Live Like An Athlete: Sport Psychology 101

By Erin Sharoni | CBSSports.com staff

What goes on in an athlete's head when standing at a free throw line in front of 20,000 screaming fans? How does the man in net keep calm after he's given up a huge goal?

Clearly, the brain is just as important as the body when it comes to athletic performance. Throw in the pressure factor of a high stakes playoffs series, and headspace becomes even more crucial.

Denise Shull, founder of The ReThink Group, is a performance consultant and leader in the field of risk psychology and who coaches Wall Street traders to improve performance by embracing their emotions. Turns out that high stakes marketplace performance isn't all that different from high stakes athletic performance; Shull has also worked with golfers, NFL players, and British soccer players and their coaches, applying the same principles.

The key factor, according to Shull? Feel the fear. Pushing emotion aside or trying to ignore it is part of an old psychological model which does not work.

"Emotion is a fundamental data point in the brain and therefore needs to be treated with respect. When a coach tells a player to 'just get over it,' that can often make the situation worse."

In this episode, Shull offers practical advice that listeners can apply to improve performance of all kinds in their own lives, whether on a court or at a desk. Her book, Market Mind Games: A Radical Psychology of Investing, Trading and Risk is available on Amazon and at bookstores. You can follow her on Twitter at @DeniseKShull.

You can download this episode here. Be sure to subscribe to us on iTunes, submit your questions for future guests at LikeAnAthlete@cbsi.com, and send a tweet to @ErinSharoni or @CBSHurc. Keep it clean. Just like your plate.

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