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Gilbert guides students on mental performance

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Dr. Jenelle Gilbert speaks about peak mental performance at the last of the Fresno State Talks Wednesday night, Feb. 26 in the Satellite Student Union. Katie Eleneke / The Collegian

Fresno State Talks ended its three-part series with Dr. Jenelle N. Gilbert, who delivered her presentation “The Psychological Uniform: A Blueprint for Peak Performance” Wednesday night at the Satellite Student Union.

Gilbert, a professor of sports psychology in the department of kinesiology, emphasized to a large crowd the everyday value and use of the lecture for everyone outside of sports.

“Anybody who has a performance aspect to what they do,” Gilbert said, “and this pretty much includes everyone, can benefit from the information that I shared.”

Gilbert said everyone wears uniforms in sports to help reach peak performance, and the same thing can be said, metaphorically speaking, about one’s state of mind.

“The Psychological UNIFORM was born from the idea that athletes put on a uniform to train and compete in their sport,” Gilbert said. “For example, swimmers need to wear bathing suits and goggles, and football players wear helmets and pads.

“However, in order to give their very best performance, they need to also put on their psychological uniform and work on their mental game.”

Gilbert broke down her lecture into the acronym U.N.I.F.O.R.M. highlighting each letter and its role in achieving peak mental performance. The acronym stands for use goal setting; no mistakes, only learning opportunities; imagery; full focus; overtly positive; relaxation; and make routines.

Gilbert presented examples of famed athletes, public figures and doctors who overcame many challenges with focus, positive reinforcement and learning from past mistakes.

After each sports analogy, Gilbert referred back to college life and gave examples on how to relax for a test by focusing on breathing and using cue words.

Gilbert said an issue that prevents mental peak performance is focusing too much on negative self-talk. To combat this problem, Gilbert suggested the audience write down positive affirmations on a note card and place them around the house as reminders to think positive. She said it helps to reset the mind and say “goodbye” to negative self-talk.

Gilbert said things won’t change instantly by following her method. The only way things will change is through practice.

“If [students] learn, practice and apply these skills, they, too, can achieve peak performance,” Gilbert said.

Vicky Tian, a first-year graduate student in sports psychology, said Gilbert did a good job of illustrating the mental uniform.

“It’s something we can actually bring to everyone,” she said. “It’s not just for sports psychology. Everyone can use it somehow.”

“It was amazing the way she went about what a uniform really is,” said Rick Martinez, a senior majoring in kinesiology. “She broke it down and she described each letter.

“It’s just amazing to hear her speak to grow a little more and expand knowledge and learn a little more about sports psychology.”

Gilbert said she hopes she inspired students with her lecture.

“I am hoping that my talk on sports (or performance) psychology and the Psychological UNIFORM will inspire students who I may not have an opportunity to teach in the classroom setting.”