In September of 1999 I was selected by the U.S. Army's World Class Athletes Program to provide training in applied sport psychology to athletes who were training to represent the United States in the Olympic Trials and Olympic Games. In the course of this (and other) training experiences,three key mentoring lessons surfaced as being critical to the success of athletes and other performers, lessons that have continued to influence me personally and have the power to make a difference in all our lives.
This presentation will describe these lessons in detail and illustrate them with examples from the experiences of Olympic athletes.
Lesson #1 "It's all about confidence" will be dramatized by the story of U.S. Bobsled driver Jill Bakken who overcame a season of poor results and numerous injuries to win the gold medal in the first women's Olympic bobsled competition. Her story serves as a model for anyone pursuing success and excellence.
Lesson #2 "The higher the level at which you compete, the "lower" many things become" will be dramatized by the story of two U.S. track and field athletes who earned positions as alternates on the U.S. Olympic Team after rising above last second, unexpected, and discriminatory changes in their playing condidtions.
Lesson #3 The difference between victory and defeat is microscopically small will bre dramatized by the the story of the USA sled #2 in the 4 man bobsled competition at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. This team took advantage of s tiny window of oportunity to win a bronze medal in the competition, the first for the US in 46 years.
Nate Zinsser is currently the Director of the Performance Enhancement Program at the United States Military Academys Center for Enhanced Performance. He earned his PhD in sport psychology at the University of Virginia and has since become an AAASP Certified Consultant and member of the US Olympic Committees Sport Psychology Registry. Dr Zinsser also provides sport psychology training for the Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL, athletes in the US Armys World Class Athlete Program, and has conducted workshops in performance enhancement for neurosurgeons, musicians and management teams. He is the author of Dear Dr Psych, a sport psychology guidebook for youth sport athletes which won an American Library Association award, five textbook chapters on cognitive techniques for enhancing confidence, and numerous articles on applied sport psychology in trade publications.
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