Applied Research in Sports Psychology
Applied Research in Sports Psychology

Applied Research in Sports Psychology

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  • Pages: 3 (1342 words)
  • Published: November 22, 2021
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Introduction

For a long time sports psychologists have done intensive research in the field of sports in an effort to try and boost the performance of athletes in various sports. In their bid to examine how various skills in psychology training have improved the overall performance the main focus is directed towards the role played by mental skills in the improvement of these performances. Mental skills or rather skills of the mind are procedures that athletes employ in controlling their mental efficiencies and consistencies in the execution of goals that are sports related (Shilpi et al, 2015). This research tries to unravel how studies in sports performance helps in the development of various skills such as stress control and concentration and also how personal characteristics like sportsmanship and self-esteem can be realised. The problem in question is solely on the field performance and how through the incorporation of the research findings solutions are realised and the necessary applications made while at the same time trying to improve the solutions for the betterment of the athletes’ performance. In the making of adjustments of thoughts, actions and feelings for the improvement of their games, athletes require psychological skills and techniques.

rtance_of_Psychological_Skills_to_Athletes">Importance of Psychological Skills to Athletes

Developmental Planning/Goal Setting

Athletes’ energies are given specific directions by the various goals that we set to accomplish or achieve at the end of a certain period of time. Psychological studies have shown that through the setting of specific targets to hit, athletes are able to develop a way of controlling their actions and therefore able to excel beyond their fears and expectations which may otherwise bar high performances (Parnell et al, 2015). In addition to excelling, developmental planning or rather the setting of goals is a key factor in the enhancement of performance, anxiety reduction, driving of purposes that are expected and motivation to the athletes. The athletes’ levels of understanding and confidences are increased as a result. The goal setting procedure does not just take place but requires certain principles to be followed for their effective and efficient functioning. For the overall success of the athletes as a team, regular meetings should be conducted both individually and as a group so that the set goals can be reviewed and evaluated. As athletes develop their plans, long term schedules for the goals to be achieved should be set which should then be subdivided monthly for easier monitoring of the progress should be set. The monthly expected achievements should be further broken into weekly and daily plans so that the athlete’s confidence is boosted.

Management of Stress

Basically, stress revolves around three elements, individual’s perceptions, the environment and the response the individual makes as a way of responding to the perceptions. Studies have shown that psychological skills and techniques can be used by athletes to control their way of perceiving events (Martin, 2016). Through these cognitive techniques, athletes become aware of the negative thoughts that prevent them from achieving their

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set goals and replace the negative patterns of thinking with positive ideas that are more productive. Since stress is mainly as a result of imbalance between the athlete’s perception and what the surrounding people expect of them, applied psychology can be used to advice the involved stakeholders on how to handle the perceptions of the athletes’ performance. Somatic techniques, which reduce the levels of athletes’ arousal, have a direct relation to athletes’ relaxation and through their keen monitoring lead to the reduced levels of stress. These relaxations are mostly imagery, progressive, self-directed and bio feedback all with the aim of creating an environment that is stress free.

Visualization and Imagery

Imagery refers to the process where sensory experiences are simulated in an athlete’s mind without an external stimuli presence. Sport psychologists according to researches, encourage athletes to always have images and creations of winning in mind (Martin, 2016). For instance, if an athlete figures themselves in mind winning a certain race, chances are that the outcome will be favourable. On the other side of the coin, visualization examines the visual stimuli as it gets simulated. Imagery and visualization positively improves an athlete’s performance through the creation of mind images that solely focus on winning and execution of positive ideas. The idea of imagery is highly advocated by sports’ psychologists as studies have revealed since it grants the athlete with the vivid formation of images ability, control of the images and a relaxation mode before the images production is done. Athletes use imagery in solving problems that revolve around their games, preparation for various competitions, coping with adversities and the enhancement of performances that are positively oriented. For the production of positive effects, imagery and visualization have to be practised in the correct manner and relevant procedures consistently adhered to. In the field of psychology however, the two terms are used interchangeably.

Attention Control and Concentration

Through the intensive researches that have been done in sports performance, concentration and the control of attention are needed in any athlete’s performance. Perhaps, the two are of fundamental importance when considering mental skills in psychology. Athletes need to stay focused during any field event despite the many challenges and distractions that surround the athletes in relation to sounds, feelings, sights and thoughts. Concentration means the ability to remain focused over a certain period of time while selective attention is the athlete’s ability to choose a particular stimulus to focus on (Parnell et al, 2015). Athletes require the shifting of attention in a rapid and accurate way so that the set goal is achieved and within the set time frame. For instance, an athlete must scan through the possible internal thoughts to come up with the strategy that focuses on winning the race. Once the necessary winning strategy is realised, the athlete must immediately shift their attention on several things like the race they are competing for and the apparent positions of the opponents and finally narrowing down to the winning strategy which remains the main focus. The essence of attention control basically deals with the shifting of the mind over external to internal factors, narrow to

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