Sport Psychology, Hypnosis and Golf: A Commentary

In the last fifteen years, helping players on the PGA Tour as a sports psychiatrist, I have rarely heard the term hypnosis used. However, hypnosis is often defined by a state of attentive and receptive concentration, with a relative suspension of peripheral awareness that is common when players are playing their best. This timely article… Read more »

Performance-enhancing drugs: Where should the line be drawn and by whom?

ABSTRACT The integrity of sport is predicated on the assumption that all athletes compete on a level playing field. Unfortunately, the use and abuse of performance-enhancing drugs has become ubiquitous, creating complex challenges for the governing bodies of individual sports. This article examines the complexity of these issues within the world of professional golf, major… Read more »

What Are Eating Disorders?

An eating disorder is marked by extremes. It is present when a person experiences severe disturbances in eating behavior, such as extreme reduction of food intake or extreme overeating, or feelings of extreme distress or concern about body weight or shape. A person with an eating disorder may have started out just eating smaller or… Read more »

Acute Performance Failure

“Choking” is a colloquial term that is used to convey the phenomena of acute performance failure under perceived stress. However, acute performance failure is not a homogenous phenomenon. In the sport of golf there appears to be at least three entities that produce acute performance failure – panicking, choking and the yips. All three of… Read more »

Anxiety Disorders

What is an anxiety disorder? Anxiety disorders are extremely common. Women have a 30% chance of developing an anxiety disorder in their life and men have about a 20% chance. Everyone experiences anxiety. Anxiety is characterized by an unpleasant, vague sense of apprehension that often is accompanied by increased heart rate, tightness in the chest,… Read more »

Athletic Peak Performance

So much has been written about Athletic Peak Performance – being in the zone or being in “flow states.” What is the “ZONE” It is a state of mind where athletes perform at their highest level. Time may slow down. A 90 mph fastball may come in slow motion, a phenomenon that baseball great Ted… Read more »

The Biology of Positive Thought

Can we really choose to always think positive? The concept of free will refers to our ability to choose what we do and what we think. Imagine an Olympic ski jumper moments before leaving the gates suddenly flashing on the possibility of crashing. The athlete must make a choice to let the thought pass and… Read more »

Eric Heiden – An excellent example of a process-oriented athlete

In 1981 in “Introduction to Organic Chemistry,” I found myself sitting next to five-time Olympic Speed Skating Champion and U.S. Pro Cycling Champion, Eric Heiden. To this day, people ask me what it was like and I remember that Eric was on the cover of Time Magazine, Life Magazine and Sports Illustrated only one year… Read more »

Headgames – Getting in the Zone

In 1976, I was in the final of the United States Junior Table Tennis Championships in Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, when a strange event happened to me that forever changed my life. My opponent, Perry Schwartzberg, was the United States’ best junior player and I certainly was not of his caliber. However, prior to… Read more »

Mood Disorders

What are mood disorders? Mood disorders are very common and, in fact, some studies suggest that each individual has up to a 20% chance to develop a mood disorder in his or her life. Mood disorders come in two common variations. Generally individuals will either have a depressive disorder or a bipolar disorder. What is… Read more »