At the age of 13, I began reading books about enhancing athletic performance. My athletic performance improved, and I played competitive ice hockey and later served as the assistant coach of the Penn State men’s hockey team. When my career as a competitive athlete was over, I turned my focus to studying the connection between mind and body. This became my sport and resulted in my earning two master’s degrees, one in exercise science with a specialty in sport psychology, and one in counseling psychology with an emphasis on the health and performance of athletes. I went on to complete a PhD in counseling psychology and postdoctoral training at Stanford Medical School. See my resume for more details on my training and background.
On a professional level, I have worked in a range of settings, including serving as the team psychologist for the US speed skating team prior to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. For the last several years, my work has been largely based in private practice, which has allowed me the flexibility to pursue a long-term “North Star” goal — to write a book about performance enhancement. Consistent with any achievement that starts with a strong desire, I am thrilled with the outcome: a book, a workbook, a short story, and audio recordings. My hope is that what I have created will have a profound impact on your athletic achievements as well as your performance in the game of life.
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Below you will find a discussion of the major sections of Gold Medal Mind with author Dr. Doug Jowdy breaking down the important aspects. We hope you enjoy!
I - INTRODUCTION
This book is about how to win on the scoreboard, and to do so on a consistent basis – consistency being what you and your coaches are looking for.
BUT, you will find I challenge every aspect of conventional wisdom about how to win.
Even many of the sport psychology books miss the mark when it comes to the essential factors that will lead to winning more. I believe this is what makes my book stand above the rest. What I present is simple but not easy, because of how deeply ingrained current beliefs maybe. So expect some resistance, or expect one step forward and two back, and then two steps forward and one back as you smash beliefs that have resulted in you being your own toughest opponent. There will be a learning curve with this mental stuff, just as you experience in the realm of the physical.
The significance of a man is not in what he attains but in what he longs to attain.
~ Kahil Gibran
II - GOLD MEDAL MIND
The first section of the book is dedicated to what I call the Gold Medal Mind and being a psychologically skilled athlete. I introduce concepts like “psychological victories” “turning your mind into a friend/weapon” and “five ring fever,” that set the stage for the pages that will follow. You will find several stories from my professional adventures to illustrate how there is always “more than meets the eye.”
"Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it."
~ Victor E. Frankl
III - THE CHALLENGES
The next several chapters will describe what you are up against. Yes, injuries, bad calls, equipment problems, crappy weather, a change in start time, plain ole politics, BUT also the person you see when you look directly into a reflecting pool. You against you and how you can “manufacture your own miseries” as they say in some circles. Yes, it might be painful to shed light on how you limit and/or undermine yourself, but I feel that is exactly what will lead to the growth you are looking for. The exact reason you decided to pick up this book. I invite you to embrace the challenges as learning experiences, especially the challenge you pose to yourself. Consider this maybe the real sport you are playing.
"From a Hindu perspective, you are born as what you need to deal with, and if you just try and push it away, whatever it is, it’s got you."
~ Ram Dass
IV - TRAINING METHODS
What wins games? Yes, force, acceleration, follow through, eye on the ball, endurance, execution of a specific defense, etc. but what wins games on a consistent basis is mastery over the mental side of the game. Just as you are physically skilled, and these skills lead to victory. Being psychologically skilled is what I call the gold medal mind. The gold medal mind is a product of practicing what I describe in detail in the book. With the development of a gold medal mind you may become more psychologically skilled than physically skilled. Doing so will lead to surprising yourself over and over again not only on the field, but in the game of life.
"Learning to use our mind as an ally can be one of the greatest gifts we learn through sport."
~ Doug Jowdy, Ph.D.
V - BEYOND EXPECTATIONS
What is being an athlete all about? Yes, training, training some more and ideally winning on the scoreboard. As you know, transcending the mental blocks you are gifted with is at the heart of it all. Bumping up against self-limiting beliefs at every turn can wreak havoc on your performance and pollute the enjoyment of being an athlete. The culmination of practicing all the training methods and embracing my philosophy will lead to you performing beyond your expectations, and surprising yourself time and again.
"Breaking through a self-limiting belief is just an invitation for another to emerge. The key is to enjoy this fact."
~ Doug Jowdy, Ph.D.
VI - CONCLUSIONS
Congratulations for crossing the finish line. The story does not end here. Upon reading the book, completing the workbook, reading the short story and answering the questions, listening to the audio recordings, checking out the recommended reading, you will have just “started the race,” because now your psychological fitness will evoke the curiosity to remain on the path of the gold medal mind. There is no limit to how psychologically skilled you can become!
"And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."
~ Paulo Coelho
PRAISE FOR THE GOLD MEDAL MIND
“Among the many things I love about this book is that it shares Doug’s unique voice. Doug is creative, brilliant, warm, and insightful, and reading his book is like getting a session with one of the best sport psychologists in the world. Practical, motivating, and inspiring, this book should help any athlete interested in sport psychology. Highly recommended.”
—Sean McCann, Senior Sport Psychologist,
US Olympic Committee