Seahawks, Baumgartner linked by sports psychologist

Oct 15, 2012, 11:36 AM | Updated: Oct 16, 2012, 10:05 am

By Bill Swartz

Just before kickoff Sunday, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and his players were glued to the television monitors at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field. They weren’t watching another football game. They were keeping tabs on “Fearless Felix.”

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Pete Carroll and the Seahawks watched Felix Baumgartner break the speed of sound before Sunday’s game. (AP)

Austrian Felix Baumgartner, 43, became the first skydiver to break the speed of sound as he jumped from 24 miles above the Earth. Wearing a high-tech suit, Baumgartner reached a maximum speed of 833.9 mph during his jump over the New Mexico desert.

Reporters were curious why Carroll had been mentioning Baumgartner during his press conferences for the past week. It turns out the Seahawks’ wins and Baumgartner’s record-setting sky jump have someone in common.

“Dr. Michael Gervais works with us, and he’s his [Baumgartner’s] performance coach”, Carroll told “Brock and Salk” on Monday. “He was right there at the launch pad and we’ve been watching this thing for months now.”

Carroll admitted to being nervous seeing Baumgartner take the plunge from his pressurized capsule from an altitude of 128,097 feet.

“Everyone was hanging on the edge,” Carroll said. “We were all nervous as all heck in the locker room before the game watching him do his thing.”

Dr. Michael Gervais is the co-founder the Pinnacle Performance Center in southern California. He specializes in helping professional and Olympic athletes create tools to thrive under pressure situations.

His advice had positive results for Baumgartner, who landed safely in the eastern New Mexico desert about nine minutes after jumping from his capsule.

Whatever Dr. Gervais said to the Seahawks has also been paying dividends, as Seattle pulled out a dramatic last-minute victory over the New England Patriots.

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