I am completely excited about pursuing a better life and the possibility of others finding their own route to better performance as well. I believe that I do not hold all the magic answers, rather I do believe that everyone holds the answers and abilities within themselves to cope. Sometimes it takes someone holding up a mirror for us to see those answers that are hidden by well-formed habits.
For my whole life I have been involved in competing, from sports, to dance, school and 13 years in the crazy corporate world. Mental skills are used in every aspect of our lives. What drew me to the field of Sport and Performance Psychology was my own search to improve my performance while competing in Jiu Jitsu tournaments. I noticed that I was consistently dealing with pre-game anxiety and I felt it was severely affecting my performance in competition. If I was doing great in practice, why was I sucky in tournaments, when it counted? I noticed that in practice I was attributing my progress to my hard work, however while in tournaments, I was basing my ability to perform on my opponent (how good they were) and other external factors, such as time of day, bad referees, noise, other people's attitudes, etc. I remember reading a study about fighters posture and facial expressions when they squared up before their match. The study concluded that those fighters who smiled at their opponent were more likely to loose their match. The reasoning is that a fighter smiles at his or her opponent to get a reaction out of them or get them emotional. This could put too much external focus on the reaction of the opponent rather than evoking motivation from an internal source. This isn't to say the it's only thing that can determine an outcome, but it's a start!
I studied performance psychology, human behavior, industrial organizational therapy, psychotherapy, and adult development, among other behavioral sciences at National University, where I acquired my Master's Degree in Performance Psychology. I have participated and competed in a number of sports and other areas of performance, such as dance, theatre, performance art, as well as the competitive corporate world. I am currently in the process of being certified by the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP, http://www.appliedsportpsych.org), which should be completed in 2015. I have had the privilege to work with athletes from traditional sports, Jiu Jitsu & MMA athletes, as well as people in industrial and corporate jobs in regards to their job performance. I have also worked with some individuals who were in pursuit of improving athletic conditioning and achieving and maintaining weight loss. All of these areas are heavily reliant on mental skills. I look forward to working with people in all areas of life. The decision to pursue consultation in performance psychology is not a matter of what do you have to loose, rather it is what do you have to gain?!
Deanna Ruiz, Sport & Performance Mental Skills Consultant
National University; Master Degree, Performance Psychology
Maryland Institute, College of Art; Bachelor Degree, Fine Art
AASP Member: WWW.appliedsportpsych.org