History of ABSP

ESPN on Brain Typing

Berliner Zeitung on Steffi Graf (in German)
Athlete Brain-Mind-Body Functioning Test Center
Psychology of Clutch Hitting
Tennis Motor Learning: Tactile Learning/Tennis Magazine
Key Psychological Factors Driving Performance/WEB-MD
New York Times – Alex Rodriguez Article
Sport Psychologists at Work
More on Sport Psychologists
Stars Sport the Bling

American Psychological Association Divisions 47 and 6 (Behavioral Neuroscience) 2004 Convention Symposium: Integrative Sport Psychology (*,**) Presented Papers

SYMPOSIUM OVERVIEW : Introduction by Roland A. Carlstedt, Ph.D., Symposium Organizer and Chair

fMRI of Motor Imagery : Jeffrey Ross, MD., Director of Neuroradiology, Cleveland Clinic

EEG of Peak Performance : Karla Kubitz, Ph.D., Towson University

Transient Hypofrontality Hypothesis : Arne Dietrich, Ph.D. American University of Beirut

Personality and Athletes : Eugene Aidman, Ph.D., University of Adelaide

Integrative Athlete Assessment and Interventions : A Field-Tested Protocol: Roland A. Carlstedt, Ph.D., Integrative Psychological Services of NYC

PENDING: EEG and Heart Rate Variability in Athletes: John Gruzelier, Ph.D., Imperial College of London


Neuropsychophysiological Concomitants of Peak Performance, the Zone, Mastery and Failure: The Theory of Critical Moments: Roland A. Carlstedt, Ph.D., American Board of Sport Psychology-Brain Resource Company


CRITICAL MOMENTS DURING COMPETITION: A Mind-Body Model of Sport Performance When it Counts the Most (*,**)

Roland A. Carlstedt, Ph.D.


Stanley Krippner, Ph.D. , Professor of Psychology, Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center*

I believe that the theory, hypotheses, models and applications presented in this book can be considered seminal, a watershed in the annals of research in sport psychology. I would not be surprised if Dr. Carlstedt’s book became a classic in its field. It advances an original model of peak performance, the Theory of Critical Moments in which knowledge from numerous sub-fields of Psychology were elegantly synthesized to describe, explain, and predict psychological functioning in athletes. Carlstedt’s model implicates constellations of personality traits and behaviors as mediators of key elements of peak performance including physiological reactivity, attention, and certain cognitive processes.

The model also identifies several neurophysiological concomitants of these measures and demonstrates how they interact to influence and sustain focus or allow disruptive negative thoughts to interfere with levels of attention required for peak performance. The model provides a long overdue lucid and highly plausible explanation for the dynamics of focus and effects of intrusive cognitions on sport performance. It should be pointed out that it is one thing to formulate a theory, but it is another thing to find support for it. Carlstedt has done this in one of the largest studies of athletes to date. His model explained up to 44% of the variance in objective outcome measures, well exceeding previous attempts to account for performance on the basis of personality and behavioral measures. It should not surprise the reader to know that this study, in one form or another, has already won several honors including the American Psychological Association’s Division of Exercise and Sport Psychology 2001 Dissertation Award.

This achievement did not occur by chance; it attests to Carlstedt’s careful scholarly analysis and selection of potent predictor variables, something that is demanded if regression models are to be revealing. The potency of his model in predicting performance outcome can be directly attributed to its multidimensional, integrative, and longitudinal approach as well as the selection of sensitive personality measures and outcome variables derived from microanalyses of objective performance statistics. Carlstedt persuasively demonstrates that isolating more sensitive predictor and criterion measures is crucial in order to explain more of the variance in the performance equation that can be attributed to psychological factors.

Readers of this book will be exposed to a novel and brilliant approach to the delineation and analysis of outcome measures that capture the essence of peak mental performance in sport, something previous research has failed to do. In an attempt to explain more of the variance in the performance equation and thus demonstrate empirically that peak performance may indeed be primarily mental, Carlstedt created customized sport psychological statistics to accurately quantify the impact of psychological factors on sport performance. His system for analyzing mental toughness during critical moments of competition is a milestone in psychological measurement in sport psychology.

