8 Unbelievable Things You Never Knew About Sports Psychology
In sports, a technical Coach focuses on the physical/technical aspects of athletes, while the sports psychologists concentrate on their mind development. A sports psychologist gives mental training to seasoned and amateur athletes likewise, in order for them move towards their goals and achieve them faster.
You may be surprised to learn that these experts even also work with the parents of athletes and coaches.
Below are some amazing facts about sports personnel that you may not be aware of.
- Quitting sports, because they feel that the tag of being unsuccessful is bad for their life
- Give up the game, because of mental and physical fatigue
- Feeling that quitting is sometimes better
- Feeling like a used-up force
- One of the top fear of Athletes is actually seeing the sports psychologist, because they are not comfortable to address their apprehensions and fear of failure
- Mindsets can lead to failures even before the game begins.
- Sports personnel will need to think like a champion in order to become one, or even to stay there once they reach their top performance.
- Feeling inadequate and demoralized after successive defeats.
Big importance is given to sports psychology today, and its application has indeed helped individual players and teams in breaking new records.
Quitting sports because the athlete is unsuccessful – Is bad
Nobody desires to be a quitter. It is also considered as a form of disgrace or a mark of shame by many people. However, sometimes things may get rough, and Sports Personnel will find the going to be tough. People comment that quitters are softies or weaklings, who decided to take the easy way out.
According to sports psychologists, quitting sports does not make sports personnel a weakling or a loser. The decision is complex and unique for every individual. Many of them give up because they have run into roadblocks or had multiple failures, which has ultimately made them feel badly discouraged. Even though they have the best coach and teammates, they are determined to leave.
Psychologists work with depressed athletes, and make them perceive that secret of success is not having superior playing skills, even though they certainly are helpful in making sports personnel task easy. God-bestowed physical advantage is beneficial to attain that competitive edge, but success is a product of perseverance, determination, motivation, positive thinking, state management etc.
Remember – Success eventually crowns those who refuse to give up, especially when everything goes wrong.
Give up the sport because of conscious mind-play – A lie
Conscious mind plays small performance-disrupting tricks with an athlete. When a sports personnel get exhausted with the intense physical training sessions, their conscious mind tends to pamper them. They will start thinking of lines like, ‘can’t swim or run another lap’, I’m too exhausted’, etc.
The sports psychologists help sports personnel combat with the whining voice that seduces them, and tries to reduce their efforts. They will learn to confront this lying trickster, and hang in for a little while longer. When they are aware that their body is not allowing them to do another sprint, they will be able to do a couple more anyway. This kind of persistence of going against inner uncertainties and negativity daily will help them to develop discipline and confidence.
Remember – Create meaningful auditory digital signals (inner dialogues which work), and get stronger.
Quitting is sometimes better
Let’s look at some instances here –
Some kids like playing tennis instead of football, because they hate lengthy practice schedules and military style leadership.
Some parents desire great sports achievement from their kids, only because they failed to do so in their college years. The kid does not share his father’s dream of huge crowds cheering, because he is sick of listening to the father’s glorious high school football days.
The father’s dream shatters, when the kid decides to quit the football team. He wishes to shout at the kid about letting the teammates and coach down, letting go an opportunity to attain college scholarship, lots of money, and blah, blah, blah.
Sports psychologist suggests parents not to speak, when they are emotionally hurt, because they say stupid things, which they regret later on.
Parents must focus on promoting their kids, stop giving lengthy lectures and be mindful to not fall short on listening. Lecturing turns off a kid.
Parents must set aside their agenda, feelings, and judgments. Help their kids make the decisions that are best for them. Many parents personally fear for their children, but end up blowing up the situation. Sometime, if a child wants to quit the game, it may be for the better. Parents should not sound it like the end of the world to them.
Remember – If the kid is unhappy, emotionally abused, burnt out, or does not enjoy participating, then quitting is the best option they think for themselves.
Coach and his powerful interaction
Some kids prematurely fall out from their focus. Does the physical coach understand their reasons? Can a coach stop them?
A coach must be hopeful and take responsibility. However, there are some who get rigid, when players drop out, and simply blame them for quitting. They might even blame the athletes for being soft, cry-babies, quitters, selfish, or spoiled, etc.
