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The Psychology of Performance: How to Be Your Best in Life

Tackle life's challenges and carry those dreams to the goal line-all with a little help from the science of performance psychology.
The Psychology of Performance: How to Be Your Best in Life is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 46.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great and very informative In first 5 lessions it been Avery good course and informative. I truly look forward to watching the entire course and reading the 235 pages text guidebook.
Date published: 2023-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic series This has been and continues to be helpful. Good luck everyone
Date published: 2023-03-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Informative and inspirational I am 80 years old, so the sports references were not so important to me; I do play tennis and golf and I wish I had had this course earlier in my athletic career. Two areas I do perform in are piano and singing, both in church. I play piano for one of the services and I sing solo occasionally, so Dr. Connor's tips for maximum performance really hit home. The course is well organized and well presented and I highly recommend it to anyone to whom performance is important.
Date published: 2022-09-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Course The course has good information and good application. I have been very pleased.
Date published: 2022-03-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Did Not Address My Needs First, I will say Dr. O'Connor Is an expert in his field. I am a musician and was hoping to find information on how to perform my performance. The videos are primarily aimed at the psychology of sports performance. What I took away from this course is find the best teacher or mentor to help you. I was very disappointed. I have heard musicians talk about the psychological aspects of playing, practicing and performing , but unfortunately did not find anything in this course that addressed these aspects.
Date published: 2021-08-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredibly helpful I took this course specifically to look for clues on how to improve my performance as a pianist. I have been playing classical music for 50 years. This course had things to teach me. What I didn't expect was to have it relevant to a huge spectrum of issues in my life. I listened to every lecture, even ones that were not relevant to my current situation, for example, how to be a good sports parent. Even that one was helpful because it showed how my own parent's stance towards my music and other pursuits may have affected the way I thought and felt about them. It was incredibly insightful and useful in unpacking a huge range of feelings. Yep, even though I am 50 years out! The aging athlete lecture was also helpful. I am very active and it is comforting to know I am not necessarily going to fall off a physical cliff in five or ten years. I loved the 91-year-old gymnast! I saw other reviews that were not favorable about the amount of research data shared but I liked it. The professor clearly knows his stuff and is constantly keeping his knowledge up to date. If only because it made me feel more confident in his conclusions, I thought it was good to include, even if only because it made me more confident in his conclusions. But I also found the data interesting, if not always actionable. It's good to know what you don't know, as well as what you do. A truly great course and a pleasure to watch as well. Great work!
Date published: 2021-04-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing If you are serious about your sports this is a must have course! It helped me better understand myself, improve myself and help my students as well! The teacher is very knowledgeable and engaging. It is very easy to listen and learn from this course.
Date published: 2020-09-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Seriously Amazing! Oh man, I took this course while reading Kaufman's, "Transcend" at the same time. They complement each other so incredibly well that I wouldn't have learned half the things I did from either one. This course is just amazing, from the first lecture to the last. The information has actually helped me with an upcoming research project. Highly recommended :)
Date published: 2020-09-04
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Learn how to use performance psychology and improve your mental, emotional, and physical game.


Eddie O'Connor

We are all performers, and we all have a psychology we bring to our performance.

Eddie O'Connor is a clinical sport psychologist who specializes in helping athletes, teams, and organizations improve performance by developing mental toughness and overcoming performance barriers. He received his B.A. in Psychology from Binghamton University and his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Dr. O'Connor is a Certified Mental Performance Consultant and a Fellow of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, a member of the United States Olympic Committee's Sport Psychology Registry, and a charter member of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science.

Dr. O'Connor has authored and coauthored numerous articles and chapters on sport injury and rehabilitation in publications including Principles and Practice of Primary Care Sports Medicine; Applying Sport Psychology: Four Perspectives; SportEX Health; and SportEX Medicine. His research articles on performance have been published in journals including The Sport Psychologist, Journal of Sport & Social Issues, and Journal of Applied Sport Psychology.

With more than 350 media appearances and speaking engagements, Dr. O'Connor enjoys bringing lessons of excellence to the public and large groups. He has presented to and consulted with numerous high school, club, collegiate, and professional teams and organizations, including USA Gymnastics, the American College of Sports Medicine, and Sportpartners USA.

