- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Glass' most successful tape job was done prior to the Browns-Washington Redskins game on the opening weekend of the 1966 season. The game was in Washington and the temperature was an enervating 105�. To offset the heat, the message that Glass fed into his tape cassette was that heat was beautiful and that it kept the muscles loose. But best of all, the heat would help Glass because he was now psychologically programmed to use it, while his opponents, in their ignorance, would dissolve into sweat-soaked exhaustion. During the game, while all around him seemed to blur in slow motion, Glass charged through and shot for the quarterback, Sonny Jurgensen, like a man possessed (which, of course, he was). The Browns won 38-14 and it is generally agreed around Cleveland that this was just about the finest game of Glass' outstanding career.
Bill Beausay was often an enthralled spectator at these violent testimonials to the effectiveness of Super Psyching. "It was incredible," he recalls. "Bill Glass, a completely warm, outgoing and friendly guy, ceased to be a human being. He played like a carefully programmed machine. It really got me interested in the psychology of athletes, especially so because I soon discovered that little testing had been done on them."
Beausay started out in Gasoline Alley at Indianapolis during time trials for the 500 in 1968, talking with the drivers and even wandering through the stands, trying to figure out why spectators turned out in such huge droves just for the time trials. He decided to make Indy his first major testing ground. With tips provided by Astronaut Neil Armstrong, a boyhood friend, on the personality tests used by NASA, plus some insights offered by Dr. Robert Taylor, co-author of the Taylor-Johnson Temperament Analysis Profile, Beausay returned to Indy during the 1969 time trials. This time he was armed with the 180-question Taylor-Johnson test and the blessings of Indy's medical director, Dr. Thomas A. Hanna.
That first year Beausay ran tests on 35 drivers—17 went on to qualify for the starting grid and 18 did not. All the starters showed in their personality profiles an unusually high level of hostility and impulsiveness, traits that would seem a bit dicey to ride with through the crowded, high-speed furor of the Indy race. Beausay also found it significant that in every one of nine listed characteristics, the 17 who qualified for the race were, as a group, from five to 10 degrees further removed from what could be described as average disposition than the 18 men who didn't make the lineup. The conclusion seemed inescapable that it was the extra hostility and aggressiveness that got the starters into the race.
Beausay was back again in 1970 for further testing, and the results served to confirm his earlier findings. Then, in 1971, he was on hand with a lineup of complex eye-testing equipment, at which time he discovered that many of the drivers had questionable peripheral vision. In the vital matter of how quickly the eyes could focus and refocus on different objects, they scored lower than athletes from other sports. The driver average on the number of focal points on which the eyes could focus during a period of one second was 2.3. The mark for the 50 major league baseball players Beausay has tested is 2.9 and the champ eye-baller of all is Chuck Ealey, the former University of Toledo quarterback now starring in Canada (SI, Dec. 11, 1972), who scored a phenomenal 4.6.
The idea, for Beausay, is to transform all this data into something pragmatic. This is where he claims to differ sharply from the more widely known team of Bruce Ogilvie and Thomas Tutko, who also have conducted hundreds of personality tests on athletes (SI, Jan. 18, 1971). "My purpose is to help the individual athlete improve performance through knowledge of his own psychology and how to get the most of it," claims Beausay. "Ogilvie and Tutko have made what I think is the mistaken choice of aligning themselves too closely with coaches and owners, which puts the emphasis more on manipulation."
Ogilvie and Tutko, in fact, are the authors of a book entitled Problem Athletes and How to Handle Them and their surveys done for numerous NFL clubs have so irritated the players that their Players Association has called for a ban on all psychological testing. Several players also have suggested that there is a far greater need for a book entitled Problem Coaches and How to Handle Them.
The methods used by Beausay to improve the breed are wondrously various and some even contain an element of risk—for Beausay. He once punched a Toronto Argonaut center squarely in the mouth in a dramatic attempt to suddenly raise his low hostility quotient so that the center would fire out at the opposing middle linebacker. The center might easily have preferred to fire out at Beausay. The psychologist also claims to have discovered the key to success for a punter on the New Orleans Saints—who scored low on hostility—when he found out that the man went partially berserk when pinched. An assistant coach was instructed to give the kicker's biceps a sharp, painful squeeze just as he was being sent into the game. The autosuggestion method via tape recorder, � la Bill Glass, is still a Beausay favorite to help an athlete overcome inconvenient Mr. Nice Guy tendencies. Another is a form chart he uses with athletes who score low in persistence, as determined in a test Beausay has devised himself. "It teaches a guy to set goals for himself," he says. "That's important because a guy without goals is usually too complacent to succeed."
Overly complacent subjects are asked to fill out four boxes on the chart. In the first box they record what goals they would like to reach during the coming season or year. In the second box they list the various methods they plan to use to achieve those goals. In the third box they sketch out a proposed timetable. The fourth is the evaluation box. When the season is over and the chips have fallen, they must look back and decide whether they made good on preseason predictions or just fell flat on their faces.
"If a person sticks to that process," claims Beausay, "there is almost nothing he can't do. The issue becomes not 'can I,' but 'will I.' I use it myself."