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

John Stockton and Karl Malone celebrate co-mvp in the Feb. 1993 NBA All-Star game....
Chandler Holt

The Full History Of Utah Jazz Players In All-Star Game

Since 1976, the Utah Jazz franchise has had 16 players combine for 50 appearances in the NBA All-Star game.
1 day ago
Walker Kessler - Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers...
Chandler Holt

Coaches Draft Rising Stars Teams, Deron Williams Selects Walker Kessler

The Jordan Rising Stars teams were drafted today. Former Jazz All-Star Deron Williams picked Walker Kessler to join his team.
1 day ago
Candace-Parker-Chicago-Sky-WNBA...
Chandler Holt

Candace Parker Will Be First Female Color Commentator For NBA All-Star Game

WNBA All-Star Candace Parker will make history in Salt Lake City. She will be the first female color commentator for the 72nd NBA All-Star game.
1 day ago
Utah Jazz guard Collin Sexton drives against the Dallas Mavericks...
Ben Anderson

Jazz Lack Focus In Loss To Mavericks

The Utah Jazz lost for the second time in as many games falling to the dramatically shorthanded Dallas Mavericks 124-111. 
2 days ago
utah-jazz-guard-malik-beasley...
Ben Anderson

Poor Shooting Dooms Jazz Against Shorthanded Dallas Mavericks

The shorthanded Dallas Mavericks outshot and outlasted the Utah Jazz in a 124-111 win Monday night at Vivint Arena.
2 days ago
Mike-Conley-Utah-Jazz-NBA...
Kyle Ireland

Jazz Guard Mike Conely Spins, Hits Floater Against Mavericks

Jazz guard Mike Conley spun for a tough floater during the final quarter of Utah's game against the Dallas Mavericks.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

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.
Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.
ksl sports logos...
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.
jimmy-buffett-tour-art...
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Jimmy Buffett

Get your Hawaiian shirts ready.
Iron Maiden tour...
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden returns to Utah in 2022 with The Legacy of the Beast tour.
Sport Psychologist Advises Jazz, Athletes On Championship Runs To Reduce Tension, Relax