By This Professor

The Psychology of Performance: How to Be Your Best in Life
The Psychology of Performance: How to Be Your Best in Life


Sport and Performance Psychology

01: Sport and Performance Psychology

Sport psychology uses psychological knowledge and skills to help athletes achieve optimal performance, while caring for their overall well-being and development. This lecture begins your introduction to a relatively new field, revealing the science behind the most appropriate cognitive and physical practices leading to top performance....

32 min
Deliberate Practice: Essential for Experts

02: Deliberate Practice: Essential for Experts

You say you don't have athletic talent? You'll be surprised to learn talent is overrated and can even become a disadvantage in the long run. Instead, discover the benefits of focusing your attention on practice-deliberate, purposeful practice with well-defined goals. That's the way to challenge your brain and body to grow and adapt to achieve expertise....

30 min
How Values and Goals Drive Performance

03: How Values and Goals Drive Performance

If you want to reach your best performance level, you'll need to answer this one very important question: Why? Identifying what you want your performance life to be about will help determine your goals and values, and they will guide you through the hard work, wins, and losses ahead....

27 min
The Benefits of Mindfulness in Performance

04: The Benefits of Mindfulness in Performance

Performers in any sport or art must be aware, intentional, and purposeful in focus, attention, and action. While the application of mindfulness meditation to sports performance is in its infancy, initial scientific studies reveal both short- and long-term benefits. Learn about the three major models of mindfulness and how to best apply them to your practice and performance....

33 min
When Positive Thinking Doesn't Work

05: When Positive Thinking Doesn't Work

We've all heard it: "Think positive! You can do it!" But when it comes to peak performance, is positive thinking a help or a hindrance? Cognitive defusion can help you see your thoughts for what they really are-experiences inside your head and nothing more. Gain the power of choosing which thoughts to follow and which to ignore....

29 min
Acceptance and the Willingness to Feel

06: Acceptance and the Willingness to Feel

All human emotions are based upon these basic four: anger, fear, happiness, and sadness. So why should you expect to be happy and positive all the time? That's only one out of four! Learn to accept the full range of your thoughts and emotions in order to free up your energy to focus on your performance goals and values....

34 min
Commitment Means

07: Commitment Means "No Matter What"

If you want to achieve your peak performance potential, you know you must be committed. But committed to what? To the behaviors that lead to success. Will you prioritize commitment to your art, your sport, team, coach-or to the long-term goals and values you set for yourself? Learn how that choice affects your performance....

30 min
Finding Internal Motivation

08: Finding Internal Motivation

What keeps elite performers motivated, continually sacrificing so much for their art or sport? Although coaches and parents sometimes think they are in charge of motivation, self-determination theory says humans have an inherent need for three things: competence, relatedness, and autonomy-to be good, to have connections to other people, and to be in control of their own lives. Understand your intr...

28 min
Using Imagery to Prepare for Action

09: Using Imagery to Prepare for Action

Athletes and coaches have believed in the power of visualization and have used it in their practice for decades. Now, medical imaging reveals exactly how imagery impacts the brain and the body's nervous system. See how musculature, respiration, and circulation are all stimulated for the betterment of eventual performance when this mental rehearsal is used to its best advantage....

30 min
Confidence and Self-Talk

10: Confidence and Self-Talk

Self-efficacy and sport confidence affect your ability to reach your practice and performance goals. But what are the sources of self-efficacy and how can you incorporate them into your life? Learn the ways in which instructional and motivational self-talk can work in your favor as a part of your training routine....

30 min
Developing Focused Attention

11: Developing Focused Attention

Focused attention is the single most important psychological skill for all performers, whether executive or athlete. But is it possible for us to fully control our attention? And what can go wrong when we try? Learn why hyper-accessibility will inevitably lead to problems and how the five principles of effective concentration can improve your performance outcomes....

29 min
Superstitions, Rituals, and Routines

12: Superstitions, Rituals, and Routines

What's the difference between an athlete's legitimate pre-performance ritual and a long-held superstition? Routines are always under the athlete's control and directly improve performance. Superstitions-which tend to be more prevalent among athletes the higher their achievement level and number of years played-include some magical thinking and are not directly helpful. So why are there so many sup...

