UTAH JAZZ

Sport Psychologist Advises Jazz, Athletes On Championship Runs To Reduce Tension, Relax

Jun 9, 2021, 10:57 AM | Updated: Dec 7, 2022, 3:42 pm

Rudy Gobert - Utah Jazz...

Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz stands for the National Anthem prior to the start of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on February 12, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Intermountain Healthcare sport psychologist Dr. Tony Kemmochi advised that players on the Utah Jazz or any athlete on a championship run try to reduce tension and relax to improve their mental health.

Dr. Kemmochi spoke about the mental health of athletes during a conference call on Wednesday, June 9.

During the call, Dr. Kemmochi was asked the “unique stressors” that athletes, like Jazz players, are under on a championship run.

“My advice for those athletes in the situation like championships, something big, is to remember to just try to reduce that tense a little bit and relax,” Dr. Kemmochi said.

He explained that the most common mental health struggle for athletes is the expectations they are under.

“The most common struggle that athletes express is a expectation. They are under such a heavy expectation both from outside and from themselves, that their mind gets trapped in a lot of anxiety, apprehension, ‘What if what if I fail? What if I make a mistake?,” and it’s really difficult to overcome that.”

Dr. Kemmochi added that social media plays a role in expanding the spotlight athletes are under and creates more fear.

“Things like social media creates greater exposure, so that creates even more fear so they’re up against a lot of fears to overcome. In those situations, I tend to advise athletes to find a way to optimize their level of arousal and anxiety. We don’t want to necessarily push them away or ignore it, which some people choose to do. You know they say, ‘I just tried not to think about it.'”

He explained that if athletes push those fears into the back of their minds, they will eventually resurface and potentially in the biggest moments.

“When we do that, it doesn’t just go away, it just stays in the back of our mind, and when it finds a chance it just comes out and you don’t want that to happen at the crucial moment of your play.”

Rope Analogy

Dr. Kemmochi pulled out of piece of rope on the video call and used it as an object lesson about the mind.

“Imagine this rope as your mind, mental state, and being tense,” Dr. Kemmochi said as he stretched the rope. “This… may make your mind kind of feel strong right because it’s tense and tight, but this also means that this rope is more likely more likely to snap, and we don’t want that. So if we can relax just a little bit, just tense enough. This state is actually more optimal because if something hits you, you can still stay flexible to absorb the shock but if it’s tense, and something hits you, it’s more likely to sever the fiber, and that’s how our mind gets injured.”

Utah Jazz

The Utah Jazz are currently playing the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference Semifinals of the NBA Playoffs.

After advancing from the first round by defeating the Memphis Grizzlies in five games, the Jazz are up 1-0 in their series against the Clippers.

Game 2 of the series will take place in Salt Lake City, Utah on Thursday, June 10 at 8 p.m. (MDT). The game will broadcast on ESPN and 97.5 FM.

If you or someone you know is struggling, help is out there on the National Lifeline’s website.

  • Utah Jazz Scoreboard

  • Utah Jazz Team Leaders

  • Utah Jazz Standings

Utah Jazz

Utah Jazz guard Isaiah Collier...

Ben Anderson

Jazz Fall To Clippers In Vegas Summer League

The Utah Jazz dropped to 2-2 at the Las Vegas Summer League after falling to the Los Angeles Clippers 105-88.

14 hours ago

Russell Westbrook #0 of the LA Clippers reacts against the Utah Jazz...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz Trade For Russell Westbrook, Again

For the second time, the Utah Jazz are acquiring Russell Westbrook, this time in a sign and trade for guard Kris Dunn.

1 day ago

Keyonte George NBA Summer League Salt Lake City Utah Jazz...

Chandler Holt

Are NBA Summer League Struggles A Cause For Concern?

The NBA offseason is driven by recency bias and high expectations, with Summer League players feeling that pressure the most.

1 day ago

Utah Jazz forward Taylor Hendricks...

Ben Anderson

Taylor Hendricks Thrives In Jazz Win Over Raptors

Taylor Hendricks had the best performance of his basketball career against the Toronto Raptors scoring 23 points and grabbing nine rebounds.

2 days ago

Utah Jazz Houston Rockets Taylor Hendricks...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz Mailbag: Are Jazz Good At Developing Players?

Welcome to the Utah Jazz mailbag where every week our NBA insiders answer your questions on social media about your favorite team.

3 days ago

Utah Jazz rookie Kyle Filipowski...

Ben Anderson

Kings Embarrass Jazz In Second Vegas Summer League Game

The entire Utah Jazz roster struggled in game two of the Vegas Summer League as they were drubbed by the Sacramento Kings 82-70.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

KSL Sports

Utah Hockey Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Want to get the latest info on Utah's newest sports franchise? Sign up for the Utah Hockey newsletter!

ksl-sports-newsletter...

KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.

...

KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

Jordan-Clarkson-Utah-Jazz...

KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Sport Psychologist Advises Jazz, Athletes On Championship Runs To Reduce Tension, Relax