The American Psychological Association defines sport psychology as "the study of the psychological and mental factors that influence and are influenced by participation and performance in sport, exercise, and physical activity, and the application of the knowledge gained through this study to everyday settings." Sport psychology Researcher Robin S. Vealey has said that all evidence points to the fact that sport psychology techniques are effective, according to Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (Carnes, 2011). The use of psychological interventions in competitive sport to enhance performance has become increasingly popular. However, the effectiveness of these interventions has been questioned by some sports psychologists (W. Weinberg, 1994). …“from a scientific perspective, it's a sham. If you just write off negative results, how do you know your intervention does anything at all?” (Engber, 2006). Sports psychology techniques include goal setting - attainable short and long term challenges, imagery - improving sporting performance using only the mind, simulation - simulating performance day conditions, focus - using imagery to the point where the outside world is shut out and lastly, flow - which is a state of effortless concentration that results from a period of intense focus (Carnes, 2011) Can sports psychology really help the best athletes perform even better? Nobody really knows. Despite all the scientific-sounding rhetoric, applied sport psychology remains a qualitative science—more of an art form than a demanding clinical practice. It's not clear if mental training improves performance on the field; what evidence we do have relies more on personal anecdotes than hard data (Engber, 2006).
Throughout the term I, in class have been recording information about my training sessions. This included psychological strategies applied and performance measurements to understand whether I have achieved the specific goals set for every training session. The athletic event that I have trained for this term is Javelin and I have learned that there are many different mental techniques that can be employed in order to advance my physical performance. This report will include reflections on the impact that sports psychology techniques have had on my training and performance. One of the most important aspects to improvement in any given area, but more specifically sports performance is goal setting. “What keeps me going is goals” (Muhammad Ali) There are three types of goals in sport: Performance goals – focuses on own individual performance. Process goals – strong focus on technique, not overall result. Outcome goals – has a particular attention to the result and comparing to others performances. (Money Instructor, 2012) Decent goals adhere to the S.M.A.R.T principals which are: Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.
Psychological Techniques and Athletes
The Sports psychology techniques that I have applied to my program are, imagery or mental rehearsal, goal setting, focus, flow and the use of music with a strong beat for extra motivation. The outcome, performance goals and process goals that I have set for both the field (javelin) and gym sessions are very specific and adhere to the S.M.A.R.T principals. Examples include: outcome goals - Throw the javelin further than Lucas by 1 meter, performance goal – throw 1 meter further than my 20 meters from last session, process goal – complete a full run up and throw with perfect technique as judged by Mr. Sammartino. There are two reasons why I have chosen the psychological techniques that I have. Personal effectiveness and perceived effectiveness as witnessed from others. I find that mental rehearsal, goal setting, music and deep breathing really help me to push past mental barriers set up for myself by myself. Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of my personal heroes and often used visualization. "I also...
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