Written by our Sports Psych Intern, Taylor Greenwood
While the physical skill sets of an athlete are important for success, the mental skill sets of an athlete are arguably just as important. Focusing solely on the practice of the physical aspects of a sport may hinder an athlete from reaching their full potential. I think it’s fairly safe to say that all athletes experience mental blocks throughout their career. However, how athletes overcome these mental blocks can separate the high level athletes from the elite level athletes. This is where sports psychology techniques can come into play. Sports psychology techniques help an athlete create strong mental skills, essentially giving an athlete the tools to overcome any mental block the may experience during their careers.
Just like an athlete must practice their craft frequently, the mental components of a sport must be practiced frequently too. An athlete’s skill set or talent does not just simply go away, in most instances the athlete is experiencing a mental block that is prohibiting them from performing at their best.
Have you ever found yourself doubting your ability to perform a heavy lift, even though you have successfully lifted that weight before? You may be experiencing a mental block in the form of doubt or confidence. The sports psychology technique of visualization/mental imagery could help you overcome these doubts and essentially regain your confidence. Have you ever found yourself feeling overwhelmed at a competition due to the large crowd? The sports psychology technique of attentional focus could help you create a ‘mental zone’ which allows you to block out the noise of the competition.
Over the next few months, keep an eye out for blogs similar to this one where the topics of sports psychology will be discussed. Motivation, goal setting, burnout, and self-talk are just a few of the topics that will be touched upon and who know, maybe you’ll be able to take away a few key points that can help you overcome a mental block in the future.