Expert athletes understand the mind–body connection. For years, they have learned mental skills from coaches, consultants, and other practitioners in order to optimize physical performance. Now, these same mental skills are being taught to a broad range of performers, such as dancers, actors, lawyers, surgeons, business leaders, and rescue workers. The resulting new field of performance psychology allows performers from a variety of fields to "get their head out of the way so that their body can do what it's trained to do."
In detail, this book shows the everyday practice of performance psychology. Case by case, the stories demonstrate how consultants have helped performers develop confidence, overcome mental blocks, manage emotions, and use preparation techniques such as imagery and positive self-talk in order to achieve the best possible mental state for performance.
The chapters blend theory and practice by integrating literature reviews with real-world applications, and they cover a wide range of performers, including athletes, performing artists, business leaders, and professionals in high-risk occupations. Extensive session transcripts are provided, including the consultants' thoughts and reactions throughout the session.
Engaging, nuanced, personal, and highly accessible, this book will help practitioners and students from a variety of fields explore performance psychology…in action.
I. Mental Attributes for Peak Performance
The "Canon" of Psychological Skills for Enhancing Performance
Mental Preparation, Memorization, and Improvisation
—Foster, Lloyd, and Kamin
II. Performance Challenges
Working With Perfection
III. Performance-Related Consequences
Overtraining, Burnout, Injury, and Retirement
IV. The Consultant and the System
Adolescent Performers and the Family System
Hierarchical Public Safety Organizations
The Consultant as a Performer
About the Editor:
Kate F. Hays, PhD, (1943-2021) maintained an independent practice, The Performing Edge, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with a specialized focus on performance enhancement for athletes, performing artists, and businesspeople. She earned her master's and doctorate from Boston University in 1971. In New Hampshire following her graduate training, she directed a community mental health center and subsequently developed an individual and group private practice.
Her research, writing, teaching, and practice, both in New Hampshire and, since 1997, in Toronto, had been directed toward the mental benefits of physical activity and the application of sport psychology techniques to other performance populations as well as athletes.
Dr. Hays was the author of Working It Out: Using Exercise in Psychotherapy; Move Your Body, Tone Your Mood; and (with co-author Charles H. Brown) You're On! Consulting for Peak Performance; and edited Integrating Exercise, Sports, Movement and Mind: Therapeutic Unity.
A former president of American Psychological Association's Division of Exercise and Sport Psychology, she was the recipient of its Bruce Ogilvie Award for Professional Practice.