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PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT

(Monday, June 11 - 8:45 a.m.-10:15 a.m.)

CARL ULLRICH: We hope you are as excited about this program this morning as we are. It seems that as coaches and administrators over the years, we've spent millions of dollars, many hours through the night and through the days working on the x's and o's in the various parts of our jobs in competitive athletics. We have many exciting things ahead, but we've shorted dealing with the athletes' minds. This morning we're talking about challenging the motivational aspects of what we do. It's a great privilege for Joan Cronan and I to be co-moderators this morning and we feel that we have some exciting folks who you will be hearing from and we hope you will have questions later on. I was fortunate to be at West Point at the same time as our first speaker this morning, Lou Csoka, who was in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership. It was obvious that Lou was not only in the leadership business, but was also involved in the athletic business. Lou has been a pioneer in setting up the Performance Enhancement Program aspect at the Military Academy. He's been an outstanding soldier, a scholar and indeed, a great contributor in the business of competitive athletics. It's a privilege to introduce, CoI. Lou Csoka. LOU CSOKA: Thank you very much, Carl. It's only fitting that an Army guy follow a Navy guy. It is a pleasure and a distinct honor to be here with you and to talk to you. You are a distinguished group and, obviously, influence athletics tremendously. It's personally exciting for me to talk to you about an area that is very important and one that surrounds all of us today. It is an area where the future is now and one that, hopefully, after our discussion this morning, you will have an interest in, if you haven't already. That of course, is sports psychology or a special part of it which we call performance enhancement. I would like to start off by showing you a video, which will, hopefully, peak your interest and give us an overall introduction to performance enhancement. Jody and I will talk about performance enhancement as we approach it at our university. Let me assure you that anyone who is doing this, is doing very similar things because you begin to see very quickly, there is a body of knowledge in this area. Performance enhancement is a technology derived from psychology and the sports sciences. It is the education and training of athletes in those techniques that help them to obtain high levels of performance and to perform to their full potential. The final determinant of peak performance in athletics is the mind. In American sports we have not paid much attention to the mental preparation of our athletes until very recently. Most of athletes' and coaches' attention have been on the physical and skilled training. Yet, all coaches agree that the ultimate difference in successful performance is made by mental factors. Sports scientists have found that, in general, 90 percent of all education and training efforts emphasized the physical aspects of an athlete's performance and only 10 percent on the mental. Of course, the physical and skilled training is absolutely essential, but not sufficient for reaching peak performance levels. The ability to play calm and relaxed, focused and concentrating without negative thoughts, to be able to see yourself literally successfully performing, are the marks of champions. Performance enhancement training can help an athlete reach these mental states, especially under pressure and stress. The scientific and technological approach to this type of training has taken it out of the realm of mysticism and made it an integral part of an athlete's overall preparation for competition. LOU CSOKA: What is performance enhancement? It is an education in training program. It is a skill's training program that is geared towards working with individual athletes to enhance their abilities to perform. Who gets educated and trained? Individual athletes, teams and coaches. The critical aspect of this training involves a program where we work with a team's educational basis, primarily. The meat of the program is working with individual athletes as consultants and aids to coaches where they see fit. At the Academy this year, we are going to start a coach's clinic. We're going to make a IG-hour performance enhancement program available so they can understand how to train their athletes as well as themselves. Who does this? It is critical that you understand that there are qualified people out there who are trained in this field. There are three qualifications necessary. First, it must be a person who is well educated in the field of psychology and behavioral sciences. That person should have some sport experience themself. Having a perspective of an athlete gives a tremendous insight into the application of these techniques. Finally, that person needs to have good interpersonal skills. He should be able to relate to athletes and to young people, to the administration and to the coaches. What is needed to establish a program? First and foremost, it is the support and participation by coaches. You also need to have the athletic director's support. You need facilities and equipment. You nl to have high-tech facilities and equipment to capture the young athletes. Through the use of audio video m bio-feedback, we were very much able to help our athletes. What is being taught and trained? We use a list of things and when we get involved we work with all these. Many people focus on one or the other, but I feel it's an integral process and one that all athlet need to work on. Jody will follow