Everyone who is concerned with all aspects of sport performance would roughly know what sport psychology stands for, and the importance for an athlete to overcome all-too-human psychological barriers which would prevent them from achieving inhuman achievements. However, what one does not know is how exactly sport psychology plays its part in contributing to such goals of athletes. The purpose of this blog article is to fill such a gap. Read on!
1) Sport psychology improve focus and deal with distractions. Many athletes have the ability to concentrate, but often their focus is displaced on the wrong areas such as when a batter thinks “I need to get a hit” while in the batter’s box, which is a result-oriented focus. Much of my instruction on focus deals with helping athlete to stay focused on the present moment and let go of results.
2) Sport psychology develops coping skills to deal with setbacks and errors. Emotional control is a prerequisite to getting into the zone. Athletes with very high and strict expectations, have trouble dealing with minor errors that are a natural part of sports. It’s important to address these expectations and also help athletes stay composed under pressure and when they commit errors or become frustrated.
3) Sport psychology finds the right zone of intensity for your sport. I use intensity in a broad sense to identify the level of arousal or mental activation that is necessary for each person to perform his or her best. This will vary from person to person and from sport to sport. Feeling “up” and positively charged is critical, but not getting overly excited is also important. You have to tread a fine line between being excited to complete, but not getting over-excited.
4) Sport psychology improves or balances motivation for optimal performance. It’s important to look at your level of motivation and just why you are motivated to play your sport. Some motivators are better in the long-term than others. Athletes who are extrinsically motivated often play for the wrong reasons, such as the athlete who only participates in sports because of a parent. I work with athlete to help them adopt a healthy level of motivation and be motivated for the right reasons.
5) Sport psychology helps to identify and enter the “zone” more often. This incorporates everything I do in the mental side of sports. The overall aim is to help athletes enter the zone by developing foundational mental skills that can help athletes enter the zone more frequently. It’s impossible to play in the zone everyday, but you can set the conditions for it to happen more often.
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