LeBron James and the Miami Heat's Biggest Issue This Season Is Hater Therapy

Reservoir GodCorrespondent IIDecember 22, 2011

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat walks into the interview room to answer questions after the Heat were defeated 105-95 by the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Since Dwyane Wade and LeBron James said playing off the hate cost them a championship last season, the Miami Heat Index and a Mental Health Counseling major discussed the psychological impact of haters on job performance and what the Miami HEAT can do about it this season on the latest edition of the HEATcast.

Podcast Details
Podcasters: Miami Heat Index and Aziza A.B. Platt
Recorded: December 21, 2011 at 5:15 PM ET
Duration: 27:17
How to Listen: Play online,download the mp3 or subscribe via iTunes

Impact of Hate

How does hate affect performance? Mrs. Platt provided some examples of positive and negative effects hate can have on player performance listed below.

Experiencing strong emotions, regardless of whether they are positive or negative, will improve athletic performance (Vast, Young, & Thomas, 2010).

Klumpp and Mialon (2011) developed a model of the effects of hate in two-opponent situations. They found there are two outcomes: the stooping-down effect (becoming more aggressive in response to the hate) and turning the other cheek (becoming less aggressive in response to hate). Stooping-down is more successful for the stronger team and the weaker team is better off turning the other cheek.

Negative emotions are especially detrimental in sports that require fine motor movement and produce tension, loss of concentration and inconsistent performances (Dalloway, n.d.).

Cause of anger becomes the focus of attention and leads to lack of concentration on the task at hand and deterioration in performance, which leads to loss of confidence in abilities and becomes a vicious cycle (Mackenzie, 1997).


Defeating Hate

How can LeBron and the Miami Heat prevent hate from impacting their performance this season? Our friendly Mental Health Counselor discussed the “Thought Stopping” technique and offered the insight listed below.

Positive emotions require more concentration to maintain but produce better performance, and positive emotions are more likely to lead to a “performance-relevant focus and automatic physical movements, both of which were beneficial for concentration and performance” (Fisher, 2010).

Theory of cognitive dissonance states when thoughts and behaviors are contradictory, people seek to resolve them by changing one or the other(Aronson, 2010). For example:

“I’m not a bad person, but I am being treated like a bad person.”

“Maybe I am a bad person?”

“I will become the bad person they say I am.”

Check out the HEATcast for more insight from an actual psychology student instead of the talking heads that play psychologists on television.

Disclaimer: Mrs. Platt is obligated to make the following statements:

  • She is not a licensed counselor yet, she just played one on the HEATcast

This podcast was inspired by E.J. Fischer.