up on this list later on. We use bio-feedback which is nothing more than an audio visual way of receiving feedback on your abilj to regulate internal mechanisms which are key indicators of stress and pressure. I'm talking about blood pressure, pulse rate and other things of that nature. You might be interested in knowing that our athletes are able to get very low pulses. An example is our punter, who gets his pulse down to 30 beats per minute, is deeply relaxed and is wide awake. This is not hypnosis. I don't want to do hypnosis because I want the athletes to be comfortable in the fact that they are regulating themselves and learning the skills they can translate to the field. In addition, for coaches, I have added these topics: a philosophy of coaching motivation and the ability to motivate athletes. But, really, the ability to have athletes motivate themselves. I teach not have the coach become the motivator, but to have the athlete become self-motivated. If athletes rely on t coaches as the motivator and the coach is not there, all of sudden you have lost your main source of motivation. We teach coaches about motivation so they can teach the athlete self-motivation. Communication skills are essential, not only the ability to communicate, but the ability to listen. More important, is body language. Phychologists have shown that over e5 percent of our communication is non-verbal. Coaches should be able to know what messages to send to their players. Leadership is critica We rely on our coaches to be leaders and to teach our athletes leadership. Athletics is a wonderful arena which to learn basic fundamental values which we all cherish. It's a great arena to do that in if the athletes are taught properly. Finally, as coaches, we teach them about creating a climate. The climate and culture of your critical in terms of what those athletes will become in terms of their values. What does a systematic program look like? It is in three phases: an education phase, a training ph~ and a practice phase. The education phase is done primarily with the teams. If a team desires to work w us, we get together with the entire team and give them anywhere between nine to l2-hour classes teaching 1 the basic concepts. Athletes need to understand what they're doing, why what they're doing will work and follow-up. Once those classes are over, it is important that the remainder of the program be voluntary. have to be able to put in the time and effort. They need to work every day for about l5-minutes and that requires some dedication, but it must be voluntary. We try to improve an athletes self-image, and their goals. We want to teach them how to recover able to calm themselves immediately on the field or on the court. I want to emphasize that these are that can be learned whether athletics or otherwise, it's just a matter of time. Once an athlete learn: we Bee improvements, not only in their performance, but in everything they do. Does it work? Yes, it Many surveys I take show me how many athletes Bay this program was the "key" to their success. The bottom line is more than athletic performance. These are life skills that are applicable to everybody, whether you're an athlete, a teacher, a coach, or an executive director. The learning of ti skills can enhance performance and without drugs. JOAN CRONAN: Thank you Lou. We're all in the business of competition and we're talking about the cutting edge. person who says they can and the person who says they can't are usually both right. I'm going to intrc young lady who says she can. She is currently the director of student services at the University of Mi Thank you very much. which means besides working with sports psychology, she also counsels and works with substance abuse. She received her doctorate from Florida State University. She is a former player and coach and led her swimming team to two national titles. She's a well-known speaker at conferences and has just recently finished a chapter in a book on sports psychology. Please help me welcome Jodi Yambor. JODI YAMBOR: Thank you, Joan. It's my pleasure to have the opportunity to speak to you today about performance enhancement. At the University of Miami, our Psychological Services Program has three components; performance enhancement, counseling and substance abuse. I'll talk more about performance enhancement in a minute. In terms of counseling, that area of our program is headed up by Dr. Malcolm Caan who is a clinical psychologist and the assistant director of our Counseling Center on campus. He works with our staff and student athletes to help promote positive mental health. He helps them to learn about various adjustment issues and how to cope with loss, eating disorders and career and academic counseling. In the area of substance abuse, we're fortunate to have an individual who provides the educational services for our student-athletes in terms of alcohol, crack, steroids and in terms of co-dependency issues with our student-athletes. The Psychological Services Program at Miami is a broad-based program and one which we feel reflects the combined efforts of the athletic department, the academic and support components of the University and the community of Miami and Coral Gables. For any program to work, you need to have support from the top. Due to Sam Jankovich's desire to provide the best possible opportunity for the growth and development or student-athletes, he was the first athletic director in the country to hire a full-time enhancement performance specialist. With our program, we reel that it's critical that we educate the entire staff about our program. Everyone knows the type or services we offer, how they'r --ovided and where they go to get these services. As Lou