Dr. Nate Zinsser

Dr. Nate Zinsser

Performance Psychology Program Director

nathaniel.zinsser@westpoint.edu

Biography


Dr. Nate Zinsser is the director of West Point’s Performance Psychology Program, the nation’s gold standard curriculum for teaching and training the mental skills that underlie excellence in any human performance – confidence despite setbacks, concentration despite distractions, and composure under pressure. Dr. Zinsser has been the lead performance psychologist at West Point since 1992. He previously taught sport psychology at East Stroudsburg University and in the University of Virginia’s Continuing Education Division. He is a Certified Mental Performance Coach with the Association for Applied Sport Psychology and presents nationwide to university, professional athletic, and corporate groups. Dr. Zinsser is the author of Dear Dr. Psych, the first sport psychology guidebook for youth sport participants, six textbook chapters on building confidence, and an advice column to Sports Illustrated for Kids which ran for 5 years. He has been interviewed for sport psychology content by ESPN, the BBC, MSNBC, Men’s Health, Runner’s World, Outside, Muscle Media, and Army Times. Dr. Zinsser earned his doctorate in sport psychology from the University of Virginia, his master’s degree from Columbia University, and his bachelor’s degree from Hampshire College. His sport psychology training is complemented by his experience as a state wrestling champion, elite level mountaineer, and lifetime practitioner of Japanese karate and meditative disciplines. Originally from New Jersey, Dr. Zinsser lives in Fishkill, NY with his wife of 37 years.

Ongoing Research Projects


Mental Imagery for enhancing motor skill acquisition

Publications & Presentations


Dear Dr. Psych Sports Illustrated for Kids Book Series, published by Little Brown, Inc. July, 1991
 
"Cognitive techniques for improving performance and building Confidence", in J. Williams (Ed.) Applied Sport Psychology: Personal Growth to Peak Performance. Second Edition, 1993. Third Edition 1997. Fourth Edition 2000. Fifth Edition 2005, Sixth Edition 2009 McGraw Hill Publishing, Mountain
 
“Psychological Factors in Volleyball Performance”. with C. Wrisman and V. Draper in American Volleyball Coaches Association Handbook. 1977 Masters Press, Indianapolis IN.
 
"Teaching Mental Skills to Physical People”. with R Gambardella, in K. Asher (ed) Best of Coaching Volleyball Series, Book Three. 1996. Masters Press, Indianapolis, IN.
 
“Effective Thinking”. with R Gambardella, in K. Asher (ed) Best of Coaching Volleyball Series, Book Three. 1996. Masters Press, Indianapolis, IN.
 
“A New Look at Arousal and Performance”. with R Gambardella, in K. Asher (ed) Best of Coaching Volleyball Series, Book Three. 1996. Masters Press, Indianapolis, IN.
 
“The Performance Dynamic: A Three Stage Process”. with R Gambardella, in K. Asher (ed) Best of Coaching Volleyball Series, Book Three. 1996. Masters Press, Indianapolis, IN.
 
Visual versus kinesthetic mental imagery: Efficacy for the retention and transfer of a closed motor skill in young children. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 2008, 62(3), 174-187
 
“Military Applications of Performance Enhancement Psychology”. Military Review. Sep/Oct 2004
 
“Applying Sport Psychology to Training the Warrior Ethos” Infantry Bugler. Spring 2004
 
“Say What? Controlling your Performance Depends on Controlling your Self-Talk”. Pure Power. Volume 4, No. 4, July 2004
 
“Superstitions, Rituals, and Pre-Lift Routines: Pathways to Freedom or Shortcuts to Slavery?”
Pure Power. Volume No.5, September 2002
 
“Imagery: What you see is what you get” Pure Power. Volume 2 No. 2, March 2002
 
"The Psychology of Optimal Volleyball" with R. Gambardella, Journal of the American Volleyball Coaches Association. A six part series of articles on the topics of teaching mental skills, effective thinking, arousal and performance relationships, attention control techniques, and team dynamics. Beginning April/May 1993.
 
"Dear Dr. Psych", a monthly column of sport psychology advice for young athletes, Sports Illustrated for Kids, monthly from October 1989 to July 1994. Retitled "Help!" February 1994
 
"Cardiac deceleration, breathing patterns and behavioral routines in elite and beginning golfers" with S.H. Boutcher, Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology. Volume 12 Number 1, March 1990.
 
"A Mountaineering Sattori" Climbing, Jan./Feb. 1976