Athletes use sport psychology to help refine, hone, and master their skills.
Sport psychologist ensures that they are performing at their utmost, enjoy their sport, and overcome obstacles.
Almost every mental skill begins here. If we are unaware of our goals, we do not have direction. If we are unaware of where to focus our attention we make mistakes. If we are unaware of self-talk that is negative, we self-defeat. If we are unaware of images of re-injuring ourselves after returning to play, we create our own down-fall. Awareness is the key to change and understanding of the power of mental skills.
The sport culture reinforces aggressiveness. Assertiveness is aggressive performance at the right degree of intensity, respecting the competition in order to overcome it. Assertiveness teaches athletes to perform using their skills and drive but without making errors that could cost them in penalties.
How we talk about our performance, when we show up to training, what we say about our teammates and coaches, the eye contact we make when learning, and our posture when we are in uniform all communicate what we, our team, our desires, and our selves represent. Effective communication can bring any group (a team, a staff, an organization) to the top of their game, efficiently and successfully.
Confidence can be viewed as a belief in an ability to successfully execute tasks for performance. It is an understanding we have within ourselves that we are competent (capable of doing), autonomous (can do it on our own and make decisions about actions), and part of something bigger (whether that is a team or a representative of your sport).
Focus is the athlete’s ability to sustain attention on an immediate task and remain prepared to react spontaneously to the situation with controlled intensity. Focusing attention works by the athlete ignoring or suspending attention to non-relevant cues and enhancing or highlighting more important ones. In this filtering process, the athlete is more capable of reacting to the most important parts of their environment.
The process of setting goals helps you chose WHERE you want to go in life and HOW you are going to get there. By setting goals and measuring their achievement, you are able to see what you have done and what you are capable of doing. Moreover, properly set goals are motivating and the process of achieving them will build your self-confidence quickly.
Imagery is the process of creating or recreating experiences in the mind using all of the senses. Since imagery is an internal process of the mind-body, there are only theories as to how imagery works. Basically, imagery “tricks” your body into believing it is actually doing what you imagine. In other words, imagery works because the body does not distinguish between images and real events.
The combination of self-talk, imagery, focus and especially goal setting will have a heavy influence on our intensity in training and performance. Using arousal regulation we are able to motivate ourselves to achieve the process and short-term goals that will result in our outcome and long-term goals.
Like relaxation after a competition, we usually want to be as awake and alert as necessary before a competition. Every athlete is different. Some athletes enjoy bouncing off the walls to prepare themselves to perform at their best, while other athletes perform better when they listen to music and prepare themselves to do what they know they do best.
There is no better mental skill to recover from performance. Similarly, when confronted with significant pressure, we will need the ability to calm ourselves and perform in the fashion that we train. Tight muscles, caused by stress and anxiety, will change the form of our body as we attempt to flow with our bodies in motion.
Self-talk is not an inner dialogue of our or someone else’s voice, or at least not always. Self-talk can take form in an image, a feeling, a statement, a single word, and many other things. Self-talk tells us about our beliefs and the power of our minds. Ultimately, we get what we tell ourselves we will – we constantly create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Up Your Game
Take your first step towards achieving your goals and becoming the athlete you were born to be.