mentioned, it's critical that you have the coach's support. That's why we ask to have the coaches present when we speak to the student-athletes. Just being there and showing their support is a great amount or help to us. Most coaches will say that the mental aspect or performance is 50 to 90 percent or the success or the performance. Coaches are constantly telling their athletes to concentrate or to relax, but unfortunately, most coaches don't know how to teach these skills or don't have the time to teach them. That's where the performance enhancement specialists come in to help and assist the coach. We like to provide continuing education throughout the year for our student-athletes and staff and not just the one-shot meeting, but continuing meetings throughout the year. This can be accomplished through team meetings. We work with some of the teams as a whole. Sometimes we work with individual athletes or coaches or staff members. Sometimes we provided seminars on panels on different areas of interest. One specific seminar we will conduct this summer is for coaches' wives which was suggested earlier this year. I'm sure that all of you have experienced that time or day in sport where everything just seemed to go right for you. You performed flawlessly, you were great, you were fantastic. Well, in sports psychology, we call that a peak performance. All elite athletes have experienced this type of performance throughout their career, and hopefully, very frequently. There are a number of different aspects or components to peak performance and athletes may have experienced all of these or just a number of these different aspects. Generally, when they perform at their peak, they have no worry or fear, they have a sense of inner-calm, they feel loose, good or great. They also just know that they're going to do well. They're very positive. They're also in the here and now. They're not worrying about the past or thinking of the future. They are also having a lot of fun out there. They're excited. They have an extra-ordinary awareness. Athletes will say they actually knew where a teammate was going to be without having to look, or they knew a move their opponent was going to make. We call this a sixth-sense. Also, when you perform at your peak, you're very much in control. The mind and body are totally working as one. There's no separation. You're totally trusting yourself and performing to your optimum. Due to student-athletes having experienced this peak performance, these performance enhancement techniques are really nothing new to them. Most good athletes and coaches are already using performance enhancement techniques to some degree. All they really need to do is to refine and develop these skills a little more. Goal setting is one of the main areas of performance. Goal setting has been found to be 90 percent effective. One of the problems with goal setting is that a lot of times the athletes are not specific about it and they don't develop the plan to achieve their goals. They don't establish enough goals for practice. Athletes and coaches always set goals for competition, but not as frequently, set goals for practice and that's extremely important. In terms of arousal and anxiety management, every athlete has what we call an optimum level of arousi for performance. Generally speaking, this was a moderate level of arousal. Each athlete is different though, so it depends on the athlete. We need to teach the athlete how to moderate and control that arousi level. If their arousal level is too high and they're too nervous or excited before they compete, we need teach them some type of relaxation technique so they can calm themselves down. Oftentimes, athletes when competing against an opponent they perceived not as good as themself, might down. They need to increase or raise their arousal level so they'll be closer to their peak performance level. Concentration is the ability to focus on the relevant cues in your environment for the duration of event. Athletes make mistakes in this area. They fail to attend to the appropriate cues in their environm or perhaps they attend to too many cues in their environment or not enough. They may be thinking about a b shot they just took or a play they're going to make in the future. Sometimes athletes are focusing too muc on their body mechanics instead of just allowing the performance to happen. Visualization involves creating or re-creating a sensory experience without the usual external stim Visualization is not just what you see, but the things that you hear, the things that you feel. You want have your whole body and mind involved in this visualization. Visualization is a very powerful technique can help athletes in their performance. I'm sure all of you have used it sometime. It's a common technij Perhaps on the putting green, you've used it by visualizing making the putt. I'd say about 50 percent of athletes I work with are already using this to some degree. Whether you're aware of this or not, there is talk going on in our minds. It can be either positivI negative. This talk that's going on can have a tremendous effect on your performance. The goal in this i obviously, would be to increase the positive talk. Make sure the athletes are saying good and positive ti to themselves. We want to try to decrease the negative thoughts they're having. There are a number of Wi to do this. Through thought stopping procedures. The main thing we want to do is to help the athletes become more positive about themselves and their performance. It's also very important that the student-athletes can communicate with their teammates, coaches and with their support staff. It is extremely important that the teams get along well together and work toget as