Ever wondered how professional athletes keep their game up high at every match, race, game? I found that it is a very useful advantage that sets apart an achiever and someone that is just a thinker. Even if you are a recreational fitness individual, how are you harnessing your motivation, is it intrinsically driven (weight loss, toning muscles) or extrinsically driven (females – to fit into your dresses, males – to rock your shirts) The Power Of Sport Psychology will determine your direction of effort, focus and purpose.
Sport psychology is an interdisciplinary science that draws on knowledge from many related fields including biomechanics, physiology, kinesiology and psychology. It involves the study of how psychological factors affect performance and how participation in sport and exercise affect psychological and physical factors.
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Sport Psychologists’ work on mental areas that are essential to performance. These mental areas include:
#1 Moderating confidence, anxiety levels, amount of motivation
#2 Learning when to concentrate (switch on) and when not to concentrate (switch off)
#3 Improving fast decision making (while practising and competing) and slow decision making (how to use time, balance training with life and work out what to do after retiring)
How can someone improve on their daily life in their decision making process, identifying potential challenges to overcome, crossing hurdles with the right attitude and motivation. Here’s a list of techniques used by sport psychologists. Pick THREE that you feel would help you work faster, smarter and better.
1. Goal Setting (SMART)
Make sure you set clear, achievable goals that stretch you to perform at your best, then articulate a step by step plan for achieving each of them.
Smart – some of these goals include the objectivity, right way of establishing progress, outcomes.
Measurable – these include ways to track the progress and outcomes with metrics
Attainable – everyone wants to lose weight or have toned muscles, but is your goals attainable with the amount of effort, direction of intensity towards it?
Realistic – This would mean a reality and not a fantasy, we are want a fantastic body/ health. How are we working towards those, a realistic goal to start with could be “I want to lose 2kgs in 3 months” that is a realistic goal and not to lose 20kg in 3 months
Timely – within the time frame set, are you able to put in the effort? A huge part is also diet, nutrition, are you able to “eat clean” or to reduce on fatty food intakes.
2. Mental Imagery
This has helped me reached my goals in sprinting, focusing on the process out of the starting blocks, accelerating to reaching my top speed. In fitness, this could mean focusing on pushing through the 10th rep or the 15th rep when you feel your muscles burning and your heart racing. Take a few minutes before your next workout, go through the movement pattern and focus on yourself completing the action with ease. As noted sports performance shrink Dr Jim Afremow has shown, personal performance can dramatically improve when we consistently rehearse mentally.
3. Breath Control
When you breath slowly and deeply, your mood never fails to calm down. Breath control is a rarely discussed secret to high performance, how do you know when to breathe in or out during a lets say “Lats Pull Down”. When you pull, you are producing effort and force to lift the weight, you exert out by breathing out.
4. Correct Intensity
Many individuals do not understand the importance of directing intensity. How does one have a “successful workout” It is by regulating the intensity throughout the workout. A quick scan on what that means.
Higher Intensity – Lower Volume / Lower Intensity – Higher Volume
This is a good simple approach to your next workout. You have to moderate the intensity based on the reps, sets, intensity.
5. Self Talk
Well, positive self talk always works? For me, it happens in both ways, positive and negative self talk. Somehow, my brain is wired to perform better when I “put myself down” Maybe it is a self reflective tool to push harder. We all have voices in our head and do continue to speak to yourself during your workouts. It will help you immensely when you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses. It pays to be your own best supporter.
What is a workout without enjoyment? Yes, you are pushing your body through the limits, you are spending time, effort and energy to convince yourself that this workout will help me stay in shape, to reach that personal goal. The outcome is fixed, to improve, however, what is the process like? Are you enjoying burning those calories, turning down “cheat days”? You might not have an answer now. Interestingly, as British positive psychology expert Dr Robert Holden often emphasizes, enjoyment is largely a choice, it’s not purely determined by our circumstances.
Select THREE to focus on this week. Then watch and track to see your performance soar.
I see the value in imparting the skills and knowledge I have gathered through my years in competitive sports. I would like to be able to support, guide and to push anyone that would love to reach their fitness/health goals. I am conducting Personal Training Sessions for the month of March. If you are interested, do head on to www.fitocal.setmore.com to book an appointment today (P.s It comes with a fitness session + a free consultation)