Each week, “Cerebral Matter” highlights articles, anecdotes, and analyses related to the psychological aspects of performance.
Head Games in auto racing:
The battle for the IndyCar championship is won on the course, but Helio Castroneves is trying to influence the outcome off the track.Sarah Palin is prepared to deal with pressure. After all, she was a sportscaster and still is a competitor.
Castroneves, who enters Sunday's Detroit Indy Grand Prix on Belle Isle 43 points behind driver points-leader Scott Dixon, has refined his strategy to include mind games with the New Zealander.
"I'm trying to do everything I can," said Castroneves, who will start on the front row with Dixon after turning in the second-fastest qualifying lap Saturday of 102.412 mph. "We're trying to get into his head."
Ian Poulter is fed up and sick of dealing with distractions:
"It's just so mentally draining to be in this position, to listen and read and to get all the b.s all week. It's seriously, seriously mentally draining."...
...“They are the people I feel really sorry for,” he said. “They are going to be feeling pressure as it is and you don't want to be standing over a three-footer with so much doubt in your mind, not knowing if the ball is going to run straight.”
Music is great to listen to on many levels. It can change a person's mood instantly – one of the reason athletes use it to mentally prepare for competition. But, did you know listening to those tunes can actually help one heal?
Modeling is how we learn. Young athletes emulate veterans in various ways. Players even choose their numbers based on who they love as kids:
“When I was in high school, I used to watch basketball and the Chicago Bulls,” Aceves said this morning. “Dennis Rodman was one of the best players at that time. The way he played, he played a lot mentally. He made the other players get frustrated.”Is your favorite coach really that valuable?
But you’re not nuts, right, Alfredo?
“But I’m not nuts,” Aceves said, laughing.
Can Nadal keep up his torrid mental pace?
“I think I help a little bit, him to play to this level,” Nadal said. “He played well today, but I didn’t play with normal intensity. I play a little bit less intensity than last few months for sure. Probably I’m a little bit tired more than usually.”…Is an addiction to crossword puzzles healthy? What is happening in your mind gym?
…Despite flying from the United States to Beijing and back in the last two weeks, Nadal said jet lag was not as much a problem as mental fatigue from a grueling season.
Maybe it’s ok to be bored…at least some of the time:
In a recent paper in The Cambridge Journal of Education, Teresa Belton and Esther Priyadharshini of East Anglia University in England reviewed decades of research and theory on boredom, and concluded that it’s time that boredom “be recognized as a legitimate human emotion that can be central to learning and creativity.”