a whole. If everyone is not working together and everyone is not putting in their best performance, th the team's not going to perform as well as it could as a whole. One of the most important things about these performance enhancement techniques is that they're physic skills. Just like any other physical skill, they need to be practiced on a daily basis. They need to be practiced regularly. Most likely, athletes are not going to be great at these skills of relaxation and visualization the first time they try them. But, they need to practice them over and over just like a physical skill. The mental skills training takes time and it takes practice. It's not a magic feather and it's not something that will work overnight. It is something that the athlete needs to dedicate himself to throughout the year. It's also very important when you work with student-athletes that you start at the beginning of the season with them. Work throughout the season. You want to incorporate, if you're lucky enough to work with teams, it's best that you include your sessions during their regular practice. That shc how important it is and that it is a part of the practice. Ideally, the coach will work with you and incorporate the skills into their practice. That way, they can work with the physical and mental skills together. It's very helpful if the team and the coach see you as almost some type of assistant coach. Perhaps they'll see you as a specialty coach. That way they feel much more comfortable with you and they can relat to you. It's very important that you develop a good rapport with you coaches so they'll feel confident in using your services. There's a slight negative connotation associated with psychology. Many times coachef think psychologists only deal with problems. That's not true. If the performance enhancement specialist if working with the athletes from the beginning of the year, they'll help to alleviate many of the problems. should be looked upon as something to help improve performance, not as anything that is negative. It's not necessary, but it's very helpful, if you're lucky enough to work with the student-athlete wt one of your most outstanding athletes on campus and who is also very outspoken in terms of your services ~ supports you with his coaches and teammates. It can be a great help and a boost to your program. One of the most common problems with student-athletes is that they have excess muscle tension. This negatively affects their performance. It tends to slow them down. They get tired more quickly. It hurtf more and they tend to worry and have more negative thoughts about their performance. This is one of the easiest problems for a performance enhancement specialist to help an athlete deal with. They could help alleviate this problem by teaching the student-athlete various relaxation techniques and, perhaps, by the ~ of visualization. I'd like to show you a number of slides with some quotes and comments made by student-athletes that were involved with the performance enhancement at the University of Miami either ona team-basis or on an individual basis, or both. Most athletes who seek individual help say that they need help learning how to relax. They really aren't as focused as they'd like to be during their practice and competition. As Lou mentioned, motivation is critical in practice and especially for student-athletes whose sports are played in both semesters so that they'll be practicing for a very long period of time throughout the year. It's critical that they keep their level of motivation up during the long season. Most athletes have not had the opportunity to pursue performance enhancement or learn about mental training. Some day I'd like to see every athlete at every university have this opportunity to pursue this mental training. I feel this is a growing field. There weren't many universities, not too many years ago, who had strength coaches. Now every university athletic department has one. I see performance enhancement going in that same direction. By learning to relax and conserve their energy and focusing and preparing for their events, athletes tend to perform much better. The performance enhancement technique of visualization can also be used to speed up recovery both from injury and illness. This is a very new area in terms of sports psychology. Sometimes athletes who have been involved in their particular sport for years and years and have been extremely competitive, have gotten a little burned out. Sometimes they need to realize what got them interested in the sport in the first place As I mentioned, concentration is critical. You're going to play the way you practice. That's why it's extremely important that you utilize and practice these skills in practice. When first teaching a performance enhancement skill to a student-athlete, I ask them to practice a skill in a relaxed setting. Next they'll practice the skill in a practice setting, next in a practice competition and, finally, they'll be ready to utilize this skill in the competitive setting. Athletes who learn performance enhancement techniques are much less likely to choke, if you will, and they're likely to come through in the clutch situation to perform their best. As Lou mentioned, these performance enhancement techniques that we talked about are life skills. Although most of the athletes I work with at the present time want to develop these skills to help improve their sport performance, we also talked about the transfer of these skills into the academic arena, into social settings and in using these skills later on in life in their careers. Performance enhancement at the University of Miami involves not only improving the performance of the student-athlete on the court or