Don’t Ignore The Mental Side Of Sport
90% of sport is played between the ears, so they say! Whether or not that percentage is correct, it would be naïve to dismiss the mental side of sport. So, why then do most coaches ignore it? Are you ignoring the mental side of your sport?
How much training and preparation do you dedicate to the mental side of your athletes’ game? After all, the typical coach would dedicate 90%, if not more, of their weekly training and preparation to physical aspects. This suggests that the mental side of the game only plays a minor role in your athletes’ performance. Which is clearly not the case. But, coaches pay little attention to the mental side of the game usually because they don’t understand it.
You don’t need a degree
Even without a degree in psychology, there are some simple sides of the mental game that coaches can pay close attention to. For example, how are your athletes feeling? Are they tired, stressed, angry or resentful?
Athletes perform better when they are feeling happy and confident as opposed to sad or fearful. Therefore, regular relaxed or upbeat training sessions could help improve your athletes’ mental state, and better prepare them for competition. So, by understanding your athletes’ moods and feelings you can adjust your training and preparation to improve these areas. Just as you would for their skills or fitness.
“[The game] is 90% mental, the other half is physical.”
Aside from moods and feelings, there are other areas of your athletes’ mental game that coaches can work on to gain an extra edge. Below is a link to an article that discusses 5 key mental areas that can be coached to improve performance. Whilst this article describes what sports psychologists can do, coaches can also spend time working with their athletes in these areas.
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