Carlstedt’s model also undertook the first attempt to quantify so-called zone or flow experiences on the basis of objective and longitudinally derived psychophysiological and performance outcome measures. These measures were obtained during actual official athletic competition, lending an unprecedented level of ecological validity to his model and data. For example, provocative findings on heart rate variability in athletes suggest that specific parameters of heart rate variability may mirror zone or flow states.

The methodologies and approaches Carlstedt has developed help bring Gallwey’s popular Inner Game principles to life, in addition to advancing and illuminating aspects of other well-known theories of peak performance that have remained relatively nebulous. Carlstedt provides a scientific basis and empirical evidence that accounts for numerous anecdotal notions and platitudes in these theories and sport in general including “just do it,” “ideal performance state,” “mental toughness,” sport is “90% mental,” among others. Carlstedt has traveled where no researcher has ventured in quantifying these slogan statements, contentions, and myths, bringing new insights and data as to their meaning.

The emerging evidence presented in this book leads one to revisit the role of personality in the performance equation. Data showing that athletes exhibiting specific constellations of isolated Primary Higher Order personality traits will be more or less susceptible to experiencing negative intrusive cognitions and lapses in attention during critical moments of competition finally illustrate empirically the potency of select personality traits in mediating performance. This breakthrough helps rehabilitate personality in the context of performance and validates the intuitive notion that personality affects performance in a crucially important manner, something the field has failed to demonstrate despite hundreds of studies on the effects of personality on performance.

This book is also a valuable source for applied practitioners in sport psychology. It provides access to sophisticated methods, technologies, and advanced approaches to the evaluation and training of athletes. It presents an applied field-tested athlete assessment, intervention, and efficacy testing protocol that integrates research findings and methods from the previously mentioned sub-fields of psychology. The protocol was designed to assess the above Primary Higher Order (PHO) personality and behavioral measures. In addition to their direct link with neuropsychophysiological processes associated with performance, research has demonstrated that constellations or combinations of these PHO factors play an important role in the ability to benefit from a particular intervention and should be routinely assessed. Thus, rather than recommend and teach mental imagery, hypnosis, or other procedures to athletes indiscriminately and en masse, Carlstedt advances an individualized approach to assessment on the basis of constellation of PHO factors, a strategy that has been empirically validated in the clinical arena. His protocol also emphasizes in-the-field ambulatory monitoring of athletes using heart rate variability and heart rate deceleration analyses to evaluate psychological states and performance during competition. This protocol also serves to validate concurrently on-the-field and in-office findings on the basis of more ecologically valid indices of psychological performance, something that is rarely engaged in by sport psychology practitioners. Athletes’ on-the-field self-use of interventions is also discussed, including manipulation of cortical states and heart rate variability to achieve better levels of attention and self-regulation. Carlstedt’s model also includes advanced assessment of cortical functioning using brain-scan methods, efficacy or outcome testing, critical moments analysis, and database management, all of which are sophisticated approaches to athlete evaluation that will soon be de rigueur.

The analysis, assessment, and intervention system that Carlstedt propagates and uses are on the cutting edge, yet accessible to every practitioner. The reader may doubt this assertion, considering the specialized training and equipment one would need to effectively apply these sophisticated methods. The answer lies in an Internet-based analysis center that both practitioners and athletes can access. Carlstedt and his trained associates are available to process and analyze test responses, neuropsychological tests, and heart rate variability data sent to the center via the Internet. Coaches, athletes, and sport psychology practitioners will have access to high technology methods and feedback from one of the preeminent applied practitioners and researchers in the field of sport psychology, along with a guided empirically validated protocol. Coaches, athletes, and practitioners also will have access to the Brain Resource Company and the Carlstedt-Biocom Technologies brain and heart rate variability databases for comparative and analytic purposes.

