09 Mar The Psychological Preparation
It is necessary that all athletes carry out a psychological preparation regardless of what they can carry in their routine training. It is important to carry out a specific psychological training when self-regulating as athletes and to establish objectives or short-term, achievable and realistic challenges.
In this sense, the athlete must set a psychological preparation program aimed at not diminish and even enhance the motivation and enthusiasm for the situation that lives. For this, it is necessary that their mental attitude be positive and if necessary, share their experiences and their situations with close people of trust.
In addition, the relationship and control of anxiety should be sought before a competition or a major effort. For this, it is essential to control the rhythm of breathing and divert attention to things that do not cause excessive stress.
Within this psychological preparation of the athlete, we should focus this type of training on the concentration and maintenance of the attention focus of the same through exercises aimed at these objectives. For this, the technique of visualization regains great prominence, making the athlete is able to see the most important actions that will be in the competition, determining part of the result.
What can I do to control the pressures?
When you begin to feel the stress caused by competition, try the following relaxation techniques:
- Deep breathing: Find a quiet place to sit. Slowly inhale through the nose, filling the lungs completely. Hold your breath for approximately five seconds and then exhale slowly. Repeat the exercise five times in a row.
- Muscle relaxation: Strongly contracts (flexes) a group of muscles. Keep them tense for about five seconds and then relax them. Repeat the exercise five times, choosing different muscle groups.
- Visualization: Close your eyes and imagine a place or event from the past that transmits peace. It evokes beautiful views and soothing sounds. Imagine that the tension dissipates from your body. You can also visualize success. The advisors of professional athletes often advise them to imagine themselves making a good pass, hitting or hitting a goal over and over again. Then, on game day, you can evoke these images to calm your nerves and reinforce your confidence in yourself.
- Positive thinking: Keep negative thoughts away. Regardless of whether you are preparing for a competition or facing defeat, repeat to yourself: “I will learn from my mistakes!” “I control my feelings!” “I can get it!”
When the sport is too stressful, disconnect from the pressure. Go to the movies or stay with your friends. Focus on something completely different.
How can I keep stress under control?
If the sport you practice makes you so nervous that it gives you a headache, it causes you nausea or it does not let you concentrate on other things, you have symptoms of an unhealthy type of stress that could become chronic. Do not let this type of stress build up; If you suppress your emotions, in the long run you could have important health problems.
Talk about what worries you with a friend. The mere fact of sharing what you feel can alleviate anxiety. Sometimes it is useful to know the point of view of an adult, someone who has helped others to cope with sporting stress, such as a trainer or gymnastics instructor. Here are other things you can do to cope with stress:
- Treat your body well. Eat well and get enough sleep at night, especially before the games that stress you the most.
- Learn and practice relaxation techniques, such as those described in the previous section.
- Practice some physical activity other than the sport in which you compete. Go for a walk, ride a bike and disconnect completely from the sport that is stressing you.
- Do not pretend to be perfect: everyone misses a shot or messes up once in a while (do not expect your teammates to be perfect either!). Be lenient with yourself, remember all the times that you have done well and look forward.
It is possible that part of the stress is the cause of the uncertainty. Speak alone with your coach or instructor. If your expectations seem to you little explicit or inconsistent, ask for clarification. Although most instructors effectively promote the physical and mental development of the athletes they train, you may have to be in charge of opening a line of communication. You may also want to talk with your parents or another adult relative.
If you feel very overwhelmed because it seems that you do not give coarse with all the activities to which you are targeted and it gives you the feeling that you have lost control, review the options and decide what you should abandon. This is the last resort, but if you no longer enjoy a sport, perhaps the time has come to find another that is less stressful. Chronic stress has nothing fun and fun is the raison d’être of every sport.
Recognizing when you need guidance to help you get out of a stressful situation is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of courage and good sense. Do not stop looking for support until you find it.
Enjoy the game
Winning is the most stimulating! But losing and suffering a certain degree of stress are part of practically any sport, just like in life. Sport serves to fuel self-esteem and to develop social skills and team spirit. But, above all, sports serve to have fun.