Whether you are an amateur athlete training for your first triathlon or a elite level athlete looking for an edge. Many people often ask me how sport psychology actually helps an athlete. Here are some of the basic things I can teach you to help you improve your performance in practice and competition.
Relax – anxiety is a double edge sword, it is natural and can enhance performance to a degree but it is often the reason that athletes choke during competitive situations. Overstimulation can often cause stress and confusion for athletes. Here is your first challenge: 3x a week devote 20 minutes to listening to relaxing rhythmic music. You must do this in an environment free of distractions. Listen to whatever you like (gospel, jazz, instrumentals, opera, etc.) but focus on the rhythm and your breathing.
Set a daily goal – prioritize, set specific, attainable goals for each day. Write them down or verbalize them to someone. Accomplish these goals before you take time to relax. These goals should challenge you but not task saturate you. Effective goal setting is a process that builds on daily goals which compound to weekly, monthly, and yearly progress. For example, if you are training for your first Brazilian jujitsu tournament break your training goals into daily sessions. Focus on positions, escapes, or submissions that allow you to enjoy your training while progressively preparing you for the rigors of competing.
Establish a routine – everyone has a routine, what’s yours? Brushing your teeth before you eat breakfast, reading the paper before you leave for work, a cup of coffee before you leave the house. You have a routine, now you need to establish one for training and competition. Keep it simple and specific. For example, if you are a soccer player maybe you warm up by dribbling while reciting the phrase play loose, focus on warming your body up while also warming your mind up with positive self-talk.
Tory Robinson, MS, CSCS, USAW-1
Bio: I am a graduate of Capella University with a masters degree in sport psychology. I am also a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and USA Weightlifting. My aim is to enhance my client’s performance in all areas of life and encourage the adoption and maintenance of healthy lifestyle behaviors for total health and well-being. I work with adolescents and adults, from the non-exerciser to the elite athlete, on a wide variety of performance and health-related topics.