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Mind Games, Ep. 4: “Heat of the Moment”

Episode four discusses the emotional fallout of competing in the 'heat of the moment.' It explains why our most primal instincts are on display during this time and also why the most consistently successful athletes are able to lose this primal emotion quickly in order to move on. (Northern Review illustration/ Grant Pepper)

This spring, Northern Review sports editor Grant Pepper spoke with sport psychologists and Ohio Northern athletes to try to explain some of the most unexplainable phenomena in sports. This podcast series, ‘Mind Games,’ takes a deep dive into the mental side of athletics -- because in reality, in almost every sport, most of the game is played above the shoulders.

The fourth and final episode of the series discusses the role of emotion in the ‘heat of the moment.’ Sports tend to render primal behavior after an emotional win or loss like nothing else -- we see professional athletes beating their chest or crying on the court after a close game is won or lost. These athletes are at work -- in what other profession is this acceptable behavior? And in what other profession would fans be allowed to boo or cheer these people as they did it?

This podcast dives into the primal nature of sports and the role of media in this behavior, as well as why the athletes who can come down quickly from the highs and come up just as quick from the lows will endure the most sustained success.

Sport psychologist Dr. Steve Graef (Ohio State University) and sport psychology professor Dr. Jean-Charles Lebeau (Ball State University) give powerful insight into one of the most important, yet primal, facets of the game: handling one’s emotion in the ‘heat of the moment.’