The increased stress of competitions can cause athletes to react both physically and mentally in a manner that can negatively affect their performance abilities. They may become tense, their heart rates race, they break into a cold sweat, they worry about the outcome of the competition, they find it hard to concentrate on the task in hand.
This has led coaches to take an increasing interest in the field of sport psychology and in particular in the area of competitive anxiety. That interest has focused on techniques that athletes can use in the competitive situation to maintain control and optimise their performance. Once learned, these techniques allow the athlete to relax and to focus his/her attention in a positive manner on the task of preparing for and participating in competition. Psychology is another weapon in the athlete’s armoury in gaining the winning edge.
The 4C’s – Concentration, confidence, control and commitment (the 4C’s) are generally considered the main mental qualities that are important for successful performance in most sports.
- Concentration – ability to maintain focus
- Confidence – believe in one’s abilities
- Control – ability to maintain emotional control regardless of distraction
- Commitment – ability to continue working to agreed goals
The techniques of relaxation, centering and mental imagery can assist an athlete to achieve the 4C’s.
Our coaching also focuses upon Successful emotional states Psychology Skills Training
The following are emotional states experienced with successful performance:
- Happy – felt that this was my opportunity to demonstrate an excellent performance. Felt I could beat anybody.
- Calm and nervous – Felt nervous but really at ease with these feelings. I accepted and expected to be nervous but felt ready to start.
- Anxious but excited – Felt so ready to compete but a little nervous. Nerves and excitement come together
- Confident – I remembered all the successful training sessions and previous best performances
Psychology Skills Training
Psychology skills training for the athlete should aim to improve their mental skills, such as self-confidence, motivation, the ability to relax under great pressure, and the ability to concentrate and usually has three phases:
- Education phase, during which athletes learn about the importance of psychological skills and how they affect performance
- Acquisition phase, during which athletes learn about the strategies and techniques to improve the specific psychological skills that they require
- Practice phase, during which athletes develop their psychological skills through repeated practice, simulations, and actual competition.