Sport psychology: why is mental preparation just as important as physical training?
The vision we have of high performance sport in general is that of athletes who are subjected to hours of very intense physical training. This vision is simple because it excludes a very important parameter: the psychology of sport. As surprising as it may seem, good mental preparation is just as important as successful physical training. It’s not just a matter of balance, but the issues surrounding the psychology of athletes are far beyond anything we can imagine.
Sports psychology: what is it?
Sports psychology is a science that studies the mental phenomena of athletes. Born at the end of the 19thth In the 19th century, this branch of psychology demonstrated how the mind plays a key role in athlete performance alongside physical preparation. It has never been as relevant as it is today.
In a context of constant pressure and the search for results, the accompaniment of a mental coach is no longer an option but a necessity to remain balanced in your sports practice.
However, you should know that sports mental coaching is only one branch of sports psychology, but certainly the most important given all its implications.
Mental coaching in sport
Better known as “mental preparation”, mental coaching is one of the applications of sports psychology. In sports, this is the most common reason to consult a sports psychologist. It derives its legitimacy from the fact that an athlete can develop their full sporting potential if they know how to use their mental strength. Simply put, mentally strong athletes are usually the best.
In fact, you should know that all athletic competitions have one thing in common: stress. The athlete is subjected to the stress associated with the commitment to results, the stress associated with the course of the competition, the stress associated with the performance of his challengers… Being physically present and being in a state of mental calm and relaxation finding is counterproductive.
At this level, the mental coach intervenes support the athlete in optimizing his mental abilities at competitions which he denies. Specifically, it teaches the athlete:
- increase all his mental faculties;
- managing their emotions, especially stress;
- develop self-confidence;
- Controlling motivation and concentration.
In this way, the mental trainer helps the athlete to release blockages and trigger motivation. It uses different motivational techniques, visualization tools, anchors, etc. We find for example:
- depolarization which consists in helping the athlete eliminate his fears and anxieties and regain a state of mental calm;
- the technique by Jacobson, which consists in making the athlete become aware of his body in order to control himself physically and emotionally;
- neurolinguistic programming that brings together the knowledge and practices of self-transformation and communication.
This area of coaching is also about setting difficult but realistic goals, strengthening group cohesion and improving communication with the coach or with fellow players.
The different types of mental preparation
Mental preparation has different branches. It can be individual or collective. Depending on the form, the implementation is different.
Individual mental preparation
In the Individual mental preparation, the mental coach offers support to an individual athlete. In general, this form of mental preparation is conducive to Athletes who practice individual sports such as athletics, tennis, weightlifting, boxing, table tennis, judo, wrestling, judo, fencing, swimming, skiing, long jump, etc.
This type of support begins with a diagnostic. This step takes the form of customized questionnaires and D’one-on-one calls. It allows the creator Understand preparation needs of the athlete. Based on the diagnosis made by him, the creator creates a Mental Preparation Coaching Plan.
If the diagnosis reveals that the athlete has difficulties in coping with stress, mental coaching focuses primarily on this aspect. Mental coaching takes the form of a series of hour-long sessions about, with psychosomatic or cognitive support. The sessions help the athlete to remove their worries and fears from their mental space in order to achieve the expected result.
Collective mental preparation
In the size of collective mental preparationthe coach accompanies enthusiastic team athletes such as baseball, rugby, soccer, handball, basketball, hockey, synchronized swimming, etc. Relay athletes also benefit from this type of coaching.
So the mental trainer takes the athletes in groups and offers them one Common support. While the concepts of dealing with emotions, motivation and self-confidence are developed, mental coaching in the group mainly consists of Team communication, team cohesion, develop fighting spiritetc.
Mental readiness awareness
The mental readiness awareness is a coaching in which the trainer accompanies a maximum of 10 groups of athletes. During the coaching sessions he lays out for each of the athletes a personal performance profile. Using this sheet, he shares the mental preparation techniques adapted to each profile.
Mental preparation and clinical sports psychology
Clinical sports psychology is a branch of sports psychology that comes very close to mental preparation. When it comes to the athlete’s psyche, he is primarily interested in the psychological dimension.
In fact, given the demands and pressures related to the world of sport, the athlete can be prone to various psychological problems. They can manifest as behavioral problemsof eating disorder or through the depression. Some athletes succumb mood swingsHas violent behaviorfor the dementiaouch Burn outeven at Suicide.
This is the type of disorder that can appear after periods of overtrainingfrom outsiderD’exhaustion Or from injuries. They can also be caused byAccumulation of frustrationsout of personal devaluationfrom Feeling of ineffectiveness or underachievementfrom a state of mental vulnerability or some privacy issues.
Thus, clinical sport psychology deals with the clinical dimension of the athlete’s mind, where mental preparation deals with motivation and the two disciplines inherent in mental psychology are essential to the athlete’s life.