“A Need for an Understanding of Sports Psychology: A Consideration”
My Perception of Philosophy within Strength and Conditioning
S&C coaches are required to have and often asked what their “Philosophy” is. I describe my philosophy as a set of skills that I have acquired over time via scientific study, fundamental analysis, sporting anecdotes, personal experience and belief that I execute in order to achieve agreed results of physically preparing an athlete for a positive outcome of a sport or body function. Ultimately for an S&C coach the philosophy is a mode of training which he/she has a firm understanding of and belief in. I often use the analogy that the S&C field is like the financial market. There are many players in the market who execute their trades on some mode that they practice, however relative to another player some days they win some days they lose. They all speak the same language/jargon, but their modes of executing trades are entirely different be it mathematical or sentimental. The true skill however, lies in finding the perfections and imperfections of a particular mode and continuously trying to acquire new skills via research in order to execute at will to the dynamics of the financial market to improve the gain to loss ratio. The gains may well be as a result of randomness, till the theory is either broken or proven. We all remember how many experts criticised Michael Johnson for his awkward upright running style till he re-wrote the record books “A Black Swan” event. It has now become a main stream running action for many athletes.
In this article I shall discuss how I intend to incorporate a relatively new subject, to myself, “Sports Psychology” within my philosophy as an S&C coach, in order to add a new skill set that may help push the boundaries of athletic performance. You may want to refer to this as an element of my coaching style which takes into account the physiological and psychological effects caused by an athlete’s perceived state of mind.
What is Sports Psychology?
With the ever growing complexities of athlete training, sole physical performance is no longer sufficient to achieve desired goals. Optimal performance is dependent upon psychological strength, mental preparation, physical strength and technical skill of the sport. Sports psychology is concerned with the mental factors that affect how one performs and how to enhance these factors. Below are a few of these mental factors:
• Depression/Anxiety relating to any personal factor
• Performance difficulties
• Concentration difficulties
• Conflicts with coaches/teammates
• Pressure of any kind
• Loss of confidence
In order to show how the above factors can affect physical performance, I have taken the following paragraphs from a website, which is common knowledge hence not really requiring critical review:
“When the body is under stress, then high levels of stress regulating hormones and neurotransmitters like cortisol, norepinephrine, epinephrine, dopamine and serotonin are released. This is a natural and healthy response to help the body cope with situation. Typically, the stressful event passes and the hormones and neurotransmitters retreat. The body returns to a state of non-stress. However, if you're living with ongoing, incessant stress, then the body can never return to a state of non-stress. It continuously releases high levels of stress-regulating hormones and neurotransmitters. If the body is exposed to these high levels of hormones and neurotransmitters on a continuous basis then it eventually leads to malfunctioning in the endocrine system, nervous system and metabolic system. Over time these hormones and neurotransmitters become depleted as they are exposed to overstimulation for too long and result in a variety of detrimental health effects. The three most serious and common effects from long-term stress are adrenal fatigue, neurotransmitter imbalances...
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