Sport & Performance

Two elements of leadership: Both are essential in a crisis

In this article, I discuss the importance of both task-focused and relationship-focused leadership in helping the people being led during a crisis. When I was in graduate school, one of the most fascinating projects I worked on was a class presentation on different styles of leadership. Research led me to conclude that there are two main styles of leadership. One is task-focused leadership which entails guiding the group you are leading toward the accomplishment of tasks. The second is relationship-focused leadership which concentrates of fostering good working relationships among the group members as well as between them and the leader...[more]

2020-05-10T22:44:31-06:00By |Categories: Psychology, Sport & Performance|

Rising to the occasion: How to shine through during a crisis

In this article, I discuss things you can do in order to stand out in a positive way during a crisis like the coronavirus pandemic. At one of his daily coronavirus pandemic news briefings, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo related a personal story which struck a chord with me. He said that one time when he was younger he told his grandmother about “a guy and a girl” he encountered who he thought were nice. His grandmother advised the young future Governor not to judge whether someone is nice when things are ‘nice’. She said that he should make this decision based on how the person behaves when things are hard. The story led to Governor Cuomo sharing examples of people he’s observed who have risen to the occasion through their impressive behaviour during the difficult time of the pandemic. That sparked the idea for this article...[more]

2020-04-26T23:00:00-06:00By |Categories: Psychology, Sport & Performance, Stress|

Swimming blind: A demonstration of coping with adversity by an Olympic legend

In this article, I discuss how to deal with unexpected challenges as demonstrated by Michael Phelps. In the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, American Michael Phelps sought to make history by becoming the first swimmer to win eight gold medals in a single Olympics. While this was a daunting challenge in and of itself, it became even more so when he was faced with adversity while swimming for the gold in his strongest event--the 200 meter butterfly. In the following sections, I will describe the magnitude of the challenge presented to Mr. Phelps, how he dealt with it and the lessons you can learn from his experience on how to cope with adversity...[more]

2020-02-16T22:10:27-07:00By |Categories: Anxiety, Sport & Performance|

The value of taking a break during the holiday season…and at other times

In this article, I discuss the benefits of taking breaks of various lengths at different points during your day, week, month and even your year. As many people do, I typically take some time off from my work during the Christmas holidays. This year, I made two decisions which will allow me even more time off: First, I decided to take a full two weeks off before returning to work on Monday, January 6th. In past years, I would return to seeing clients on January 2nd if it were to fall on a weekday. Secondly, I decided to take three weeks between blog article postings rather than the two-week interval to which I have religiously adhered for several years. That means that this will be my final blog article of 2019 and I will post my first article of 2020 on Sunday, January 5th. Both decisions made sense on their merits..[more]

2019-12-15T21:52:43-07:00By |Categories: Sport & Performance, Stress|

Lessons from an historic tennis match: Strategies you can use in your life

In this article, I discuss psychological skills used in the 2019 US Women’s Open tennis final which can help you succeed in many endeavours. I was riveted watching the historic 2019 US Women’s Open tennis final between Canadian Bianca Andreescu and American Serena Williams. Ms. Andreescu was seeking to make history by becoming the first Canadian of either gender to win a Grand Slam tennis tournament while Ms. Williams was vying to win her 24th Grand Slam title to tie the all-time women’s record. As much as I respect Ms. Williams for her talent and accomplishments, I proudly admit that I was cheering for my fellow Canadian to beat her. The 19 year old did so in impressive fashion, toppling in her first US Open a tennis legend who had the home-court advantage with the crowds squarely behind her. Although Ms. Andreescu won in straight sets 6-3, 7-5, the match was very entertaining and full of dramatic twists. As a psychologist, I found the match particularly intriguing because...[more]

2019-09-08T21:37:39-06:00By |Categories: Psychology, Sport & Performance|

Dealing with distracting thoughts: A good way and a bad way

In this article, I discuss the advantages of parking over thought suppression as a concentration tool. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I sometimes have clients who have difficulty concentrating because of distracting thoughts. These thoughts may be about worries regarding some upcoming event or challenge or could involve ruminating over some event or interaction which recently occurred. In these instances, the thoughts may distract the person from being able to focus on work or school tasks or from immersing themselves in an enjoyable activity which is intended to take their mind off their problems and the negative thoughts associated with them. There are two ways to deal with these distracting thoughts so that they become less of a distraction...[more]

2019-01-27T20:28:47-07:00By |Categories: Psychology, Sport & Performance|

Sports Psychology: How the Calgary Stampeders can Stay Sharp

Recently I was interviewed by sports journalist Ryan Ballantine of 3DownNation to look at how the Calgary Stampeders can stay focused on their road to winning the Grey Cup. We go over strategies on how to stay motivated when you’ve already made it to the playoffs. Even if you’re not a football fan, or compete in different sports, the core of the message will apply. Check out the full article at: h [...]

2019-05-22T14:46:09-06:00By |Categories: In the Media, Sport & Performance|

Inspiration from M*A*S*H: How to persevere to overcome adversity

In this article, I discuss how the key to success is often continuing to try ideas until you find the ones that work. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often get inspired by ideas from the media to help clients. One memorable example came from the long-running television show based on the Korean war called M*A*S*H which is set in a mobile army surgical hospital. Although the program originally aired many years ago, it still appears in reruns. One M*A*S*H episode was so moving in its focus on resilience and perseverance that it inspires me to keep going when I feel like giving up...[more]

2018-08-12T21:58:42-06:00By |Categories: Depression, Sport & Performance|

Burnout: How to prevent it and recover from it

In this article, I discuss how to avert and address burnout at work, sports and other activities. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often encounter clients who are suffering from burnout as a result of activities they are engaged in including work and sports. The primary symptoms of burnout are physical and mental exhaustion, actual and perceived decreases in effectiveness and negative attitudes toward the activity. These symptoms often lead to people quitting activities...[more]

2018-06-17T22:22:41-06:00By |Categories: Sport & Performance, Stress|

Dr. Pat on the Arena Podcast

The June 2nd episode of The Arena Podcast with co-Hosts Joe McFarland and Dave McIvor features a conversation with former Stampeders quarterback Andrew Buckley about how being a football player was kind of his Plan B. Also, psychologist Dr. Patrick Keelan discusses burnout in athletes.

2019-05-22T14:46:09-06:00By |Categories: In the Media, Podcast, Sport & Performance|
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