Performance and Training.
Those are the two povs.
This year we get to enjoy the Summer Olympics. Were you ever curious about, for instance, athletes who race in the 100m sprint; they train all of 4 years just for a mere 10 second competition? Only to win by less than a second?
If you had 4 years to do something as opposed to 10 seconds, do you believe that your feelings and approach to each perspective will be the same or different?
While that ratio of training to performing isn’t as large for other sports, the idea persists – all sports train more than they perform.
The Sport Psychology consultant knows those two dimensions and knows both what benefits and hinders the mind in each realm.
Performance is the goal for all sport programs so let’s start there. What does a Sport Psychology consultant know about Performance?
We know that the ONLY MENTAL ABILITY that benefits a performer while performing is them being able to hold their attention in the present moment irrespective of what is happening. We train the mind using forms of mindfulness practice to increase the athlete’s ability to remain present.
Performing needs your full attention, but it’s easier said than done. Lurking and pulling you back into the shadows are the relevance of the competition, the fans, your expectations, your teammates expectations, low confidence etc. And while mindfulness should help you “ignore” such things, you can help lessen the disruptions. Mental skill training like thought and emotion control may be seen as not having a direct impact on performance itself, but those skills do however have an influential impact on the ability that allows performance to flourish – attention.
For 7 years, being able to witness the inner workings of various collegiate athletic programs, one thing is clear – athletes must develop more than the skill of how to play their sport. An athlete has to deal with a new coach’s personality, new teammates personalities, a new way of practicing, new schemes, navigating conflicts, communication mishaps and there are much more that I’m sure you can add to this list. What skills do they need to develop in order to be successful in that environment? What environment do coaches need to set up in order to help with that transition?
This is something for which a Sport Psychology consultant assists coaching staffs in recognizing and preparing a program building plan to execute.
An orientation session about what a program wants, will not be sufficient to help an athlete fit in easier. Because sessions like those assume a skill-set that athletes may not have.
I remember hearing a naval commander say “I will never ask of my men something that I didn’t resource them with the ability to give to me.” It’s a great quotable to live by, especially when we like asking our athletes to be mentally tough.Tweet
How do you get an athlete to communicate more clearly?
How do you get an athlete to increase their learning capacity and build trust in what they already know?
How do you get an athlete to increase their willpower or become more resilient?
How do you get buy-in that impacts personal responsibility?
These are some of the questions a competent Sport Psychology consultant can assist you in working through. We also teach mental skills enhancement during the training dimension so that it lessens the amount of disruption to athlete’s attentive ability while performing.
Training is for building, Performing is for trusting. You can’t trust in what you haven’t built.
Like we say here at JOC:
Observe and respond is how you perform.
The Core 4 is how you train.