29 min
Peak Performance: Getting in the Zone

13: Peak Performance: Getting in the Zone

If you've ever stumbled into "the zone," you know you want to get there again. Also known as flow, the zone is that time when you're doing your sport, art, or job without thinking, just flowing from moment to moment, completely immersed. Learn how to prepare mentally and physically to increase your chances of entering this optimal performance state....

33 min
Performance Anxiety and Choking

14: Performance Anxiety and Choking

Anxiety is normal, and every performer is familiar with its physiological symptoms. But it does not have to negatively affect your performance. Learn about Quiet Eye training and how it can be applied in a variety of athletic or artistic situations. QE techniques can help draw internal attention away from anxiety and refocus attention on the critical physical actions of performance....

33 min
Being the Perfect Perfectionist

15: Being the Perfect Perfectionist

Perfectionism is a paradox faced by almost all elite performers. It energizes achievement and contributes to success, but can also undermine performance and/or the enjoyment of success. Learn how to become a "perfect perfectionist," using its positive attributes to your benefit while avoiding the perfectionist's battle with feelings of shame and lack of self-worth....

32 min
Self-Compassion for Self-Improvement

16: Self-Compassion for Self-Improvement

Athletes know all about boxing up their feelings in order to get tough, get the job done, and cope with crises. But research shows routinely taking time to acknowledge and process your feelings affects the psychological variables that improve performance. Learn how specific exercises can help you increase self-compassion and get results....

31 min
Burnout and the Need for Recovery

17: Burnout and the Need for Recovery

The consequences of burnout can be devastating. Beginning with an exhaustion no amount of rest can relieve, burnout spirals downward through declining performance, frustration, decreasing motivation, and devaluation. Explore the underlying causes behind burnout, how to avoid and treat the problem, and the serious issue of burnout in today's youth sports....

32 min
Pain Tolerance and Injury Rehabilitation

18: Pain Tolerance and Injury Rehabilitation

If you're an athlete striving for your highest performance level, pain and injury are just part of the game. But pain is never experienced in a vacuum. See how, for each athlete, pain exists within a unique bio-psycho-social context-the matrix that influences the athlete's individual relationship to pain and the choice of association or dissociation strategies for moving forward....

30 min
The Dangerous Pursuit of the Ideal Body

19: The Dangerous Pursuit of the Ideal Body

Athletes can feel tremendous pressure to achieve the "ideal body" as early as elementary school. Consequently, although most of us recognize disordered eating and performance-enhancing drugs as problems, athletes can see them as short-term positives despite long-term damage. What does the latest research reveal regarding the health risks of methods many athletes use to improve sport performance?...

32 min
Fan Psychology, Identification, and Violence

20: Fan Psychology, Identification, and Violence

Teams need their fans, and fans need their teams. Uncover what the latest research says about the difference in the social and emotional health of higher- and lower-identified fans. Learn how being a fan can make you happy. Explore as well the risks and darker side of passionate fandom-not only does your level of identification affect your mood and enjoyment, but also your potential for anger and ...

30 min
Four Qualities of a Successful Team

21: Four Qualities of a Successful Team

Learn how the four correlates of teamwork-cohesion, cooperation, role relationships, and leadership-function together to best enable sport teams to reach their goals. No matter whether you're in the world of sports or business, the Team Captain's Leadership Model will show you how to lead by example to better your team and yourself....

31 min
Talent: A Developmental Process

22: Talent: A Developmental Process

Understand why the typical talent identification model works against the development of athletic talent in youngsters. Instead, turn to another model, the Developmental Model of Sports Participation, which research shows promotes the physical health and psychosocial development of all children involved in youth sport-in addition to most effectively promoting the development of specialized expertis...

30 min
How to Be a Great Sport Parent

23: How to Be a Great Sport Parent

Whether parents want to help their children develop into successful achievers in sports, art, music, or life, it's important to remember that everything you say and do matters. Learn how to avoid the most common mistakes sports parents make-words and actions that work against your child's goals and your own-and what you can say that your child always needs to hear....

30 min
Aging Athletes: Competing and Retiring

24: Aging Athletes: Competing and Retiring

Learn what it takes to keep up skills and performance levels as we age. With appropriate planning, older athletes can often compete well beyond the age of peak performance and even remain competitive compared to their younger peers. But the time will eventually come to retire from your sport, and the sooner you start preparing for that transition, the better you will feel about it....

33 min