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

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
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Best Course I Have Ever Listened Too! This was an exceptional product. The professor was warm, engaging, and BEYOND knowledgeable. There was so much research presented to back his points; it was fully absorbing, and I learned how to manage a difficult work project as a result of listening the professor. I am in-debt to the Great Course. Everyone needs to have access to this course. It is life changing.
Date published: 2020-05-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly recommend! Good for novices, but also proves resourceful for intermediates and advanced practitioners.
Date published: 2020-04-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent I'm halfway through and very happy with this course. I especially appreciate the presentation of the various methods of mental/psychological skills training and the details (supported by research) about what actually works/doesn't work in specific applications and why. It is well organized and well presented and would be very helpful to anyone who is interested in improving their performance at any level by integrating mental and physical skill set development. In my case I'm just a retired senior citizen trying to lower my golf index (14) to single digit.
Date published: 2018-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from practical mindfulness I've watched other courses were mindfulness is discussed. Dr. O'Connor makes the application of mindfulness concrete and specific, presenting the concepts in a manner readily understood and applied.
Date published: 2018-12-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing & Extremely Applicable Content I bought this course in audio format as I was interested in psychology in general, but more specifically how it could be applied to my life, work, sports, and fitness, and this course seemed to cover it all! The content is extremely useful and interesting as everything that I learned, from mindfulness meditation to realistic goal setting, was stated in clear and concise language that was easy to understand, so don't be afraid of the academic jargon or lofty theories as he breaks it all down for you point by point. He does cover a wide range of topics and I did find myself more interested in the lectures in the first half of the course more than the second half, but it was still an interesting and informative learning experience overall. A word of caution to anyone who does buy the audio format as he does use a few visual examples in the video format to illustrate some points, but it was nothing that my imagination couldn't picture so I didn't feel like I was missing anything. I will definitely be re-listening to this course in the future!
Date published: 2018-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent for players, coaches, and parents. I bought this course about a year ago and listened to it at least a half dozen times. As a youth baseball and softball coach through the years as my kids were growing up and now as a private instructor, I've always been impressed at how much a part the mental game plays in the success of an athlete on the field and in life. Parts of Dr. Eddie's lectures reenforced and clarified what I've learned through the years, like his balanced and realistic approach to having a Positive Attitude, while newer concepts opened new doors to me as a coach, as with his explanation of the PETTLEP model of Imagery. These two concepts alone were worth the price of the course. For example, I was able to help a twelve year old student of mine who was having a tough time dealing with hitting the curveball develop an effective game plan and improve his confidence at the plate through the process of Imagery and a Deliberate Practice plan. The "Quiet Eye" training was also helpful in keeping stay focused on the moment. I've used these concepts mainly in the athletic arena, but I see how they can be used in all areas of performance. I highly recommend this program, whether you're a performer, parent or coach!
Date published: 2018-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The title says it all. After listening to this and just being more aware of what is going on, I've noticed vast improvements in my life. From my time at work to sport and my family, everything has noticeable improvements. I promise this is worth your time to listen to. Dr O'Conner is also a genuinely nice guy. He returned my emails promptly and for that and the time he spent making this course, I am truly grateful. Goggles
Date published: 2018-11-07
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The Psychology of Performance: How to Be Your Best in Life
Course Trailer
Sport and Performance Psychology
1: 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
2: 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
3: 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
4: 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
5: 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
6: 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 "No Matter What"
7: 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
8: 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
9: 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
Eddie O'Connor

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


Illinois Institute of Technology

About Eddie O'Connor

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.

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