Psychology and Sports Sports Psychology Sports Psychology

Posted February 21, 2016

Matt Brown: There's a fundamental flaw in Ronda Rousey's psychology
By Damon Martin 

Ronda Rousey has been in the headlines all week after stating in an interview that she contemplated killing herself in the moments just after losing to Holly Holm at UFC 193 last November.

There have been a number of opinions expressed on the matter, but top 10-ranked welterweight Matt Brown said on the latest "Great MMA Debate" podcast that for all the flack that Rousey's getting for making what seems to be a shocking revelation isn't actually all that uncommon for fighters.
"She's just one of a million to feel that way. Every athlete that loses feels that exact same thing. She's not special in that regard," Brown said on the show.

The difference where Brown falls off the wagon to support Rousey is the fact that she said these statements nearly four months after losing to Holm.
Brown believes that Rousey still hasn't actually accepted the defeat because nowhere during her interview did her sadness turn to anger or determination with a focus on going back and beating Holm in the rematch.

Obviously, Rousey said that she was going to fight Holm a second time, but he didn't hear her pay any credit to the current champion for the win nor did she sound all that excited about doing it over again.

"It's a fundamental flaw in her psychology," Brown explained. "It's Day One s--t. I don't claim to be the best fighter, but I guarantee I have put in as much time if not the most time of any fighter you've ever met, I guarantee I put in as much if not more time on the mental side of this game, the psychology, the mental training. I'm constantly reading about it. I've probably talked to 20 different sports psychologists in my life.

"You had four months to deal with this. By now the lesson should be learned and you should be moving forward and I didn't hear that."

Brown also speaks to the example Rousey sets for the sport while appearing on nationally syndicated talk shows like "The Ellen Show" where millions of people are watching from around the world who may not be hardcore mixed martial arts fans.

Brown clearly understands the emotions Rousey felt after her loss, but he also says there's a way to express that while still being an example to kids as well as paying homage to your opponent for a job well done.

"Maybe she needed to do that. I could definitely be wrong in this. Maybe she just needed to go out and let it out a little bit," Brown said. "For me, I'd rather her as a representative for our sport, as a role model for young children, as someone that's representing our sport in front of millions of housewives who probably don't know anything about our sport, to go out there and talk nobly and honorably like a warrior. Give Holly her credit, accept what happened and talk about how she's going to move forward and do better. That's not what I got."

Posted December 15, 2015

Concussion Recovery Aided by Certified Consultants of Association for Applied Sport Psychology

CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio, Dec. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For an athlete experiencing a concussion, the process to wellness can seem difficult. Unlike physical injuries with observable signs, concussions are invisible injuries. Recovery time can vary, making it difficult to cope, but sport psychology consultants can provide support and educate athletes on injury response.

Dr. David Coppel, Director of Neuropsychological Services with the University of Washington Medicine Sports Concussion Program and Certified Consultant of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (CC-AASP), explained that each concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury, is different. He has spent nearly 20 years evaluating Seattle Seahawks players, as part of a multidisciplinary team, to make sure they are ready to return to action after suffering a concussion.

The complexities of having a concussion vary for each individual, as some athletes may have additional risk factors, such as attention deficit disorder, learning disabilities, or psychiatric/psychological concerns. According to Dr. Coppel, those factors can often prolong an athlete's recovery time. Young athletes with concussions also may be unable to attend school for a period of time due to symptoms, which leads to stress regarding academic success.

Sport psychology consultants of AASP help athletes of all levels deal with behavioral and emotional symptoms, such as a sense of vulnerability and "not feeling like themselves." They also provide support for impatience with recovery. The decision of when to return to play is crucial and key to preventing more serious injuries.

Athletes with concussions may also deal with guilt over letting the team down, anxiety about returning to play and fear of re-injury. Sport psychology consultants assist in developing mental coping techniques and goals to deal with frustration and isolation and can help to determine when the time is right to return to action.

"It is important to remember that in the vast majority of individuals with a concussion, they recover completely," explained Dr. Coppel.

The Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) is an international, multidisciplinary, professional organization with more than 2,000 members in 54 countries. The organization offers certification to qualified professionals and shares research and resources with the public via

Poster December 13, 2015

Building mental strength
Tennis Coach and trainer Krishna Kumar talks about the need for mental training for sportspersons.

In the highly competitive world of modern-day sports, sports psychologists or mental trainers have assumed a pivotal role. There is a clamour in every sports discipline for a mental trainer, as failure on the field is often attributed to a mental block or a lack of a killer instinct.

Arguably, the greatest rival for a sportsperson is not his opponent, but his own mind. How and why there is a need for a mental trainer, and in what can they enhance performance are the questions that are hotly debated. Metro Plus spoke to Krishna Kumar, a noted expert on the subject.

In a diverse and chequered career spanning three decades, Krishna Kumar has been a corporate executive, an entrepreneur, a tennis master coach, a B-school professor and a leadership/executive coach.

How relevant is sports psychology in modern day sports?

Sports psychology plays a critical part in modern day sports and everyone is realizing it. The other day, we had the Indian hockey team coach stressing on the need for a sports psychologist. Even former Test cricketers like Wasim Akram have suggested that the South Africans would do well to have mental toughness to counter Indian spin. When a player is in a pressure cooker situation, mental strength becomes an important component.

How different is your coaching methods as compared to others?

When I began coaching, I realized that teaching techniques, strokes and fitness alone is not enough, and one has to approach training in a more holistic way.

Taking a child and putting him through routine stuff like that is easy, but one needs to make him enjoy the game. I followed the Inner coaching methodology’, which has three key elements - Exercise, Education and Entertainment. Exercise is about fitness training, education is what one learns as techniques and entertainment is enjoying what one is doing.

Are qualities like positive outlook and mental toughness inherent or do they needs to be taught?

Developing a positive outlook is only one part of mental training. Mental toughness needs to be worked on and learnt using a proper methodology.
We can’t all be like Virender Sehwag, who calmed his mind by humming his favorite tune, before going on to smash the ball.