The coach makes use of embarrassment and humiliation as the teaching tool. He is a yeller, emotionally abusive, doesn’t listen, unfair, dishonest, partial, mean, and more. This is the kind of relationship a coach knowingly or unknowingly sets with the athletes that drives them completely away from the sport. Bad relationship kills the kid’s enjoyment, harms the learning process, and hinders their performance.
Psychologists say that a coach must be troubled, if a kid desires to leave the sport. Personal awareness is necessary for becoming a good coach. A good coach must control their feelings of anger or feeling of getting hurt, due to the pressures from league administrators, parents, and media. Coach must be aware of the feelings that run in the fields.
Without awareness, a coach is bound to pass comments, roll their eyes, or even snap at the player. Sometimes athletes may overreact to such conditions, so a coach must take time to watch how the players respond to their interactions. This helps to undo the negative effects of exaggerated responses. For this, the coach has to be vigilant of their own behavior.
A Coach must have the courage and check with the parents and kid, for reasons why the decision was made to leave the game.
A Sports Psychologist plays a big part as a bridge between the players and the technical coaches, by ensuring enhanced communication, and keeping everybody in an outcome frame to performing better.
Remember – Sometimes the athlete’s quitting may have nothing to do with the coach. A Coach must check and ensure that they are not the cause and keep themselves focused.
Athletes top fear of not seeing sports psychologist
One of the top fears of Athletes is actually seeing the sports psychologist, because they fear:
- To be asked or made to change, which can be intimidating
- Talking about mental processes can make them lose their natural and spontaneous mind-body power
- Of being asked about mental weaknesses, which is an embarrassing disclosure in the sport world
- Of being called fussy or psychos, because they are obsessed about mental game details or complain regularly
- Of becoming dependent on sports psychologist
- Losing self-confidence, because their weaknesses can get leaked out
- Because they are not comfortable to discuss their psychological issues and feelings
Awareness of sports psychology today and its application
Today, sport psychology is used virtually in every university, college, national team, professional team, Olympic team, coaching associations, just to name a few. Top sports teams regularly take the help of sports psychologists to maintain the focus of their players.
Sports psychologists help athletes -
- Enhance performance
- Cope up with the competition pressures
- Recover from injuries
- Maintain exercise program
- Enjoy the sports
They even teach some athletes off-the-field strategies like mental rehearsals, relaxation techniques, and cognitive restructuring. They can be useful in their workplace and other settings.
Does every kind of sports hire sports psychologists?
National as well as international teams participating in soccer, cricket, rugby, racing, hockey, martial arts, rowing, gymnastics, swimming, running, weight lifting, racquetball, badminton, dance, and ice-skating etc. use mental coaching.
Even other sports like bowling, rifle shooting, darts, billiards, and archery have wide sports psychology literature. Parents, coaches, and athletes can maximize their sports performance by reading articles on peak performances.
All the above aspects prove that sports psychologist helps sports personnel to become better and more confident athlete.
Online or phone sports psychology coaching sessions
Sports psychology coaching session is vital for an athlete’s success and learning experience. Technology has made it possible to avail the services of the best sports psychologists even from different cities/countries. Many of them even provide mental training sessions via phone, if a Sports person is unable to reach then trough internet connections. Video technology is also used to perform team seminars, which can be beneficial to the team and coaches.
In the first coaching session, the sports background and mental capacity (weakness & strength) of the player is discussed. In this session, sports personnel can talk about emotional hold-backs, performance issues, or negative thought patterns.
Even the physical coach and parents are included in the program. It helps the psychologists get to know their perception about the game of an individual, as well as their mental performance. They will identify the most inhibiting mental blocks, and help the players in eliminating them.
Both recent and historical competition statistics is closely assessed, in order to get the entire picture of the situation. On the basis of their assessment, the psychologist develops a coaching program that highlights the main areas to be enhanced.
In the following sessions, sports personnel will be given strategies to enhance their mental skills. Ineffective habits, beliefs, or routines, will be replaced with more efficient ones.
Sports personnel will be made aware of their top barriers and about their impact on their performance. Many athletes are totally unaware about how the mind-games can interfere with their performance. These programs can get them to develop the much needed mental skills for greater stability and success.
Learning of conceptual strategies can be transferred to the real-time onsite practice and competition. Applying what sports personnel learnt at these sessions can help them to survive practices and competitions.
Remember – A sports personnel will need to give their full commitment to reap the advantages of the mental coaching sessions.
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