As a student of performance psychology I am interested in how I can help people perform better.  As I look out toward a developing field of study I cannot help but wonder if there are some people focusing their study on doing the exact opposite.  What I am talking about is the real possibility of Professional Performance Deteriorators.

This sinister idea came to my mind when I read Shaq’s report on what happened to Rajon Rondo’s jump shot (http://content.usatoday.com/communities/gameon/post/2011/08/barack-obama-rajon-rondo-jump-shot-shaq/1).  If you elected not to read the story goes as follows.

  1. Boston Celtics players hang out with Obama at fund raiser.
  2. Obama cracks following joke, “Hey, Ray, (Allen) why don’t you teach this kid to shoot?”  (Joke mocks Rondo for being a poor shooter)
  3. Everybody laughs (except Rondo).
  4. Rondo shoots even more poorly than normal and appears hesitant on the court.
  5. Celtics lose in playoffs.

Most likely the whole thing is a coincidence, but what if it wasn’t?  Obama is a huge Bulls fan, what if he hoped to sabotage the Celtics to better his team’s chances at making the finals?  Of course this is unlikely but either way it is interesting to think about.  Then I got to thinking about similar happenings.  Of course the first that came to mind was the crazy guy hired by Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore to ruin Happy’s confidence (and eventually hit him with a car).  The point is, our job of enhancing is like offense for a performer.  The opposite of our job would be a Professional Performance Deteriorator.  In the world of competitive sports would it really be so farfetched to imagine teams hiring a Performance Deteriorator to hurt their competitors like McGavin did to Happy?  Some of my more sinister classmates may want to consider this future field of employment.

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