Friday, December 10, 2010

Moving on...

I'm happy to announce that HPC is moving on to an easier and more accessible format for sharing information - facebook!

Schedule a session or continue to receive updates on upcoming lectures, workshops, trends in the field, etc by (1) clicking here or (2) clicking here, CONTACT, and then using one of the various ways of reaching me.

Thanks so much for your loyalty!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Psychology of Coaching Teams Conference

On May 20th, Boston University's John McCarthy (leading researcher in coaching psychology) is putting on a Psychology of Coaching Teams Conference through his Institute for Coach Education. It is a 1 day affair. If you are a teacher, you can receive PDPs for your involvement (talk to me about that - I'm running the PDP section). Below is the link to the blog and registration information.

It will be a really exciting conference with some powerhouse leaders in the field of coaching - and as an added bonus, you can hear me speak about how we are using caring climates and relational modes of communication to help kids transfer skills from athletic environments to the streets, classroom, family...

Friday, April 2, 2010

2nd Annual Coaches Clinic

On April 10th, Ramsey Rehab will hold its 2nd annual Coaches Clinic. Not only will you have the opportunity to hear yours truly dazzle the crowd with a talk on " Sport Psychology: Tools and Techniques to Build Team Cohesion", you'll also hear lectures on Sports Concussions, Nutrition, Coaches Guide to Strength and Conditioning, and a variety of other topics.

I spoke at the 1st annual Coaches Clinic and was impressed by the breadth of topics covered over the course of just a few hours. If you are interested, contact John at 978-353-0030 as soon as possible because space is limited.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dissertation Defense

For those of you interested in how we can use sport to promote urban high school students' academic and socioemotional development, consider attending my dissertation defense this Monday, March 22nd, at noon at Boston University's School of Education. The defense will be held in the Pi Lambda Theta Room, Rm 250. Please let me know to expect you if you do plan to come (either comment on this post or email me at so I can ensure there is enough seating. I hope to see some of you there!

Here is a synopsis from an advertisement:

Laura Hayden will share her results from a mixed-methods investigation that assesses the fidelity of Team Support, a physical activity based youth development program, to Hellison's Personal and Social Responsibility Model. Her research also addresses perceived outcomes of participating in Team Support as they relate to under-served youth psychosocial development within an urban public high school.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Self talk: Using positivity to trump fear

My column in the November issue of The Wingfoot Express, Greater Boston Track Club's regular newsletter, featured an article this month on the effective use of self talk in performances. Read on...

Self talk: Using positivity to trump fear
With Cross Country Nationals and the beginning of indoor track season upon us, GBTC athletes have a lot on our minds. For the cross country folks, months of training and racing will culminate in one final performance. For the track folks, the pulsating pressure of the indoor season awaits us. While we take measures to ensure we are constantly improving our physical fitness, we have a tendency to neglect the role of mental fitness in our performances. Today, we address this role.

We have all experienced the sense of dread that accompanies excitement prior to a race. The knowledge that we will be in severe pain and fatigue for the near future can be paralyzing; however, we have ways to counter these negative thoughts. Self- talk, an essential component of cognitive control, can either enhance or inhibit performance. Positive self talk can raise athletes’ self-esteem and encourage us to remain in the present rather than focus on past negative thoughts, feelings, or performances. Negative self-talk can cause us to engage in behavior that reaffirms our negative thoughts, thereby suggesting to us that our original negative thoughts are correct. While research suggests that peak performance usually occurs when athletes are not thinking about their performance, rather we are acting automatically, athletes often do think when we are performing and therefore require tools to change our negative thinking to positive thinking.

Running, a solitary and rather painful activity, provides many opportunities for athletes to engage in negative self-talk. Statements such as “I can’t do this,” “I’m tired,” “I just want to stop” run rampant through runners’ minds during performances. How do we change these thoughts?
By recognizing our negative thoughts and coupling those thoughts with thought stoppage techniques and positive thoughts, we can redirect our attention and, therefore, our behavior to enhance our performance. Negative thoughts can lead to negative feelings that can lead to negative behavior that can lead to poor performances. This pattern suggests the importance of eliminating negative thoughts by consistently using a thought stoppage trigger. We should use a trigger word that works for us. If you are having trouble coming up with a word, try the word “stop”.

As a negative thought enters your mind in training or racing, such as the inevitable common thought during the second mile of a cross country race, “I can’t do this - its too hard - I want to stop,” say out loud “stop.” After you tell yourself to stop, give yourself a short true positive statement to repeat to yourself. For example, after saying “stop,” say to yourself, “hang,” meaning that you know you can hang onto the runner in front of you, you’ve done it in the past, and you can use this knowledge to push through your negative thoughts. Make sure you have selected your thought stoppage trigger word and your short positive statement prior to training or competition, so you don’t have to think while you’re in distress, you can just act automatically.

Let me give you a personal example. In a cross country race two years ago, three minutes into the race, negative self-talk crept into my mind. I told myself “Stop. You always feel better after the first mile. Just make it to the first mile.” Once I crossed the 1-mile mark, I told myself to stay within 2 yards of the woman ahead who was wearing green. When my mind told me I was tired, I reminded myself “2 green, 2 green, 2 green.” This caused me to focus less on my negative thoughts and more on my competition. I pulled myself up to the woman in green and focused my energies on her while chanting the constructive phrase “2 green.” I then beat her by over a minute. As someone who tends to underperform in cross country races, if I can use thought stoppage and positive reframing to enhance my performance, so can all of you.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Coaches Clinic Presentation

Thank you to those supporters who attended my presentation today on the effectiveness of a youth development model with a Boston Public School. If you missed today's presentation, you are a coach, or you are just looking to develop your sport psychology knowledge base, consider coming to Ramsey Rehab's first coaches clinic this Saturday in Leominster. I will be presenting on how coaches can use communication to motivate their athletes in a healthy and effective way. Other professionals in the medical and athletic community will be discussing a variety of topics, including concussion management, proper nutrition, dynamic pre-game warm up programs, and basic strength training for adolescents.

Monday, October 12, 2009

WIP Presentation

I will present my up-to-date research findings on how physical activity can foster the socio-emotional development of urban youth on Wednesday, October 14th from 12:30-2 pm at Boston University's School of Education. If you are a member of the BU SED community, check out the presentation. You're in for a treat!