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Level Up Sports Psychology

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Level Up Sports Psychology

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Level Up Sports Psychology

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Neuroscience

Level Up Sports Psychology

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Introduction

Sport Psychology
and Neuroscience

Do you want to get to the Next Level? And the Next?

Susannah Muller’s cutting-edge sports psychology program, Sports Psych Brainspotting, can help you get there. Susannah, a former national and international level swimmer, utilizes various forms of psychology, sports psychology, Brainspotting, neuro performance training and EFT (aka “tapping”) to assist athletes in expanding their performance, recovering from injuries, and reaching their goals.
Olympic gold-medalist skier Linsey Vonn

Susannah’s approach is integrative, interdisciplinary and she is always seeking new ways to help her clients achieve more of their potential. Her goal is to help the athlete grow, overcome obstacles, and expand their potential, both in their sport and in their life. She provides a high-quality, unique and exceptional program for every athlete of every level.

Lindsey Vonn’s Experience with Brainspotting

“At first I thought it [Brainspotting] sounded like hocus-pocus, but in practice, I’ve found that it’s not only fascinating, but has worked incredibly well.”
    - Lindsey Vonn, from her book “Rise: My Story”

Lindsey Vonn discusses brainspotting from her memoir, Rise: My Story.


World Champion & Team USA’s Carson Foster talks in this post-race press conference about how his work with me helped him overcome a block about performing under pressure.

A little context for the video:

Carson Foster’s talent for swimming has had him in the spotlight since he was young. Over time, he developed a reputation for swimming fast at small meets or in the morning at big meets but falling short when it counted.
Carson Foster celebrating Gold Medal winning relay with teammates at World Championships.
Carson Foster celebrating Gold Medal
winning relay with teammates
at World Championships.

The most disappointing was the 2021 Olympic Trials of the 400 meter Individual Medley (“IM”) where he lead the race with only 100 meters to go, but was passed by two other swimmers and failed to make the Olympic Team. This same type of thing happened in his other events at the Olympic Trials and at other big competitions.

And it all happened in the public eye – articles were written rehashing his struggles, speculating on whether he could overcome it or not. Reporters asked questions about it. Online trolls made mean comments.

Knowing sports psychology and the power of Brainspotting, I believed I could help him. The problem? Explaining Brainspotting – a cutting-edge, complex neuroscientific method – and getting him on board.

Luckily Carson and his coach were open to trying something new.

After working together for a few months on April 28, 2022, Carson won the A final of the 400 IM at the World Championships Trials (the equivalent of the Olympic Trials in a non-Olympic year) and qualified for the World Championships as Team USA’s #1 entrant in the 400 IM. He defeated the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Gold Medalist in the process.

He also qualified for the team in two other events – the 200 IM and the 4x200 freestyle relay. In each event, he excelled when the pressure was on in the finals, when all eyes were on him and many expected him to fail.

In short, he shattered his old pattern of falling short under pressure and qualified for his first major senior international competition for Team USA in two individual events and the A team for the 4x200 freestyle relay.

Here is the video of his post-race press conference after winning the 400 IM. At about the 3-minute mark he mentions his work with me and Brainspotting:



This kind of amazing result is the reason I am so passionate about Sports Psych Brainspotting.

It’s power is much deeper than any typical sports psychology method because it creates “bottom-up” brain processing – reaching the deep, subcortical,. unconscious brain and re-writing the neuropathways. These types of blocks are not under our conscious control – they are buried in the unconscious. (For a more detailed explanation, see my articles on this website.)

Sports Psych Brainspotting can be used not only to overcome blocks, but also to strengthen confidence and increase access to Flow State. In these different ways, Sports Psych Brainspotting can help athletes achieve more of their potential.

Notably, in my experience, going through the Sports Psych Brainspotting process also improves an athlete’s mental health and increases their enjoyment of the sport.

To see what Carson wrote about his experience working with me on Instagram: click here.

If you’d like to watch Carson Foster’s 400 IM race at the World Championships Trials, here is the video:





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Level
Up

Lindsey Vonn’s
Experience with Brainspotting

“At first I thought it [Brainspotting] sounded like hocus-pocus, but in practice, I’ve found that it’s not only fascinating, but has worked incredibly well.”
    - Lindsey Vonn, from her book “Rise: My Story”
Olympic gold-medalist skier Linsey Vonn
In her memoir, Rise: My Story, Lindsey Vonn, Olympic and World Cup Champion skier, discusses her experience with Brainspotting and how it compared to regular talk therapy:

“A lot of times in traditional talk therapy, you skim the surface, by venting and sharing stories and patterns. That can feel good, and often it does help, but in my experience, it never solved the problem…If talk therapy is like the leaves of a tree, brainspotting is like its roots.

“The idea [behind Brainspotting] is that every time you experience emotional trauma, your body retains it, almost like a tally in your brain that won’t fade away until you fully work through it, by opening up your neurological pathways and clearing it away.

“It can be very, very hard, and emotionally intense. Some days, I would feel so mentally drained, I would need to immediately sleep it off, but it really does work.”

Lindsey Vonn discusses brainspotting from her memoir, Rise: My Story.



Level
Up

Expand Peak Performance
Create Neurophysiological Cues for Flow State, Grounding and Infinite Possibilities

Using a leading-edge neuroscientific method, Susannah and the athlete work collaboratively to create a neurophysiological cue for the athlete to tap into at any time to increase his or her feelings of Flow State by identifying and processing a relevant “Brain Spot.” With this training, the athlete conditions his or her unconscious brain to access the state that creates peak performance.

