Dr. Darlene Treese
PO Box 547
Windermere, FL 34786
(480) 296-3358

New Office Address
2295 S. Hiawassee Rd,
Suite 309
Orlando, FL 32835
Phone: 407-278-1598 Fax:407-203-0803

Dr. Dar's Weekly News You Can Use:

Bringing Sports Psychology Into Your Life: Internal Distractors

Good athletes learn how to shut off their internal distracters and mute that negative sports commentator inside their heads. They learn how to passively handle negative thoughts and feelings by letting them go without worrying about them or using them to refocus attention on more positive cues. The ability to do this is sharply impacted by the level of adrenalin and arousal that they are experiencing - which is why they want to keep it at an optimal level for the task at hand.

When we experience a pounding heart or sweaty palms or a nervous stomach, most of us interpret that as a cause for concern and the negative thoughts take over. You may say to yourself "I'm really getting nervous. I hope I can control myself and hold it together. It will be so embarrassing if I get sick." You may feel an increase in the feeling of being judged and criticized by others as your own level of self-criticism increases. These thought increase our anxiety even more and they interfere with our ability to control and differentiate muscle tension levels and breathing. We sometimes become so preoccupied with our concerns and worries that we forget to check out our feelings and lose touch with that intuition and natural guidance system.

Great athletes take positive cues from the same reactions we experience. For a good athlete, a racing heart is a positive sign - it tells him that the adrenalin is flowing and that he's ready. It may also be his cue to check his muscle tension and make sure that he cues in to what muscle groups should be tensed and which should be relaxed. He becomes aware of his rhythmic breathing and knows that this is coordinated with perfect timing. In some sports like rowing, breathing at the wrong time can get you out of rhythm with the rest of the crew! A good athlete takes what would have been a negative signal to us and uses it to his advantage.

Next Week: Bringing Sports Psychology Into Your Life: Visualization and Mental Rehearsal, part 1