In this episode, Dr. Bubbs interviews former Air Force "Officer of the Year", pararescueman and expert physical therapist Dr. Doug Kechijian around mental performance in high pressure environments. Doug's phenomenal background provides key insights that can be applied to so many aspects of performance, such as: the importance of mastering fundamental skills, minimizing complexity, the value of systematic progressions (no matter what your domain), the value of a single leader versus "consensus" depending on the scenario, and understanding your "worst case" scenario. Doug also answers the question "does mental toughness actually exist?" There's a lot of fantastic information and helpful metaphors in this episode that apply to all walks of life, so make sure to listen a couple of times to uncover all the gems!
Mental Performance "Lay-Ups" In This Episode (easy, simple, actionable takeaways)
1) Master fundamental skills - you don't have time to think under pressure, only through repetition will those cues/habits/skills become ingrained sufficiently to perform.
2) Minimize complexity - whittle down your intervention - medical, fitness, nutrition, etc. - to the simplest possible instruction.
3) Worst case scenario - a mental exercise of reviewing the worst possible outcome of a situation is often a great technique to free up worry and unwarranted stress prior to an event.
"Mental Performance Hacks" from this Episode
1) Mental toughness is an abstract term and relative to your preparation of the necessary skills. Someone who is "mentally tough" in one scenario, may struggle (sometimes mightily) in another scenario where they have no preparation. Preparation is key!
2) Regardless of whether you're an athlete, doctor, trainer, therapist, etc. having systematic progressions to establish a baseline and assess progression is crucial.
3) Under intense pressure, groups operate best under the leadership of a single leader. However, when the stressful event is complete, allowing all members to voice their feedback and opinions in an open environment is vital to ensure the success and progress of any team, business or clinical environment.
Doug's Air Force Coffee - Hot and Black (1 cup per day)
About Doug Kechijian
Doug Kechijian is a performance-based physical therapist who specializes in treating orthopedic injuries and chronic pain. He recognizes the continuum extending from acute rehabilitation to high-level sports conditioning. His comprehensive and integrated approach helps to not only relieve one’s symptoms, but addresses the underlying biomechanical and neurophysiological patterns that contribute to injury. A co-founder of Resilient Performance Physical Therapy, Doug consults with professional sports teams and military and law enforcement special mission units.
Before completing his doctoral studies, Doug was a Pararescueman in the U.S. Air force where he trained and conducted operational missions with elite military units throughout the world. He is a nationally certified paramedic with advanced training in emergency, trauma, and wilderness medicine. In 2015, he was selected as the Noncommissioned Officer of the Year by the U.S. Air Force.
Doug received his AB in Biology from Brown University and MA in Exercise Physiology/Doctor of Physical Therapy from Columbia University. He is Postural Restoration Certified and has undergone advanced training in joint and soft tissue manipulation, movement screening, and dry needling.