Psychological Preparation

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The Role and Use of Sports Psychologists

  • Aim: to establish mental toughness
  • Sports psychology: involves the study of human behaviour in sports setting and the influence of coach, athlete and environment on performance
  • The sports psychiatrist aims to
    • Help athletes overcome the pressures of competition
    • Improve performance by teaching techniques for mental control and alertness
    • Educate and teach coaches/players
  • Psychological skills training (PST) can enhance both performance and self-confidence. But these skills need to be practiced
  • Focusing: staying in a controlled emotional state and concentrating on the immediate event, sometimes employs the use of cue words
  • Centring: process that gives the athlete a feeling of being grounded, in control
  • Positive self-talk: can help in rehearsing and correcting a skill and refocusing

Relaxation Techniques

  • Relaxation: characterised by a decrease in breathing rate, heart rate, muscle activity and oxygen consumption
  • Anxiety: fear/apprehension as a result of a proposed threat
  • Progressive muscular relaxation: tense then relax a muscle group
  • Mental relaxation: visually tranquil experience relax the mind and body
  • Mental rehearsal: repeat a mental picture before a performance
  • Centred breathing: focus on breathing depth and rate
  • Flotation: floating in water to produce a sense of calm
  • Meditation: exclusion of surrounding interferences
  • Sports massage: manipulating soft tissue
  • Autogenic training: mental creation of feelings of heaviness and warmth in the muscles
  • Biofeedback: uses instruments which measure changes in bodily functions (skin temperature, breathing, heart rate etc)
  • Hypnosis

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