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Posts by John Gassaway, PsyD

Self Talk: The Way We Interpret Reality

Simply observing our environment and the stimuli in it would appear to show us reality, pure and simple; what we tell ourselves (self-talk) about what we observe, however, is the way we interpret reality. When things in our lives and our environments don’t go according to our plan we all experience stress. While we may…

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The Power of Imagery

Using your mind to enhance your performance, return from injury, learn new skills, and motivate efforts towards goals are just some of the advantages that can be realized through the power of imagery. Imagery is the process of creating or recreating experiences in the mind using all of the senses. Since imagery is an internal…

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Facing Fear (part 3)

Facing your fears can be very difficult, but not doing so may result in many missed opportunities, self-doubt, avoidance, and low self-esteem. Fear produces hot sweats, clammy hands, muscle tension, tightness in the throat/chest, difficulty breathing or increased respiration, fidgetiness, and shakiness. With these symptoms it can be very difficult to concentrate and focus on…

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Returning to Performance after Injury

It is almost inevitable that performance in sports and exercise will, at some point, result in a struggle to return to performance after an injury. The extent of the injury, circumstances in which it occurred, and availability of resources will have a big impact on how an athlete recovers, which requires return to form, time…

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Finding the Right Kind of Motivation

When it comes to drive, sustained efforts, consistency, and maximizing potential, finding the right kind of motivation is essential. Motivation can be broken into two primary categories: internal and external (sometimes labeled intrinsic and extrinsic). Internal Motivation Internal motivation comes from your passion and desire to engage. With this, little incentive is needed — the…

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Facing Fear (part 2)

When facing fear and developing a plan to overcome some difficulty, it is important to use progressions. Setting a plan in motion that allows you to gradually increase the exposure to the fear will ultimately result in greater tolerance of fear, mastery of emotional control, and working through challenges. Though this process can be modified…

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Performance Demands

Athletes face performance demands in many contexts; regardless of emotional state, feeling ill, or daily stressors, an athlete’s performance is supposed to remain unaffected. However, some performance demands can be unreasonable. Athletes are asked to place their performance above all else and, depending on their league, team, coach, teammates, etc., the commitment can be well…

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Overcoming Fear (part 1)

Many athletes will have to face fear as a result of increasing levels of competition, returning to sport after injury, personal challenges, disagreements with coaches, and not living up to their own expectations. Depending on the sport, these fears can relate to actual fighting (full contact sports), injury risk skills (gymnastics), or even defying death…

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Communication with Coaches

Communication is one of the most important aspects of learning and coaching, and therefore communicating with your coach is an essential part of enhancing your performance. Coaches should be respected, trusted, and deferred to for your training. If you don’t feel that you can respect your coach, if you question their suggestions or motives, or…

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Living with Gratitude

Living with gratitude Having gratitude and then living with gratitude can enrich your life in numerous ways. When we appreciate what we have or what we have experienced we are much more likely to enjoy ourselves and our environments. Instead of looking for what we want or regretting what we missed, we become more engaged…

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