in the pool, but also promoting their peak performance in terms of giving of themselves and of their skills and talents to the community. We're also involved in academic excellence programs where students from schools in the area who have performed best academically, who have not missed a class or who have shown the most improvement, are invited to the University of Miami to be paired up with our student-athletes. We will show them around the university. When we talk about peak performance at the University of Miami, we're talking about developing all of your God-given talents to the maximum potential. Not only developing to the maximum potential, but also in terms of sharing them with others and sharing them with the community. CARL ULLRICH: Thank you very much. As we planned this program, we wanted to take it out of the laboratory and put it out where the rubber meets the road. We wanted you to hear from a coach who is involved in enhancing performance. I'm not sure how many times in the last seven years I've had the privilege of introducing Coach Jim Young, but I can assure you that it has always been done with great pride. Jim is a great x's and o's guy, but there are a million of those and we know that. As administrators, we all know that we can pump millions of dollars into a program into equipment and facilities. We can even have a lot of talent. But, without a great leader of the program, we're probably not going to be successful. Jim is a great organizer. He is someone who deeply cares about his athletes and lets them know that. It's my privilege to introduce the head coach of football at the U.S. Military Academy, Jim Young. JIM YOUNG: Thank you. It's a success tha be here this morning to discuss performance enhancement. I'm not talking from an area of expertise, but I think what we do with our athletes from a mental standpoint is a very important aspect in any success that we're going to have. I've always felt that. The mental aspect is the would important element that you have going for you if you're going to have any success. -lifter. The changes that have effort to the mental aspect. Back about 30-years ago, you just didn't lift weights because you programs, the diet and all of the things that are key towards building an individual up physically so that he changes that have come into the program over the years are the development of strength program, running program, the diet and all of the things that are key towards building an individual up physically so thathe ould There are four concepts that I think are important for a program to be successful; Development of the team attitude relies on the mental aspect more than anything else. The word attitude certainly implies that. of your college whatever it may be. Once again, that involves the mental aspect. Poise, certainly, is where the relaxation techniques and the mental aspect become so strongly into play. The ability to handle stressful situations whether it be as a team or as an individual. We like to think that is an area we can handle in order to have success. The third area doesn't pertain that much to the mental because that's talking about the system of football. The fourth area which has always been an important part of the program is that we want to take the basic motivation techniques, the basic learning, the basic organization that is out there. It is not necessarily in the sports world. You can get a lot from psychology. You can get a lot from management and business. Take all of these and try to use those within your organization. Once again, we're dealing with the mental. So, I think over the years most coaches end up dealing the majority of the time wit the mental aspect. It is probably an area where we have less knowledge in than any other area. I first became interested in the mental aspect of the program back in the 1960s. I read a book on the use of visualization and I found it fascinating. So, I proceeded to get about every book pertaining to visualization, psychology, believing, positive thinking, whatever. I took a course at the Success Motivation Institute to get as much knowledge in this area as I possibly could. In the late 60s at the University of Michigan, we first started using visualization. At first, we just used it with our defensive football team. We used to do it as a full team. We would turn out the lights at our meetings and visualize different situations. I tried to sell it to our players. When I went to Arizona as a head coach, we continued as a coaching staff to use visualization. I've always used it individually and I always present it to the team in a team manner. When you become the head coach, it's a little harder to accomplish. It's much easier to do within a position area rather than with t entire football team. In 1976, at Arizona, we had an edge seminar where the edge group came in and presentE a program to the staff and families. They then presented a 14-hour program to our football team before the season started. This seminar was on positive thinking, goal setting; self-esteem, etc. I felt that was a successful program. When I moved to Purdue, we continued to use visualization. The second year at Purdue I hired a frienc of mine to come in without an organized program, nothing like we're talking about today. We brought a coup] of marshall arts experts in to demonstrate different things to our team. We used some bio feedback. We blindfolded our defensive linemen because the idea was that a blind persons senses improve. If you were blindfolded, you would start sensing the double team coming in on you, etc. He was able to relate to the players and we had some success that year. We didn't continue that program because we were 9-3 that year and the next year