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Interview with John Murray

Please explain, what is sports psychology?

THAT IS AN EXTREMELY BROAD TERM THAT REFERS TO FIELDS INVOLVED IN THE SCIENCE AND PRACTICE OF UTILIZING PSYCHOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE AND TECHNIQUES TO THE BETTERMENT OF SPORT, THE IMPROVEMENT OF ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE, THE WELL BEING OF THE INDIVIUDAL AND MANY MORE THINGS TOO! ONE WAY TO THINK OF IT IS THE FIELD OF PSYCHOLOGY APPLIED TO SPORT, BUT IT ALSO INVOLVES THE SPORTS SCIENCES.

You have travelled worldwide as a tennis professional.. Have you always had a passion for sport?


YES. I GREW UP IN SOUTH FLORIDA WHERE I COULD PLAY AND WATCH SPORTS YEAR-ROUND. AT AGE 9 DON SHULA CAME TO TOWN AND IT HAS NEVER BEEN THE SAME IN SOUTH FLORIDA J … TENNIS IS POPULAR ALL OVER THE WORLD, BUT FLORIDA IS A GREAT MECCA FOR THAT SPORT WHICH I TOOK UP IN MY YOUTH

What made you take up writing?

TRAINING AS A PSYCHOLOGIST FORCES YOU TO THINK AND WRITE CLEARLY AND WITH PRECISION. AT THE UNIVERISTY OF FLORIDA I MUST HAVE DONE 3-4 NEW ASSESSMENT REPORTS EACH WEEK ON THE PSYCHOLOGY CLINIC ROTATION FOR MANY YEARS. I SHARED MY KNOWELDGE IN MANY COLUMNS AND THEN WROTE SOME BOOKS. I ENJOY WRITING NOW AS IT IS A WINDOW INTO THE MIND AND A MEANS OF HELPING OTHERS GREATLY.

Tell us a bit about your book Smart tennis: How to Play and Win the Mental Game.


AS A TENNIS PRO, BUDDING CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST, AND BUDDING SPORTS PSYCHOLOGIST, I WANTED TO COMBINE THESE THREE DISCIPLINES TO HELP PEOPLE IMPROVE WITH THEIR STRONGEST WEAPON – THE MIND. I WAS AWARE OF THE WELL KNOWN “INNER GAME OF TENNIS” AND BRAD GILBERT’S “WINNING UGLY,” BOTH TERRIFIC BOOKS THAT HELPED MY TENNIS GAME AS WELL AS EARLIER COACHING, BUT THERE WAS NOTHING YET THAT REALLY PULLED FROM THE SCIENTIFIC ADVANCES IN SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY TO HELP THE TENNIS PLAYER. TIM GALWEY WAS A COLLEGE TENNIS COACH AND GILBERT WAS A TENNIS PLAYER, BUT NEITHER HAD THE SCIENTIFIC BACKGROUND IN BOTH FIELD OF PSYCHOLOGY THAT I HAD, SO I TRIED TO STAND ON THEIR SHOULDERS AND GO BEYOND THEM TOO IN GIVING PEOPLE AN EASY SET OF SOLID PRINCIPLES THAT WERE FOUNDED ON RESEARCH RATHER THAN ASSUMPTION, DATA RATHER THAN OPINON. IT IS STILL SELLING WELL IN ITS GENRE 10 YEARS LATER AND I SAW IT IN BEIJING, CHINA AND ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA RECENTLY, AND HAS BEEN TRANSATED INTO SPANISH AND JAPANESE AS WELL. IT DID NOT HURT TO GET THE TOP TENNIS PLAYER IN THE WORLD AT THE TIME, LINDSAY DAVENPORT, TO ENDORSE THE BOOK ON THE COVER.

Your commentary is found almost daily in thousands of newspapers, magazines, and trade journals. Did you find it easier to write your book or to write articles for publications? Why?

WRITING ARTICLES IS FAIRLY EASY BECAUSE THE TOPIC IS USUALLY MORE CONFINED AND NARROW. WRITING A BOOK IS DESERT WARFARE. YOU NEED 6 MONTHS OF TOTAL FOCUS WITH AT LEAST 6 HOURS A DAY, AND A PATIENT ATTITUDE TO EDIT IT 20 TIMES IF NEEDED. SO WHILE WRITING A BOOK IS HARDER, IT IS ALSO FAR MORE REWARDING BECAUSE IT EVENTAULLY MAKES IT ALL AROUND THE WORLD AND HELPS MANY MORE PEOPLE.

What projects do you have planned for the future?

MANY. I AM WORKING ON A BOOK ABOUT THE PSYCHOLOGY OF FOOTBALL AND HAVE WORKED ON PROJECTS ABOUT BUSINESS AND DIET/WEIGHT CONTROL. I HAVE A SERIES OF WEBSITE THAT I WILL BE UNLEASHING BEFORE TOO LONG. I HAVE PLANS TO WRITE A MORE GENERAL BOOK ON SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY TOO. IF I EVER GET THE TIME I WOULD LOVE TO WRITE A NOVEL, HOST A NATIONAL TV AND RADIO SHOW, AND KEEP BUILDING AWARENESS ABOUT THIS GREAT FIELD THAT IS REALLY A SCIENCE OF SUCCESS.

Where can people find out more about you and your book?


MY WEBSITE AT WWW.JOHNFMURRAY.COM IS THE STARTING POINT. THE BOOK IS IN MOST BARNES AND NOBLE STORES, AND BORDERS BOOK STORES, OR ON AMAZON.COM OR CAN BE SEEN ALSO AT WWW.SMARTTENNIS.COM

Anything else you'd like to add?


I ALSO LIKE TO COMMENT ON SOCIAL ISSUES IN SPORTS. I THINK THE MAJOR SPORTS TEAMS NEED TO UTILIZE SPORTS PSYCHOLOGSITS ON A DAILY BASIS TO HELP THEIR TEAMS IMPROVE, HELP THE INDIVIDUALS ON THE TEAM LEAD HEALTHIER LIVES, AND TO PREVENTIVELY HELP IN MANY AREAS THAT ARE DETRIMENTAL TO BOTH INDIVIDUALS AND SOCIETY (E.G., GUN VIOLENCE, DRUGS, POOR EXAMPLES FOR OUR CHILDREN).

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