FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Tips & Techniques Performance Psychology

It’s never too late to have your best day
In the world of performance psychology, as in life, what stands out are extremes, the really good days, the spectacular events, the colossal failures. Since we are hardwired to pay most attention to negative information, errors and setbacks are generally more emotionally powerful, and their memories more long-lasting, than successes. From an adaptive standpoint, it’s clearly in our best interest to focus on, and hopefully correct or avoid, mistakes.

07/08/2013

Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P., aka Dr. Fish


Maximizing your brainpower
Successful fishing is a complex process requiring mastery over your intellect, emotions, and behavior. To consistently catch fish you have to be able to think clearly, control your emotions, and act efficiently, displaying both urgency and care, depending on the issues at hand.

03/06/2012

Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P., aka Dr. Fish


Emotional meltdowns: What they are and how to avoid them
What gets the attention of sports media faster than an athletic performer or coach who “loses it,” goes berserk or otherwise has a public emotional meltdown? If you said “nothing,” you have the right answer. Normal, reasonable, conventional behavior is boring; it does not draw an audience. Media leaders know what psychological research confirms: We are biologically hard-wired to notice stuff that is bizarre, odd or otherwise out of the ordinary.

04/05/2011

Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P., aka Dr. Fish


Collaboration necessary for optimal success
Familiar folk wisdom speaks to the advantages of many over one: No Man Is an Island; In Unity there is Strength; Two Heads are Better than One; and so on. However, far too many competitive anglers fail to recognize the wisdom in these sayings. Instead, they press on as rugged individualists, relying on themselves when they should be finding allies and asking for help.

01/26/2011

Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P., aka Dr. Fish


The 2010 tournament season is well under way, and the standings in your circuit probably look like the pattern found in most competitive venues. Several perennially good anglers are near the top of the AOY race, and with them are a few new names. Back in the pack are guys who do OK, but who are not typically standouts. Next to them in the standings, however, are a few good sticks having tough years.

07/13/2010

Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P., aka Dr. Fish


Welcome to 2010 and a fresh tournament season! Without a doubt, this is one of the most exciting and emotionally charged times for competitive anglers. Last year’s triumphs are fondly remembered, while the mistakes and poor showings of 2009 are mentally whittled away and forgotten.

01/27/2010

Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P., aka Dr. Fish


The foundation of performance psychology has been built by academic researchers, the scientists whose tireless laboratory work eventually leads to the practical exercises presented in books and articles such as this. This month I will highlight recent research findings that can benefit anglers, with emphasis on Levels of the Game suggestions for beginner, intermediate and advanced competitors.

10/07/2009

Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P., aka Dr. Fish


First off, I need to apologize to you, my readers. For the last couple of months I’ve been delinquent in getting out these Performance Psychology and Competitive Fishing columns. However, I have a reasonable excuse: I have been busier than usual with my own competitive fishing career.

08/07/2009

Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P., aka Dr. Fish


Competitive anglers typically go through an annual process of re-evaluating both fishing goals and angling techniques. For most of us, the offseason is a good time to review last year’s successes and failures and to recognize our recurrent mistakes. Breaks in tournament schedules allow us to create new goals and then develop plans to improve.

05/01/2009

Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P., aka Dr. Fish


Nearly all of the performance-psychology dimensions discussed in this column apply in sports other than competitive fishing. This is nowhere more true than in the domain of focused concentration. The capacity to coordinate many different muscle groups, while paying specific attention to a complex task, is a key to success for racecar drivers, baseball players and other athletes – certainly tournament anglers.

03/13/2009

Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P., aka Dr. Fish


Communicating effectively, in fishing as elsewhere, is a complex challenge. It is always important to be clear and concise, and good communicators present their message so that their audience can easily understand it. However, sometimes one’s audience includes many types of people with markedly different levels of knowledge of the topic at hand.

01/23/2009

Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P., aka Dr. Fish


In some ways listening to anglers discuss performance-psychology concepts reminds me of that old saying about the weather: “Everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it.” It’s not easy to translate performance-psychology concepts into specific action plans. Here, however, is a unique, down-to-earth perspective you might find interesting.

