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Psychological Skills Training

Chapter 11

Lindsey Swanson

on 4 April 2013

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Transcript of Psychological Skills Training

Psychological Skills
Training Psychological skills training (PST) refers to the systematic and consistent practice of mental or psychological skills for the purpose of enhancing performance, increasing enjoyment, or achieving greater self-satisfaction What is it? Mental Toughness Athletes feel that psychological factors primarily account for day-to-day fluctuations in performance

Can help increase satisfaction and enjoyment of an activity

Can give you an "edge" in competition

Allows an individual to handle adversity (losing, pain, slow progress, learning a new exercise)

Allows individuals to work on a skill not mastered physically or be better prepared to master the physical task

How is time being spent? Why is PST important? Who should conduct PST (sport psychologist or coach)?
Both can do so as long as they recognize their limits. Recognize potential conflicts of interest

When should you implement PST?
In the off-season when there is more time

How long should training last?
10 to 15 minutes a day, three to five days per week

When is the best time in one’s career to engage in mental training?
Mental training should continue throughout an athlete’s sport participation Implementing PST Programs Effective vs. Ineffective PST Methods and techniques come mostly from mainstream psychology

Guidelines have been developed to make PST more effective

PST can have major effects on performance The constructs of motivation, dealing with pressure, confidence, and concentration make up mental toughness (Jones et al., 2002)

Employed before, during, and after activities An individual's ability to focus, rebound from failure, cope with pressure, and persist in the face of adversity. It is a form of mental resilience

Mentally tough individuals have a high sense of self-belief and an unshakeable faith that they can control their own destiny

They can remain relatively unaffected by competition or adversity Control: the capacity to feel and act as if one could exert an influence on the situation in question

Commitment; a tendency to take an active role in events

Challenge: the perception of change as an opportunity to grow and develop rather than a threat

Confidence: the strong sense of self-belief Four C Model of Mental Toughness Why is PST neglected? Lack of knowledge and comfort with teaching mental skills

Misunderstandings about psychological skills (e.g., belief that they can’t be learned)

Lack of time

PST myths PST is for “problem” athletes only

PST is for “elite” athletes only

PST provides quick-fix solutions

PST is not useful PST Myths PST for Special Populations The development of trust and rapport is critical

The consultant must work at the individual’s level of understanding

Instructions should be kept simple, skills should be broken down into smaller teaching components, and sessions should be fun and enjoyable Intellectual Disabilities Soliciting help from relatives, case managers, or residential staff is important

If working with athletes in wheelchairs, communicate by being in their level (e.g., in a chair)

If the physical disability affects the control of muscles required for speech, be patient with verbal communication

Speak directly to the athlete even if a parent or other caretaker is present Physical Disabilities Athletes and coaches identified these as the most useful PST topics:
Arousal regulation
Imagery and mental preparation
Confidence building
Increased motivation and commitment (goal setting)
Attention or concentration
Mental plans
Imagery PST Knowledge Base While PST is a proven technique, users must be realistic in their expectations. PST is neither a magical elixir nor useless bunk

Psychological skills can be learned but must be practiced and integrated into a person’s daily routine

Educationally based psychological skills training enhances sport performance

Intervention must be individualized, employed systematically over time, and multimodal (combining different psychological skills, such as imagery, self-talk, and goal setting) Keys to Understanding PST and Effectiveness PST 3 Phases of PST Discuss your approach

Assess the athlete’s mental skills

Determine which psychological
skills to include

Design a PST schedule

Evaluate the program Designing a PST Program
Psychological skills need to be taught and learned. Participants must recognize how important it is to acquire PST and how the skills affect performance

Increasing awareness of mental skills
Green light = flow
Yellow light = caution or refocus
Red light = real trouble and need for major coping Educational Phase
Focus on strategies and techniques

Tailor training programs to meet individual needs

Provide general information to the group or team, but be specific when developing an individual’s PST program

Psychological skills should be learned —and practiced Acquisition Phase Learning psychological skills should progress from practices and simulations to actual competitions

This phase focuses on automating skills through over learning, integrating psychological skills, and simulating the skills you want to apply to actual competitions

Log books help athletes chart progress and provide feedback for improvement Practice Phase Identify services to be provided

Explain the differences between educational and clinical sport psychology consultants

Discuss your approach

Build trust and a good relationship with the client Discussing Your Approach Assess strengths and weaknesses (either objectively or subjectively)

Use psychological assessment techniques (performance profiling, oral interviews, psychological inventories)

Consider the unique demands of the sport

Obtain the perspectives of other parties involved (e.g., coaches, athlete trainers) Assessing Mental Skills Emphasizes that multiple types of mental skills are important for success and well-being in coaches and athletes Vealey Mental Skills Model Foundation skills: Intrapersonal resources that are the basic mental skills necessary for achieving success

Performance skills: Mental abilities critical to the execution of skills during sport performance

Personal development skills: Mental skills that represent significant maturational markers of personal development allowing for high-level psychological functioning through clarity of self-concept, feelings of well-being, and a sense of relatedness to others

Team skills: Collective qualities of the team that are instrumental to an effective team climate and overall team success. Don’t overlook evaluation

Trainers have an ethical obligation to evaluate a program’s effectiveness

Use interview, written assessments, and objective performance measures to evaluate Evaluate the Program Hold frequent, shorter meetings rather than frequent, longer meetings

Hold informal as well as formal meetings

Whenever possible, begin PST before the season begins

Systematically schedule PST as part of daily practice

Periodization refers to planned variation in key training variables, particularly volume and intensity, over predetermined training cycles Determining a Schedule Effective consultants
Are accessible and could establish rapport with athletes
Are flexible and knowledgeable enough to meet the needs of individual athletes
Are likeable and have something very concrete or practical to offer
Conduct several follow-up sessions with athletes throughout the season
Are trustworthy and able to fit in with the team Ineffective consultants
Have poor interpersonal skills
Lack sensitivity to the needs of individual athletes
Lack specific psychological knowledge to apply to the sport setting
Demonstrate inappropriate application of consulting skills at competitions
Rely on a “canned” approach when implementing psychological skills Lack of conviction

Lack of time

Lack of knowledge of sport

Lack of follow-up Common Problems in Implementing
a PST Program
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