Although mental training is still a developing discipline of performance enhancement elite athletes have been using mental training techniques for years. For example For example Jack Nicklaus used mental imagery before every single shot he played and Roy Halladay admits to listening to a mental rehearsal programs before each game he pitches.
There are many possible reasons why people still do not buy into the benefits of sport psychology. The main reasons being a fear of the unknown, a lack of time, and confusion on what works best.
Sports psychologists’ help athletes identify and overcome the mental barriers that limit their performance, therefore allow them to fulfill their true athletic potential. More and more athletes are dedicating parts of their training to the mental side of their performance to gain a mental edge over their competitors.
Sports psychology professionals aim to improve athlete’s mental skills, such as self-confidence, motivation, the ability to relax under pressure, and the ability to concentrate in competition. Sports Psychology is another weapon in the athlete’s arsenal to gaining a competitive edge. Sports psychologists are not really shrinks per se, but instead educate athletes about the importance of mental game skills and how their mindset affects sports performance.
Working with a sports psychologist can help you improve your performance by focusing on techniques that help you excel in competitive situations. Good mental game experts teach simple mental training strategies and techniques to help athletes overcome the challenges that limit their ability. It’s not therapy, but education. And a good mental game coach helps athletes apply what they learn to practice and competition.
Through repetition and applying these strategies in practice and competition, athletes are able to develop a strong mental game to reach peak performance my consistently. But the key is to take what you learn in the educational sessions and apply to practice and competition.
However, some athletes resist sports psychology training. With a stronger mindset, athletes improve their consistency, boost their confidence, improve their focus and learn how to practice smarter.
And athletes are not broken or dysfunctional if they engage in mental game training. The mental game can be improved with practice just like physical skill. Many pros rely on sports psychology to improve their confidence and performance.
Next time you’re in a slump and want to improve your performance, consider mental game training or sports psychology. To achieve excellence, athletes need to grow their talents through focused and effective practice and get the mental edge with sport psychology.
Article by: Patrick Cohn and Michael Edger