Dr. Tom Hanson

How to Conquer Fear – With Performance Psychologist, Dr. Tom Hanson

Dr. Tom Hanson has delivered his expertise to overcome and conquer fear with some of the greatest athletes and organizations of all time. He’s currently the CEO of Heads Up Performance with his wife Birgit Hanson. In their cornerstone approach, they explain, “We co-create a strategic leadership solution blending paradigm-shifting and skill-building workshops, coaching conversations to apply new skills to specific management and sales challenges, team meeting facilitation to reinforce the new way of operating, and senior executive strategic coaching to resolve higher level business issues.” His performance coaching career in the MLB started in 1999 when he worked with the Texas Rangers until the year 2000.  In 2001 he was hired to work full time for the New York Yankees as the Performance Enhancement Director. While working with the Yankees he worked around some of the greatest baseball players of all time. Including Roger Clemens, Derek Jeter, and Mariano Rivera. His Performance Enhancement services in Major League Baseball also include the Anaheim Angels and the Minnesota Twins. In addition to his impressive resume, Dr. Hanson authored the book “Play Big, Mental Toughness Secrets That Take Baseball Players To The Next Level.” He also co-authored the book “Heads-Up Baseball: Playing the Game One Pitch at a Time” which has been quoted by many MLB players including Aaron Judge for the New York Yankees who said he’s read the book “again and again.”  Dr. Hanson co-authored the sequel with another leading sports psychologist Ken Ravizza titled “Heads Up Baseball 2.0” Judge also added this sequel to his library according to his interview with ESPN.

Dr. Hanson was an integral part of my collegiate baseball career. In 2011 I was overcome with a confusing and mentally tortuous performance ailment called the “YIPS.” One week I was pitching at The University of Mississippi in front of a few thousand people and then shortly after I couldn’t throw the ball 30ft to my throwing partner. Throwing a baseball was something I had done thousands of times since I could remember. It’s what allowed me to earn a scholarship to play division 1 baseball. Throwing a baseball introduced me to the closest friends in my life. Then one day throwing a ball was my nightmare. Luckily, a light was shined on this embarrassing nightmare, and his name was Dr. Tom Hanson. Oddly enough I was relieved to hear that I wasn’t the first to get this confusing thing called the YIPS. I was relieved to know it had a name. It’s something about putting a label on to something. It helps us accept or understand whatever is inflicting us. After a “getting to know each other” conversation Dr. Hanson explained that he was going to use a technique called “tapping.” The action of literally tapping on very specific parts of the body while breathing and using mental imagery. Within 5-6 weeks I was able to conquer fear and get back to throwing a baseball without ever really understanding how or why this tapping technique worked. My science background was fascinated, but my athletic background didn’t care. It worked.

I will be forever grateful that Dr. Hanson gave me back the sport of baseball that introduced me to the most important people in my life, and that has made me who I am today.

Show highlights

– Discussion of the his “tapping” technique to overcome YIPS and possibly many more extreme anxiety issues afflicting an individual.

– Cutting through the negative first in order to replace with the positive.

– His experience working with Derek Jeter.

– What is the YIPS?

– My personal experience working with Dr. Tom Hanson in college.


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