Australian Coaches - Sport Psychology

Uploaded by ausport on 28.10.2009

Sport Psychology is the application of psychological principles to the sport environment. By developing
athletes’ psychological skills and their mental health they can better manage the sport
environment, better manage their emotions and get a lot more out of their sport experiences.
Goal setting is a set of skills required to identify specific long and short-term targets
and evaluate progress within a specific timeframe. Regularly setting and evaluating performance
goals can help athletes to focus, stay motivated and feel more in control. Effective goals
are those that are: Written down, Specific, Include long, short-term, and training goals,
Include observable or measurable elements such as times, reps or percentages, Challenging
but realistic and Reviewed. Evaluating goals is a really important part of goal setting.
It provides athletes to feel a sense of achievement and confidence but also provides athletes
the opportunity to analyse their performance and identify areas to be refined in the future.
Reviewing my goals helps me by letting me see if I’ve achieved them and if not, looking
at what I have to change.
During pressure situations an athlete’s ability to manage their own emotions is really
put to the test. In tight situations athletes can experience high levels of nerves or even
anxiety or panic. These negative emotions can be experienced physically through sweaty
palms or increased heart rate but also mentally through racing thoughts and an inability to
focus on the task. Obviously, these effects can be detrimental to performance. Emotions,
or the way we feel, is largely dependent upon how we interpret situations. In a situation
where an athlete is feeling anxious or panicked, typically their thinking is irrational and
focused on something catastrophic occurring in the future. If an athlete is extremely
upset or disappointed with poor performances and this feeling continues for an extended
period, typically they are exaggerating the significance of the performance. An effective
method to manage negative emotions such as anxiety or enduring disappointment is to identify
what athletes are telling themselves during times of stress. Athletes need to make sure
their thinking is grounded in reality and represents the ‘big picture’.
Coaches can assist athletes to manage their emotions by: Discussing their ‘self talk’,
Reinforcing successful past performances, Promoting realistic thinking, Avoiding irrational
thinking when stressed, Helping athletes develop a pre-performance routine to gain control
over their emotional state.
Okay Rodney, I know today was the focus you were going to work on the run up - the technique,
just getting the rhythm.
Yep as long as focus, getting take-offs right, yep, should be good.
In wrapping up, I want to reinforce that no matter what level of sport you’re coaching,
these strategies work. Ask yourself these questions: What are some examples of goals
that athletes in your sport might set? These might be outcome, performance or process goals.
How could you assist an athlete who is struggling to cope with disappointment?