This part of Expansion Spotting, which also includes creating “Brain Spots” for a grounding spot (helping the athlete to feel calm, grounded, and relaxed whenever needed) and for an Infinite Possibilities Spot for opening up the athlete’s potential.



Level
Up

Overcome Performance Anxiety, Slumps, the Yips and Other Mental Blocks
Cutting-Edge Neuroscience Has Given Us the Key!

In the past, performance anxiety, slumps, the yips and mental blocks made athletes miserable and frustrated as no amount of “trying harder,” mindfulness relaxation or practicing helped. These issues were mysteries, very difficult to get past and sometimes ended athletic careers.

Now, however, due to recent breakthroughs in neuroscience, we understand how these blocks are formed and how-to de-condition the neuro pathways in the subcortical brain that are the key to these issues. (Bessel van der Kolk, MD, David Grand, Phd, Peter Levine, Phd). Processing the underlying cause of these obstacles releases the athlete from their hold, freeing up their ability to perform again.



Level
Up

More Complete Recovery from Injuries
Return to Prior Performance Level or Better

The subcortical brain takes in an unbelievable amount of information through our senses that we are unaware of. Visually alone we are taking in 1 mega bite (1,000,000 bites) of information every second of every day. This is equivalent to as much information as an entire encyclopedia every minute. We are only capable of consciously interpreting 4 bits of information at a time.

When an athlete injures him or herself, the subcortical brain, which is extremely concerned with security and safety, remembers all the information around the event because it wants to protect the athlete from experiencing that pain again. When the subcortical brain notices any pieces of information that remind it of the injury experience, the body instinctively prepares to protect itself, pulling backward and tightening the muscles. These reflexive actions impede athletic performance (David Grand, Phd).

For example, if a football player got hit from the right and blew out his knee, his subcortical brain could reflexively protect him anytime someone comes at him from the same angle, or anytime the same play is called, or anytime the overcast weather reminds his unconscious brain of the day of the injury. Any number of cues, outside of the athlete’s awareness, can trigger this protective stance. Its effects are subtle but significant. A pitcher’s throw could be off, a gymnast could miss a catch, a swimmer could lose time on a turn, a basketball player could be off shooting his 3 pointers. Significantly, because of the muscle tightening, it actually makes a reinjury more likely.

Working together, Susannah and the athlete will access the subcortical brain where it holds these cues and de-conditioned the neuro pathways so that those protective reflexes are not triggered anymore. Thus releasing the athlete’s body to move freely and loosely again, allowing better performance.



Brainspotting
Articles

Articles by Susannah Muller

Swim Swam Magazine: Using Neuroscience To Overcome Metal Blocks And Optimize Your Nervous System
How brainspotting works and how it can help swimmers perform better

Baseball & Fast Pitch Softball: Brainspotting - Key to Softball Performance
How brainspotting works and how it can help baseball & softball players perform better

Baseball & Fast Pitch Softball: Using Neuroscience to Get Over the Yips in Softball and Baseball



Press
Releases

NY Breakers Hire Sports Psychology Consultant Susannah Muller

ISL - International Swimming League

New York Breakers


The New York Breakers have hired Susannah Muller, a former world-ranked swimmer, as a sports psychology consultant to assist the athletes with this International Swimming League season, as well as beyond.

Muller, a past US National Team Member, has worked with multiple Olympic, professional and NCAA Division I athletes. She specializes in utilizing cutting-edge neuroscience to help athletes overcome slumps, performance anxiety or other mental blocks. Her work also includes Expansion of Peak Performance and recovery of performance level after injuries. Muller’s goal for all her clients is for improvement in performance, self-confidence and enjoyment of their sport.

Muller was a 14 time All-American swimmer at Stanford University, where she was a Co-Team Captain and a member of the 1989 NCAA Division I championship team. In her senior year, she won the Pac-10 Conference title in the 200 backstroke. Muller competed at both the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Trials, was a finalist at the US Swimming 1986 World Game Trials and was a finalist at the World University Games in 1989.

Muller graduated from Stanford University with a BA in psychology and English. She graduated second in her class from UCLA School of Law and practiced law for 8 years. She then earned her M.A. at Alliant International University in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Official release on Instagram

International Swimming League competition at Indiana University
International Swimming League competition at Indiana University natatorium
on October 5 in Indianapolis. (Alfredo Falcone/LaPresse via AP Images)

About
Level Up

Competitive Swimming Career

Susannah Muller, Level Up Sports Psychology
I am a former competitive athlete who competed in swimming at a national and international level. I grew up swimming for a small team in Northern California, Indian Valley Aquatic Club (IVAC). I then swam at Stanford University for two years under George Haines and two years under Richard Quick, both Olympic Coaches.

I was a member of the US National Team multiple years and was World-Ranked multiple years (100 & 200 meter backstroke and 200 meter Individual Medley). I competed at both the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Trials, as well as the US Swimming 1986 World Game Trials and was a finalist at the World University Games in 1989. I was a 14 time All-American swimmer for Stanford University and was Co-Captain of the Varsity team my Senior year. My Junior year we won the NCAA Division I championship and in my Senior year I was Pac-10 Conference Champion in the 200 yd. backstroke.

I understand the demands, pressure and expectations of a high-level competitive athlete. I love working with athletes of all levels and helping them overcome blocks or push their performance to the next level.


Contact
Level Up

CONTACT INFORMATION
Susannah Muller
M.A., Marriage and Family Therapy
J.D., UCLA School of Law
BA, Stanford University, Psychology and English

Level Up Sports Psychology
Phone: 619.787.2743
Email: susannah@levelupsportspsychology.com
Instagram: @mullersportspsych

Address:
5230 Carroll Canyon Rd., Suite 314
San Diego, CA 92121
















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