, Performance Slumps, Blocks, and Fears

     Sports PTSD- Sports post-traumatic stress disorder


On April 12, 2003 Chicago Cubs’, ‘corky’, controversial homerun slugger, Sammy Sosa was corked (sorry, I couldn’t resist) in the head by a pitch. Since that beaning, “Slamming Sammy” has been more like “Fanning Sammy.” He’s hit only one home run, has struck out 40 times and is in the midst of a prolonged batting slump. Simply put, he hasn’t been the same since he was injured. In this special issue of the Mental Toughness Newsletter we’re going to explore EXACTLY WHY. What a lot of athletes, parents and coaches don’t realize is that underpinning most repetitive performance problems, slumps and blocks is one or more physical or mental injuries or “trauma.” The trauma can be an actual physical injury like a broken wrist, torn ACL, badly sprained ankle, a painful collision with an opponent, a bad fall off the horse, or, like in Sammy’s case, getting hit by a pitch. The trauma can also be more psychological and emotional rather than physical. For example, sometimes the fear associated with a fall in the gym is much more profound than the actual physical injuries sustained. Or in other situations, the athlete can be badly embarrassed or humiliated in front of his teammates by his coach or suffer some other form of negative performance experience, i.e choking, failing, getting cut from a team, etc. These physical and emotional traumatic experiences seem to lodge themselves in the athlete’s mind and body (neurology and physiology), immediately showing up as performance problems right after the trauma, or lying dormant for any number of weeks or months before rearing their ugly little head. These kinds of trauma-based performance slumps are particularly resistant to more normal kinds of intervention by parents, coaches or even other sports psychologists. It seems that no matter what the athlete, parents or coaches try, the performance block or slump will not release its’ nasty grip. Of course, the athlete’s futile efforts to extricate himself only leads him deeper and deeper into the maze of increasing frustration, decreasing self-confidence and increasing anxiety that always seems to make the whole situation that much worse.

For years I have been battling all kinds of performance problems in athletes as well as other performers outside of sports, (public speakers, test takers, performing artists, etc.). With many kinds of performance difficulties I have had great success. However, with these fear based, trauma induced performance problems I have had only mixed results. It has been a very humbling and frustrating experience for me. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had my share of successes, but as far as I was concerned, there weren’t enough of them in these situations. It just seemed that these SPORTS PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) problems resisted the treatment model that I had developed and perfected over the years. That left me feeling intensely frustrated and inadequate. Why? I am a puzzle solver. This is what I do. I love solving performance problems. When I can’t, it makes me very unhappy. My unhappiness and frustration led me on a quest for answers. I knew that I was missing something very important. I just knew that there had to be a more effective way of working with these more resistant, trauma-based problems. Sometime last year, I found exactly what I had been looking for….the solution to Sports PTSD! SOMATIC EXPERIENCING (SE) and BRAINSPOTTING.


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