Psychological techniques can be used to help people perform more effectively—


Psychological techniques can be used to help people perform more effectively— this concept represents a major focus of sport psychology throughout its history. Psychological Skills Training, including, Arousal Regulation, Imagery, Self-Confidence, Goal Setting, and Concentration, provides the coach and the athlete with a choice of “tools” to apply in a given situation. Our chief focus is on teaching students how psychological skills can be trained or developed in sport and exercise participants.

How are psychological techniques used to help people perform more effectively?

The chief focus of the prior four weeks centered on teaching how psychological skills can be trained or developed in sport and exercise participants.

By using the tools discussed in weeks 1-4 individuals can use the power of their mind to build mental toughness and take sport performance to new levels.

Have you ever wondered why athletes with so much talent never come close to reaching their potential, while other athletes with far less athletic ability achieve great success?

Many experts believe that sport performance is 75% -90% mental.  This gives a clear indication that athletes who are better prepared mentally are the ones that are successful.  As sports continue to evolve, it will be even more important for athletes to spend more time training their minds.

Key Point:

Through the methods discussed in this course, athletes can develop confidence and have razor sharp focus, have a fearless approach, enhance your athletic skills, end performance anxiety, remain calm and relaxed while playing or competing, and access inner resources of strength and power.

By tapping into the mind’s tremendous power, athletes are more able to simply allow their body to operate on pure instinct.  As a result, you will be more consistent in your play and have more opportunities for peak performances.

We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated……….Maya Angelou

Psychological skills training (PST) is the systematic and consistent practice of mental or psychological skills for the purpose of enhancing performance, increasing enjoyment, or achieving greater sport and physical activity self-satisfaction (Weinberg & Gould, 2011, p.248).  Some of the methods and techniques for PST include, goal setting, attentional control, relaxation and stress management, and attribution training.  Coaches and athletes know how important physical skills are and how they need to be regularly practiced and refined through many repetitions but psychological skills need to be practiced as well.  Psychological skills help an athlete to maintain focus and concentration, regulate arousal levels, enhance confidence, and maintain motivation.  These skills are just as important as physical skills.  Psychological skills training is often neglected because of a lack of knowledge, perceived lack of tie, or a belief that psychological skills are innate and can’t be taught (Weinberg & Gould 2011, p. 251).

Psychological Skills Training Tools:

  • Attentional Control
  • Attribution Training
  • Feedback
  • Goal-setting
  • Imagery
  • Pre-performance Routine
  • Relaxation
  • Self-talk

Key PST Concepts

  • Psychological skills training refers to learning to systematically and consistently practice mental or psychological skills, such as maintaining and focusing concentration, regulating arousal levels, enhancing confidence, and maintaining motivation. Psychological skills can be learned, but they must be practiced over time and integrated into a person’s daily training regimen.
  • Psychological skills training is not just for athletes, but for anyone who desires to improve performance.
  • A number of myths survive about the development of psychological skills training (PST), for example that PST is only for “problem” athletes, is only for elite athletes, provides “quick fix” solutions to complex problems, and is hocus-pocus and does not really work.
  • Three general phases of PST include education (learning the importance of PST), acquisition (learning mental skills), and practice (using the mental skills during training before using them in competition). The learning of psychological skills progresses from practices and simulations to actual competitions. Mental training should continue throughout an athlete’s sport participation.
  • The ultimate goal of PST is self-regulation, the process by which athletes learn how to effectively function on their own by working toward long- and short-term goals and effectively monitoring and managing thoughts, feelings, and behavior. The five stages of self-regulation include problem identification, commitment, execution, environmental management, and generalization.
  • There are a number of potential problems to be aware of in implementing PST programs. These include an athlete’s lack of conviction, a perceived lack of time to fit in the training program, a lack of sport-specific knowledge (when the program is administered by a sport psychology consultant), and a lack of follow-up and evaluation.
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