10/21/2008

Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P., aka Dr. Fish


The 2008 Summer Olympic Games are about to begin in Beijing, China. On video screens in stores, airports, sports bars and homes, the performances of the world’s greatest athletes will be on display. What will not be visible, however, are the many hours of physical and psychological training that prepared these competitors to play at this level.

08/05/2008

Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P., aka Dr. Fish


Tournament champions will explain the difference between winning and placing with just one word: attitude! If your attitude is confident, calm and determined, if you know you belong in this field, and if you genuinely expect to win, you mentally put yourself in position to come out on top.

06/02/2008

Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P., aka Dr. Fish


One of the most frequent comments pro fishermen make about individuals trying to break into competitive fishing is this: “They don’t know what they’re getting into.” Most anglers will assume this refers to the numerous practical realities of tournament angling, including coming up with tournament entry fees, obtaining sponsors and financing a boat and equipment, to name just a few.

04/29/2008

Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P., aka Dr. Fish


It’s one thing for me to tell you what performance psychology says about mental variables affecting your fishing. However, it’s another thing altogether to hear what top professionals say matters to them. In the next few months, I’m going to let you in on what competitive anglers have told me about how performance psychology variables play out on the water.

02/27/2008

Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P., aka Dr. Fish


In the spirit of holiday giving, let’s take a look at a few “psychological presents” you might consider passing on to others or keeping and using yourself. As you will see, when it comes to performance psychology dimensions, you can have your cake and eat it too!

12/28/2007

Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P., aka Dr. Fish


At year’s end, conscientious anglers will set aside time to review tournament performances from the season, considering what they might do to improve for the coming year and how to take real steps to both strengthen skills and fix problems. An aspect that is often overlooked by competitive anglers can be one of the most important: the people with whom they associate.

11/29/2007

Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P., aka Dr. Fish


Webster’s dictionary defines blind spot as “an area about which one is uninformed, prejudiced or unaware.” If you fish, especially if you fish competitively, you have at least one, and probably several, fishing blind spots.

09/24/2007

Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P., aka Dr. Fish


Weather, in its varied and oft-changing forms, represents one of the greatest mental challenges for anglers. Tournament competitors as well as weekend bait dunkers know that primo weather can put a person in a fish-catching mood, whereas lousy weather can do the opposite. While it’s not clear exactly how weather affects fish and fish movements, it’s very obvious that weather has a profound effect on those who chase fish!

08/06/2007

Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P., aka Dr. Fish


Performance psychology paves way to Ranger Owners win, Forrest Wood Cup for Missouri angler
Isn’t it a great feeling when it all comes together? Smooth as can be, all your preparation, lure selection and presentation skills work in concert, and you wind up catching them just like you planned. The feeling of satisfaction, the sense of accomplishment and excitement are indescribable, really. In this article I’m going to tell you about one of those days.

05/24/2007

Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P., aka Dr. Fish


Dr. Fish looks at two mental mistakes made by competitive anglers, announces Performance Psychology book
This month’s column will focus on two of the main performance psychology topics I have heard discussed by competitive anglers at club, semipro and professional levels: overestimating what they’ve got and failing to pay close enough attention.

03/29/2007

Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P., aka Dr. Fish


Simple exercises can help improve skills of any type of angler
You’d like to improve, and at one level this Performance Psychology and Tournament Fishing stuff makes sense. It’s just that it seems complicated and involved. Isn’t there something an Average Guy could do that’s a little bit simpler and easier to understand? Check this out.

01/26/2007

Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P.


Winning involves more than a secret spot or a magic lure
“The difference between good and great is very small, but it is made up of many things.”

12/08/2006

Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P.


Balancing self-acceptance with self-development
In a number of life domains, and certainly in the world of fishing, we must balance opposing forces in order to be maximally successful. In the psychological battle we wage with ourselves to be top performers, we need to take seriously both sides of the dilemma that is self-acceptance vs. self-improvement.

10/10/2006

Jay T. McNamara, Ph.D., L.P.