It should be no surprise that there are still major gaps in the literature of peak performance, just as one will find flaws even in the game of a star athlete. These fissures in knowledge result, in part, from the discrepancy between researchers and practitioners. How many neuroscientists were once professional athletes or coaches? How many athletes or coaches have a doctorate in psychology or a research background in the disciplines on which this book touches? How many applied Sport Psychology practitioners are coaches who have carried out neuropsychophysiological research projects? Very few indeed! Consequently, it took a multi-faceted person like Carlstedt, who possesses solid academic credentials, experience as a professional athlete, coach and and Sport Psychologist to put it all together and convincingly address and fill some of these gaps.

In conclusion, I consider this book to be a monumental work. Carlstedt’s model, research, and data will generate much scrutiny, further study, and discussion for decades to come. It will substantially impact the field of Sport Psychology.

*Dr. Stanley Krippner is one of the most prominent personalities in Psychology today. An eclectic, he first published on Sport Psychology over thirty years ago. All-in-all, Dr. Kripper has written on topics ranging from Sport Psychology to Parapsychology and Hypnosis and Neuropsychology to Consciousness. The recipient of numerous honors including the American Psychological Association’s 2001International Service to Psychology award, Dr. Krippner was the President of Division 30 (Hypnosis) and 32 (Humanistic Psychology). Many of his observations, analyses, and writings have important implications for sport performance and point to the need to integrate seemingly disparate research and theory into the realm of Sport Psychology. Doing so, as Dr. Carlstedt demonstrates in his research and book can lead to innovative approaches and seminal discoveries that will go a long way toward advancing the knowledge of a field of inquiry.


“Roland A. Carlstedt’s impressive book creatively integrates research from multiple sub-disciplines in Psychology to arrive at a highly original and coherent theory of peak sport performance. Readers will benefit from Dr. Carlstedt’s experience as a professional athlete and coach as well as his solid academic credentials and training in the areas of cognitive neuroscience, psychophysiology, behavioral medicine and personality. His eclectic background brings new insights, methods and findings to the field of Sport Psychology that will have an impact for years to come.”

Roger Drake, Ph.D., Cognitive Neuroscientist, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California and Western State College of Colorado

“The issue of how athletes can be assessed as a basis for performance management and enhancement is a crucial one for contemporary sport psychology. More basically, assessment for performance management and enhancement in sport is an area where cogent theory, practical concepts, effective methods, and technically defensible measurement procedures are needed. Roland Carlstedt’s seminal work provides valuable information that helps fill these gaps. Based on a solid theoretical model of critical moments during competition, coupled with a clear and internally consistent conceptual and operational framework, and using persuasive empirical research from psychology and other areas, including results of his award winning dissertation, Dr. Carlstedt demonstrates substantial relationships between psychological characteristics and performance outcomes in a range of athletes. His work provides guidance for sport psychology researchers and practitioners as well as others involved in human performance at all levels. The material in this book can help shape the larger knowledge base of sport psychology for years to come.”

Charles A. Maher, Psy.D. Professor of Psychology Rutgers University, Sport Psychologist, Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Cavaliers and Cleveland Browns

“Why do some professional athletes tend to “deliver” in critical situations, while others are less dependable? Dr. Carlstedt’s Mind-Body Model of Sport Performance focuses on this well known and vexing performance difference between comparably talented highly-skilled athletes. He traces these differences to certain basic personality characteristics and their interplay. Depending on their strength and configuration, these general personal propensities may play either a facilitative or counterproductive (but potentially modifiable) role. Carlstedt’s model is obviously of great relevance to Sport Psychologists. Because of its plausibility as well as its amenability to empirical scrutiny and continuing development, it also merits the attention of a wider readership. It has the potential for evolving into a general model for understanding consistent excellence in response to challenge.”

Auke Tellegen, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, University of Minnesota, Personality Psychologist and Behavioral Geneticist

“Methodologically rigorous in its approach, Dr. Carlstedt offers a thoroughly innovative perspective on the field of Sport Psychology in this new book. His model of peak performance ambitiously and successfully integrates a wealth of physiological, psychological, and cognitive neuroscience data to forcefully make the case that athletic performance can not only be studied in a controlled fashion, but can be improved systematically. Although scholarly in its methodologies, this book is highly readable, and will be of interest to a wide range of academics, coaches, athletes and mental health and Sport Psychology professionals.”

