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Sports Psychiatry

Strategies for Life Balance and Peak Performance

David R. McDuff, M.D.
Foreword by Ozzie Newsome

  • ISBN 978-1-58562-415-7
  • Item #62415

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Although psychiatrists and other mental health clinicians interested in sports practice already have the necessary general skills to help competitive athletes deal with adversity and the multitude of emotions that sports can elicit, most typically they lack the sports-specific knowledge necessary to truly help these patients and clients. In Sports Psychiatry: Strategies for Life Balance and Peak Performance, the long-time team psychiatrist for the Baltimore Orioles and the Baltimore Ravens intends to remedy this knowledge gap by sharing his unique perspective and rare expertise in cultivating athletes' peak performance while promoting team unity, sound judgement, personal growth, pride, and a lasting sense of accomplishment.

The book:

  • Explains sports culture and team structure and function, vividly describing the environment in which elite competition takes place
  • Focuses on the shifting nature and intensity of athletes' emotions—the highs that come with success and the lows that accompany poor performance—and describes the situations that magnify them, including injury and pain, media scrutiny, the availability of performance-enhancing drugs, and the fear of both failure and success
  • Addresses critical topics, such as regulating energy, recognizing and controlling stress, preparing mentally for performance, and treating mental disorders common to athletes
  • Draws on the author's length of experience and clinical observations, the evidence base of sports psychiatry, and fascinating stories of athletes at all levels to inform, teach, encourage, and inspire.

Although written for mental health professionals, the book will also be of great interest to primary care and sports medicine physicians, athletic trainers, team owners and managers—and of course—the athletes themselves. Engaging and insightful, Sports Psychiatry is the go-to book for those in need of practical strategies for supporting and attaining peak performance.


  • Foreword
  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1. Scope of Practice
  • Chapter 2. Mental Preparation
  • Chapter 3. Stress Recognition and Control
  • Chapter 4. Energy Regulation
  • Chapter 5. Substance Use and Abuse
  • Chapter 6. Injury Recovery and Pain Control
  • Chapter 7. Common Mental Disorders
  • Chapter 8. Teams, Medical Staff, and Sports Leadership
  • Chapter 9. Developmental and Cultural Competence
  • Chapter 10. Evidence Base and Future Directions
  • Index

About the Authors

David R. McDuff, M.D., is the team psychiatrist and mental skills trainer for the Baltimore Orioles and the Baltimore Ravens. He is also Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine at the University of Maryland in Baltimore and Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.

It has been a pleasure to work with Dr. McDuff for over 15 years now, I have always felt confident when referring an athlete to Dr. McDuff that a positive result would be the outcome. David has been a great help especially to the ballplayers and myself in the area of injury rehabilitation when that player believes he will never recover from that career interrupting or ending injury. We form a great team as I handle the physical and David handles the mental side of returning that player to the field. In this book, you will discover intimately some of the techniques Dr. McDuff uses to positively return that player to the field of competition.—Richie Bancells, M.S., ATC, Head Athletic Trainer, Baltimore Orioles, Baltimore, MD

David McDuff is one of the top Sports Psychiatrists in the country. He has worked with the best professional athletes in the world, to youth recreational leagues. Dr. McDuff has captured the essence of Sports Psychology and has given us a powerful reference in which to guide our children and athletes.—Brian Ebel, MBA, LAT, ATC, Assistant Athletic Trainer, Baltimore Orioles in Baltimore, MD

Dr. McDuff has used his many years of experience in the field to write a book on Sport Psychiatry which will be very useful to experienced as well as novice practitioners in the field. He has nicely summarized the relevant research in the field, and the clinical vignettes in each chapter illustrate his evidence-based approach combined with a subtle understanding of the culture of sport. The chapter on Substance Use will be particularly interesting for the reader focused on understand the psychology and physiology of the drug-using athlete. Kudos to Dr. Mc Duff for producing a book which is complete but does not overwhelm the reader with needless information: the book can stand as a reference book or as an introduction to Sports Psychiatry.—Laurence M. Westreich, M.D., Consultant on Drugs of Abuse, Major League Baseball

Dr. David McDuff's book, Sports Psychiatry, provides an excellent introduction to the role of the sports psychiatrist in dealing with both team and individual sports. He identifies what I feel are key factors which may be overlooked and can have a significant effect on athletic performance. The material presented is relevant for the athletic trainer, coach and others who work with athletes and should be considered while interacting with them. For the sports psychologist, Dr. McDuff has provided the clinician with proven treatment strategies to address conditions that were discussed. Having worked with David for over 15 years, I feel he has been an integral part of the medical team for the Baltimore Ravens.—Bill Tessendorf, M.A., AT,C; Former Head Athletic Trainer (retired), Baltimore Ravens

There are fascinating chapters on stress recognition and control and energy regulation, which are rich with practical techniques and, along with a chapter on mental preparation, give the intended primary target audience (mental health professionals working in sport) a detailed understanding of the psychological life of athletes. McDuff has provided the template that could ensure the mental health needs of athletes are met in the same comprehensive manner as their physical health needs.—Alan Currie, The British Journal of Psychiatry, 2/1/2013

Although Dr. McDuff primarily works with the NFL and MLB, not all his cases include star athletes. The cases that involve youth athletes and their families are particularly enlightening and will likely be directly applicable If someone is looking for a text that is concise, relevant, and enjoyable to read, Sports Psychiatry would be a very good choice.—Howard L. Forman, M.D., Psychiatric Times, 2/8/2013

One wishes for an insightful, clinically oriented discussion of the sports culture. David R. McDuff, M.D., the longtime team psychiatrist for the Baltimore Ravens and Baltimore Orioles and countless other athletic teams, has provided just such a clinical guide There is much to recommend this book to virtually every practicing mental health professional. It is highly readable and tightly organized. Each lecture follows a logic that is evident in such a way that one is never lost, and each ends with a substantive conclusion, a summary of key clinical points, and a brief list of references. Such features make the book an easy reference guide when seeking help with a particular problem, patient, or team. A wealth of case studies accompanies various situations described, thereby illustrating the clinical applicability of different interventions.—George Bolian, M.D., Journal of Clinical Psychiatry April 2013

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