Taking Sports Psychology Into The Future
It is now an exciting time of evolution in the field of psychology, and specifically, sports psychology. The theories underlying how people are helped to improve their lives are changing. Since the 1940s psychological methods, especially sports psychology, have reflected the theories of behaviorism (based on the primary belief we are as we are because of our behavior). The neurological sciences are now reshaping psychological methods. NeuroTherapy Training reflects a new model for psychology called the neurological model (based on the primary belief we are as we are because of the inner working of the brain and body). NeuroTherapy Training is the most modern approach to aid athletes in improving their performances. Beyond that, though, it is a process designed to improve people physically, chemically and mentally enabling them to have self control over any aspect of their lives; any weakness, be it physical, chemical or mental in nature.
The focus of NeuroTherapy Training is on teaching people to improve the activity of the brain, actually train the brain in order to gain self control. It is known that the activity of the brain, thoughts and emotions, are electrical and chemical eruptions. NeuroTherapy Training actually incorporates a modern mental training process called SUBVERBAL SHIFTING® that dramatically reduces the damaging electrical-chemical basis of negative emotions such as fear, frustration or anger. It directly reduces the physiology of negative emotions.
Training the brain to actually diminish the thought-emotions onslaught that gets in the way of effective athletic performance is a brand new approach. The majority of sports psychology approaches used today still involve older methods that try to modify specific golfing behavior. Even hypnotherapy programs used with athletes that are said to involve mental reprogramming or “subliminal programming” are outdated with what is now known about effective psychological improvement.
NeuroTherapy Training is a mental training approach that improves the physical, chemical and mental aspects of a person. The question asked by those concerned with helping themselves or others improve athletic performance may be, “What do you mean physical, chemical and metal weaknesses? I’ve got good physical ability it is the mental level that needs improvement.” NeuroTherapy Training gives the athlete a more realistic understanding of things that impair athletic performance. It teaches them that the activity of their mental level, their physical level and their chemical level affects all aspects of their lives including, and very importantly, athletic performance. NeuroTherapy Training is, a very intense training program in disciplining the mind to make improvements in all three levels.
To understand the impact of all three levels on athletic performance, let’s take a hypothetical example. J.R. is a professional golfer playing the PGA tour. He had a great rookie year, won two tournaments, and now he’s struggling. He’s had to requalify six times and faces losing his card. He is thirty-two years old, married with two small children. His wife is divorcing him. He faces regular bouts with an ulcer. He’s had trouble with consistency and has dropped out of the top thirty in hitting greens and fairways in regulation. He’s complaining to the sponsor that the clubs just don’t feel right, he’s messed around from titanium shafts to steel shafts to graphite shafts. His teacher says his swing is fine, that he just needs to relax, take his time and focus more on where the ball is going.
Traditionally, athletes like J.R. or serious non-professionals, have worked extensively on their physical game. The real problem may not be their stance, swing or technique or, if it is, that is easier to address. They are not maintaining a consistency in the good techniques they know, and tend to blame it on the mental level, lack of concentration.
It is true, the real problem lies with things the mind is doing or not doing, but better management of mental processes demands improvement of physical and chemical, as well as mental levels. NeuroTherapy Training offers athletes a more sophisticated understanding of how the mind works and how that affects the body. It also gives them a powerful mental training program to improve the functioning of all three levels.
NeuroTherapy Training teaches that what the mind does emotionally lies at the root of one’s problems. A more sophisticated understanding of emotion, though, shows that emotional responses are made up of physical, chemical and mental factors.
Back to J. R. He has undoubtedly much emotion being stimulated with a failing career, a failing marriage and money pressure. What is this continual emotional bombardment doing to him? At the physical level he has high levels of stress. Emotions trigger stress in the body. The more electrical impulses continually being stimulated in the brain, the more stress. In the fine muscle responses demanded in the game of golf, this physical stress will make changes in his swing and other physical aspects of his game, even his stamina. Further, emotion is made up of neurochemicals produced by the brain that flood the cells of the body. This constant dumping of neurochemicals has been proven to play a role in conditions like ulcers. When his ulcer is hurting he will not play as well.
With the more sophisticated understanding of the mind taught in NeuroTherapy Training, J.R. would learn that his chemical level is undoubtedly out of balance. Internal chemical balance is essential for effective performance. More obvious chemical imbalances may exist in the areas of blood sugar (or with women, hormonal imbalances). J.R.’s constant emotional bombardment is causing the pressure of stress on the physical body, which is known to create or aggravate chemical imbalances. Let’s say he eats inconsistently, eats a lot of sugar, smokes or struggles with an alcohol problem. In order to effectively perform, the brain requires an effective chemical balance, especially in the area of blood sugar, which is the brain’s fuel. His lack of concentration or inconsistent performance could be significantly triggered by a constant fluctuation of the brain’s fuel. As part of NeuroTherapy Training J.R. would learn about the effects of chemical imbalances on the mind. He would be taught an uncomplicated way to improve basic chemical imbalances that may be getting in the way of performance.
Now to J.R.’s mental level. Examination of the mental aspect of athletic performance is currently in vogue. Most approaches to sports psychology talk about the need to concentrate, or advise the athlete to emulate the 10 traits of a winner and even try to help people rate themselves as more left or right hemisphere dominant.
Certainly the mental aspect of athletic performance is key. In fact it is key to responses to all aspects of life. The core concept of NeuroTherapy Training is that our responses to emotions are the basis of most all of our physical, chemical and mental weaknesses. At the mental level J.R. may worry, “If only I could concentrate better and hold that concentration for 18 holes,” But he can’t. That is because constant bombardment by the physical and chemical effects of emotion, which he doesn’t know how to stop, causes his mental level to work less efficiently.
When the brain is sensitized by emotion it cannot do other functions effectively, functions that are required for effective athletic performance. Yes, J.R. must manage emotion and concentrate better but the mind has to be disciplined to do that, disciplined daily and disciplined effectively just as the body is disciplined. NeuroTherapy Training instructs and trains J.R. in a daily disciplining of his mental level.
Through effective mental training, J.R. would find that when he is standing on the tee he would not be as vulnerable to his mind wandering or to the responses of rising fear. As he walks between holes he can mentally “let go” of the bad shot he just made. He will find his ability to visually practice his game or see the shot ahead is much more powerful and intense with the regular mental discipline he learns to use as part of NeuroTherapy Training.
NeuroTherapy Training is not about having an athlete visualize the ball going into the hole or visualize the perfect shot. It takes a step back; it teaches the athlete that the mental level must be disciplined daily just as they have disciplined the physical level. It shows how there is a much more important reason for mental discipline than the act of visualizing an effective shot. I have been proven that mental responses, especially emotional responses, affect how we function physically and chemically. Also there are physical, chemical and mental weaknesses behind any symptom from which we may suffer, be it a phobia, an ulcer or an ineffective golf swing.
NeuroTherapy Training is a modern and realistic approach for athletes desiring to improve their performance. It focuses on training their brains in ways that improve the weaknesses causing their inability to concentrate, their inconsistent play, their frustration and other problems that keep them reaching their full athletic potential.