Sanjay Mathew, M.D., Psychiatrist and Neuroscientist, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Department of Psychiatry (former ranked tennis player)

“This book provides a timely model for an evidence-based approach to assessment and retraining peak performance in athletes, particularly during critical moments of competition. Importantly, it points the way forward to bridge the gap between anecdote and testable brain science in this field.”

Evian Gordon, Ph.D., Founding Director of the Brain Dynamics Centre (Westmead Hospital) Sydney, Australia, CEO, The Brain Resource Company, (Developer of the world’s first standardized International Database on the Human Brain); Lead Author and Editor of the book Integrative Neuroscience

SECTION I: Theoretical Foundations

Chapter 1. Theoretical Foundations

Chapter 2. Critical Moments During Competition: The Theory of Critical Moments

Chapter 3. The High Risk Model of Threat Perception and Athletes

Chapter 4. Primary Higher Order Predictor Variables: Effects on Athletes and Performance
Chapter 5. Neuropsychophysiological Concomitants of Primary Higher Order Factors and the Athlete’s Profile
SECTION II: Emerging Evidence

Chapter 6. Emerging Evidence: Results from a Large Study of Athletes

Chapter 7. Emerging Evidence: Statistical and Empirical Implications

Chapter 8. Psychophysiological Concomitants of Primary Higher Order Factors and the Athlete’s Profile: Heart Rate Variability and Heart Rate Deceleration Investigations
SECTION III: Applied Sport Psychology: Assessing and Mastering Critical Moments

Chapter 9. A ssessing Critical Moments
Chapter 10. Toward A Global Psychophysiological Marker of Psychological Performance and Critical Moments during Competition: Quantifying Zone or Flow States

Chapter 11. Assessing and Predicting Psychological Performance during Critical Moments on the Basis of Psychophysiological Stress Testing: A Case Study
Chapter 12. Mastering Critical Moments: The Carlstedt Protocol

Chapter 13. Applying the Carlstedt Protocol: A Case Study

Chapter 14. Active-Alert Hypnosis and the Carlstedt Protocol
Chapter 15. A Design for Implementing and Testing the Efficacy of a Biofeedback Protocol Created for a Former Wimbledon Champion: A Case Study

Chapter 16. An Internet-Based Athlete Assessment, Analysis, Intervention and Database Center: Your Personal Sport Psychology Consultant

ARTICLES ETC. (see Library below for Download)


[*, **] Pseudoscience of Brain Typing by Terry Sandbek, Ph.D.HIGHLY RECOMMENDED article on Critical Thinking in Sport Psychology

[*] Psychologically Mediated Heart Rate Variability in Athletes: Downloadable Power Point Slide Show of Dr. Roland A. Carlstedt’s Presentation for the 2003 Annual Conference of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback NEW (YOU’LL NEED POWER POINT to Get Power Point Viewer go to www.microsoft.com ).

[***, **, *] COYOTE ‘S CHALLENGE AND SPORT PSYCHOLOGY, by Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., and Andre Percia de Carvalho HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

[***] Mental Tools to Boost Running Performance and Pleasure, by Rob Udewitz, Ph.D.

[*] Ambulatory Psychophysiology and Ecological Validity in Studies of Sport Performance: Issues and Implications for Intervention Protocols in Biofeedback From the Winter 2001 Issue of BIOFEEDBACKCourtesy of Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback

[***] Performance Horse’s “The Warrior Within-Equestrian Sport Psychology

[***] Psycho-Match Protocol of a Winner

[***] Tennis Magazine’s Repeat as Necessary

[**] Mind Your Heart

[***] The 8 Myths of Tennis Psychology

[**]Issues & Answers

[*] American Psychological Association’s Division 47 2001 Award Winning Dissertation Expanded Abstract and Complete List of References
Submission and questions:
Journal of the American Board of Sport Psychology