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Jay-Lee Nair

Don’t Crack Under Pressure: The psychology behind the phenomenon of choking

Choking under pressure is a phenomenon that every player has experienced but few are willing to explore their personal episodes of choking and analyse the causes of this adverse and costly reaction to perceived pressure.
Most players would rather erase such experiences from their mind, and hope it never happens again. But recognising your patterns of response in terms of thought and action, and understanding what needs to change can mean the difference between being a choking resistant player or a choking susceptible player.
In this article, I will share the player profiles emerging in recent research on choking susceptibility, that can guide the self-assessment of your player profile to better understand yourself and your typical response under pressure.
Choking Defined
Choking is […]

The #1 Mental Skill you Need to Make it on Tour

As a psychologist to amateur and professional players, part of my day job involves walking the course analysing their habits and response patterns to situations during tournaments.
Caddies would agree that you can see a lot as a quiet observer, the things that player’s themselves under-estimate as the real causes of a great day on the course or a poor result.
My on-course analysis work has confirmed what I believe to be the one mental skill that can make all the difference in the outcome of your game and ultimately your fate in keeping your tour card at the end of the season.
Some will argue that the most important mental skill has to be confidence. My question would […]

Why Your Child is Not Thriving and How to Turn it Around

Social research in Asia suggests that our kids are under more pressure than ever, and the negative consequences are very real.

A recent prospectus study of Hong Kong schools anxiety revealed that 3 in 10 students in secondary school and 1 in 5 primary school aged children suffer from anxiety.

One of the most underestimated factors that contributes to thriving in our youth and protects against anxiety is optimal sleep. The recommended number of hours of sleep in primary school aged children is 11-13 hours and for teens 10-11 hours every night. In Asia, 6.5 is the average number of hours children sleep each night, and this is consistent with the sleep patterns I see in the student-athletes who first visit my […]

Building and Practicing Mental Toughness from a CrossFit Champion’s Perspective

To be a formidable competitor as a CrossFit athlete, dedicated physical preparation is a must, but mental preparation ensures you are truly ready to deal with the adversity that CrossFit delivers. For an in depth look into the practice of mental toughness in this extraordinary sport, I met up with 2015’s “Fittest in Singapore” (by CrossFit HQ, USA), Dylan Goddard, at the new UFIT Clinic.

What drives your passion for CrossFit?
“What drew me to CrossFit was the intensity of it. It never gets easy, you just get better. You become more efficient with the movements, but you will always be giving 100% effort. At first it wasn’t about competing, I just really enjoyed the workouts…pushing the boundaries, seeing how far […]

A Behind the Scenes Look at Mentally Preparing for the Olympics

The mental toughness training athletes undergo before reaching the Olympic stage is not typically well documented or understood. In this article, I will provide a behind the scenes look at the psychological preparation athletes go through before the biggest event in sport.
For the past year, I have had the opportunity to work as the sport psychologist to the Singapore Sailing duo on their road to Rio campaign. The coach explained that the team was talented but needed a boost in their mental training to perform consistently under high levels of pressure. If they could advance their mental game, he believed they could qualify for the Rio games and even have a chance at medaling.
When the team first sought […]

The Power of an Hour

What is it?
The power of an hour refers to a study technique for student-athletes that develops discipline in managing common distractions and creates fearsome focus to strengthen your working memory.
The benefits
1. Focus & discipline
The art of ignoring distractions when studying often comes down to being able to control the compulsive urge to respond to messages on your phone, scroll through your newsfeed, or check your email inbox while studying.  The power of an hour study technique structures your study blocks and break times in a way that helps you to practice this discipline, without it feeling like torture.
2. Time optimisation
Think about how much time you perform quality study when you have a 3-4 hour blocks of time when exams are not […]

Replace Superficial Resolutions with a Strength-Focus

The New Year can inspire feelings of renew and motivation to change, and gyms, trainers, and diet fads are ready to cash in on our New Year’s resolutions.
Well, not this year.  In this article, I share how to create powerful goals and resolutions using four key pillars of meaningful change that can shift our focus away from superficial desires driven by social pressures and trends, and toward action plans that are fueled by your individual beliefs and strengths.
“What’s in it for me?” Your why of motivation and drive
Motivation is your why for involving yourself in certain activities or making particular choices.  When that why is to obtain short-term rewards such as weight loss or more cash there is only […]

When It’s Not Insomnia – What you need to know about sleep patterns in teens that impacts performance

Does this pattern sound familiar for your teenager?

Frequently experiencing daytime sleepiness, mood swings, and irritability.
Tired all day but feels awake at night, sleeping later than they should.
Catches up on sleep during the weekend but strangely feels worse on Mondays, and then the cycle repeats.

This sleep-wake cycle for teenagers is so common that most parents and coaches accept it as a normal pattern. While it may be common, it is far from optimal and has negative consequences on mood and performance over time.
It doesn’t have to be the norm and it can be improved quickly with the right intervention.
Most parents don’t know that their teen is not experiencing insomnia.  It is a delayed sleep phase problem commonly experienced in adolescence, […]

Resistance to Sport Psychology: Why should an experienced coach bring a sport psychologist into the picture?

“I know sport psychology” said the coach, the trainer, and everyone in between. We all have knowledge, experience, and thus opinions about people and what helps them to perform.
There’s no doubt that a top coach intricately understands the psychology of their sport. There are cases when an experienced coach has a stronger knowledge of the sport than the sport psychologist.  Most coaches have worked with an athlete for several years and feel they know them better than a sport psychologist ever could.

So why wouldn’t you bypass the sport psychologist and take the mental skills training with your athletes into your own hands?
Here is my rationale for why working collaboratively with a sport psychologist can lead to great outcomes for you […]

Is Parental Pressure Always Harmful?

We’re spending a great deal of time working with parents in Singapore on how to best support their children in their academic and sport pursuits.  Jay-Lee has been conducting parent forums this year covering topics such as Pressure & Expectations, Performance Anxiety in Sport & Academics, and Raising Healthy High Achievers in Sport & Academics that are extremely informative with high interaction for optimal learning.

“Is parental pressure always harmful?” is one of the questions we are often asked.  Here’s our response from an article posted earlier in the year…

The formula for Performance is defined as: Performance = Potential – Interference.

One of the greatest personal dilemmas that interferes with optimal performance and negates an athlete’s true potential in their sport is […]