My Favorite Article Ever!

My name is Dr. John F Murray. Thanks for either taking the online test or for specifically requesting to be on the newsletter list. My work involves mental coaching and clinical psychology services for people in all walks of life, but I particularly enjoy helping top performers in many areas to win more. Consultation is by phone or in person in the Palm Beach office, or occasionally at your location.


I'm not sure there has been a better or more accurate description of my sports psychology work in the brief article below. I particularly like this one as my client, Olli Jokinen, asked the writer to call me, the writer credited Olli's progressive approach toward sports psychology, and Olli is working hard and enjoying enormous success.  Olli claims that mental training before each game is key. Many thanks to columnist Jason Botchford and to Olli Jokinen for trusting in the process!

You can read the entire article below, or at one of these two links:
The Province website                         

Jokinen gives noggin a workout, too

Flames centre makes regular calls to sports-performance psychologist


When Calgary Flames centre Olli Jokinen was done lighting up the San Jose Sharks for a hat trick last week, he was quoted as saying, "It's all mental."

It seemed a mundane comment, and even routine. It was easy to overlook as just one of those shopworn things players say when trying to describe the incomprehensible. Why, on one particular night, everything just seemed to go their way.

At the time, few understood what it really meant to Jokinen, who, as it turns out, is one of the league's most progressive thinkers. And that night was the most concrete evidence yet that he's benefited tremendously from the two years he's spent exercising something many hockey players still ignore - the mind.

For him, it is all mental. Consider that just a few hours before the San Jose game Jokinen was visualizing a hat trick during a 20-minute phone session, with renowned Florida-based sportsperformance psychologist John F. Murray.

On that particular day, Jokinen had been expressing some frustration.

"The first time I mentioned 'picture getting a hat trick' was before that game against the Sharks," Murray said. "I had not said that to him all year long.

"I said, 'You want to help your team? Go out and get a hat trick.'

"He went out and got three goals. He told me that he could have had five," said Murray. "The bottom line is, a lot of it is suggestion, it's attitude and it's this reality - what you plan to do, many times you can accomplish.

"I don't think people come close to reaching their full potential. And I truly believe every hockey player in the NHL should be calling a person like me, getting ready for the game."

Hard to believe? They used to think so in golf, too.

"Every [pro] golfer has a sports psychologist or has tried one," Murray said. "There's a funny quote where 10 years ago, pro golfers said if you had a sports psychologist, you were kind of crazy.

"Now, if you don't have one, people think you're kind of crazy."

The Sharks game was a great moment in a revitalizing year for Jokinen, who scored in the shootout Saturday in the Flames' 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

Before the Vancouver game, Jarome Iginla called Jokinen's season outstanding. Jokinen had just scored five goals in five games. The season overall has been the best Iginla has seen him play since they were first teammates three years ago.

Head coach Brent Sutter echoed Iginla's comments, believing Jokinen has been a different player since November.

Remember, this is an organization that was publicly ridiculed for signing Jokinen to a two-year, $6-million deal. Now, with Jokinen on pace for his first 70-point season in four years, his deal looks like a bargain.

At 33, Jokinen has recaptured some youth, and he said it's not from a different diet, workout regimen, or offseason training method. It's been about sharpening his mind.

"Everybody is big in this league, everyone can shoot the puck and everyone can skate," Jokinen said. "Mental preparation, how strong you are mentally, those are the things that have made the difference."

So, about four hours ahead of every game, Jokinen spends 20 minutes talking with Murray, in a mental dress rehearsal during which the pair use imagery to prepare for what is about to happen on the ice.

"When you get older, you are willing to do whatever it takes to be good. That way, when you're done, you're not left thinking, 'What if?'" Jokinen said.

"[Murray] is not my coach, he's not my wife, he's not a family member. He's someone from outside and he's been a big, big help to me.

"In tennis, and in golf, those athletes prepare themselves to be mentally strong. If you lose your focus just for a few seconds, it can cost you. You can lose the puck in a fraction of second by losing focus.

"I was watching a tiebreak at Wimbledon, and thinking that if one of them loses focus on that one point, for a minute, it could cost them the entire match.

"Even if you play a team sport, you can use the same techniques they use to prepare yourself individually."

You can, but it's not common.

Although a few teams, and the Canucks are an example, will employ a psychologist, few players go about finding one on their own.

"Olympic sports, and sports like tennis and golf, individual sports, have been long been exposed to this and understand the importance," Murray said.

"The problem is, in team sports, you have regimented programs and often times controlling management or coaches.

"Management might have a fear of losing control. Or the player may have a fear that who they talk to, if they are paid by the team, will go back to management. So, there is not a lot of progressive thinking in the major sports. I think they are missing out.

"There is a huge frontier ready to be discovered on the mental side of performance."

Still need convincing? Go watch Jokinen play.

John F Murray, PhD
139 North County Road Suite 18C
Palm Beach, Florida  33480