he wanted to charge me a lot more, so I didn't keep him on the program. We also used the edge program at Purdue at that time. When I came to the U.S. Military Academy, I was very interested in the use of visualization. A progr was presented to me my first year that was in the Physical Education Department. It dealt with deep relaxation, with focusing and concentration. It was a well-organized program and one that I could relate to. That program was not an effective program for us, because before we had sold our coaching staff progra we involved someone from the outside. We put it in with the entire football team. It was a forced program It was a big mistake at that time. If there's any knowledge I have, it comes from the fact that the progra must be one that is part of your prograul and is a supplement to your entire program and not an independent program in itself. I also learned that it must be a volunteer program as far as the players are concerned. The last three years we've worked with Lou and he has done an excellent job in presenting the program. The motivation is the coach's responsibility. True, motivation has to come from the individual, but it's the coach's responsibility to motivate and provide the motivation. That motivation should not come fr an outside source. The program should be presented to the entire team. At West Point we present the progr approximately five or six times at team meetings so that they understand what the program is about. After that, it's up to the individual to go into the program if he wants to. That's very important. My mistake trying to enforce what basically has to be an individual who's motivated and wants to learn and develop. I has to be the individuals who want to do it. It's important to realize that it isn't mumbo-jumbo. By the There are many aids that you use. All of the things we do every day ultimately total up to whether we're going to have a successful program. This can be a very important aid. It's important to realize that ther is no easy way to success. Simply visualizing, and only visualizing, is not going to mean that you'll be successful. It's important to understand relaxation. Relaxation to a lot of people implies that you don't get u for games. That isn't the proper use of relaxation techniques. Individuals who have learned the relaxati techniques can then apply those in their competition. It's important to realize that relax does not mean there is no emotion involved in the game. When we deal with the positive, we must realize that there's al going to be negative present. Everything I do as a coach certainly isn't positive. I try to get feedback from the players and I get feedback that I'm too negative at times. Maybe I am. But, my point is, you can't be totally a positive individual because that isn't involved with the total aspect of coaching. I don't think that positive thinking alone is the answer. As far as our football program is concerned, there are three areas I try to emphasize with the team. One, is we say we build our program on pride, poise and team. All of those elements are very strongly tied to psychology. They're strongly tied to the mental. I tell our players individually that if you believe that belief plus action equals success, when you see yourself winning, then you're going to be successful. Belief alone will not be enough. You have to put that into action and action is the practice. Action is all of the things to go into being a successful individual. But that belief and action will make you successful. Once the game starts, we talk to our players about two things. Play the whole game and realize we need to be ahead at the end of the game. If you get up early, that doesn't mean anything. If you're behind early, that doesn't mean anything. Play the whole game. Within that ability to play that whole game, play each individual play. Play each individual play and then forget about it. If you have great success, you don't relax the next play and let the opponent run the kickoff back on you. By the same token, this is where the ability to concentrate, relax, visualize and all of those things come in so much. When you make a mistake, don't stay there and create another mistake the next play. Forget about it and move into the next play. Whether we use sports psychology, performance enhancement or visualization, these are the same things needed to be successful. The enchancement program can greatly help our players handle situations such as playing one play and playing the whole game. There's no questions that this has great application to the outside. It has great application individually. Self-taught visualization is something I've done over the last 2O-years. It is something I would have done whether coaching or not because I feel it is a very positive statement. Thank you very much. CARL ULLRICH: I hope there will be some questions. FROM THE FLOOR: For those who participate, how many hours in week, per season, do they participate in performance enhancement? JODI YAMBOR: It's different for different athletes. It depends on their sport. It depends on their level of commitment. We ask them to practice these skills on a daily basis, so hopefully, they're working on it on their own 15 or 20-minutes per day. In terms of working with myself, I'd say an average of one hour per week LOU CSOKA: Being in the military, we're more regimented. I try to get athletes to work on it half an hour each day. They usually come in two or three times to the Center. We give them video tapes they can take to their rooms and study at their leisure. If you do it more than that, you'll lose their attention. CARL ULLRICH: On behalf of all of us, thanks for being with us today. Don't forget the 10:15 a.m. session.