Psyched to Win, by Robert Nideffer, PhD

Dr. Nideffer refers to “Centering” in Chapter 8 of Psyched to Win as a technique, borrowed from the martial arts, whose purpose is to instill feelings of emotional control. These simple breathing and cuing exercises are used to calm and relax both the mind and body.

Center of Mass

Your Center of Mass is located one or two inches below and behind your navel. If one can consciously bring one’s attention to this point, one feels grounded or centered. In Dr. Nideffer’s article he describes the importance of keeping a balanced stable lower center of mass. This balanced foundation allows athletes in all sports to be ready to react swiftly and efficiently to any situation.

Anxiety or negative thoughts alter an athlete’s center of mass, making one feel clumsy, self-conscious, and off balance. An uncentered athlete makes physical mistakes, usually leading to more anxiety and negativity. Dr. Nideffer teaches a few simple techniques to help an athlete re-center and re-focus:

Cue Words

Dr. Nideffer teaches athlete’s to re-center with cue words. These cue words remind an athlete of the feelings of being centered. He uses such words as “Balanced” and “Fluid” to re-create physical centering and words such as “Confident”, and “Focused” to re-create psychological or emotional centering. Dr. Nideffer combines these cues or trigger words with a relaxing, deep breath (from the diaphragm) to re-center an athlete.

If you want to learn more about Centering and Attentional Contol Training:

Dr. Nideffer discusses ACT in an entire chapter in a book entitled Applied Sport Psychology.

Visit Dr. Nideffer’s web site at (Click on “Articles” and read the article entitled: “Preventing Choking”).

If you wold like further information on Centering and or Attentional Control please Ask Coach John. I would be happy to help you improve your performance by utilizing this valuable tool. 800-608-1120  

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