The main role of a sports psychologist is to help athletes improve their performance in sports by strengthening their outlook. A sports psychologist can try to build up new methods to bring about a change in the performance of the athlete, by taking account of the various factors that would make an impact on the performance of the athlete. The observations, feelings, outlooks, ideas, potentials, and sentiments of an athlete play an active role in creating mental liveliness to maintain and boost the physical capabilities of an athlete. For an athlete to perform well every time, it is very important for him to be fit emotionally and physically. To have a very successful and worthwhile sports career, it is very important for an athlete to have a strong attitude towards his game.
A sports psychologist could help an athlete to develop a proper mental fitness system that may comprise of goal setting, focus, controlling stress, dealing with disturbances, strength management, imagery, and self-talk. A psychologist can help an athlete in attaining consistency in his performance, creating efficient practice, developing communication skills, enhance enthusiasm; increase the capacity of an athlete to perform under pressure.
The psychologist can help the athletes to be more independent and self-monitoring, he can train the athlete’s in knowing how and when to use different skills related to sports. The most important role of a psychologist is teaching the athletes to learn different physical skills, which
will have an affect on an athlete’s performance. It is the responsibility of the coach to mould a person into a skilled athlete. Teaching is one of the primary ability in successful training. A capable athlete maintains a good constant formula and knows where and how to use these skills to generate excellent results.
The procedure that an athlete follows is the foundation to a skillful performance. For an athlete to fight competently abiding by the rules of sport, these procedures are very important. Skill is either an assignment or a presentation. The up gradation in performance through practice is learning. Skill learning is an unseen procedure. It is hard to find if an athlete has mastered a skill, because other aspects can also bring about changes in an athlete’s performance. The dependable performance of an athlete is the only testimony to know about the skills he has learned.
To assess an athlete’s motor skill, information such as feedback and coaching pertaining to the athlete are necessary. Whenever an athlete practices a particular ability, the motor skills are developed. Remembering the previous action will help an athlete to perform the ability physically again. An athlete will have an exact and accurate memory of the action, if he practices regularly. By improving his motor skills, an athlete can master any particular skill. Helping athletes to increase motor skills is the main aim of a coach or a sports psychologist. The capability in coaching, the physical and mental ability and the surroundings are some of the factors the have an affect on the mastering of motor skills by an athlete. The way a sports psychologist guides an athlete, how he manages practice sessions will also have an influence on the performance of an athlete.
The thinking stage is the first, and an important stage, were an athlete will do all the thinking, of what to do. It is the duty of the psychologist to make the athletes understand, the skills they are going to learn. It is necessary for him to be very patient with an athlete, as the athlete might feel too burdened and pressurized; when he is given too many duties to learn at the same time. The athlete performing a skill sees the end of this stage, were the athlete might not have performed properly also.
The next stage involves the development of the motor skills. This stage involves giving motivation, necessary advice and information on the development of the skills for an athlete. Importance should be given to ensure good quality and enough practice to improve an athletes skills. The athlete should focus on his physical actions to excel in his particular skill. Athletes should try to improve their synchronization and timing. Athletes should try to analyze their mistakes and make necessary corrections. Criticism and the reaction that the athletes receive towards their game, becomes very crucial at this stage.
When the athlete is actually performing becomes the final stage, were his movements become more regular. He might not be concentrating on his movements, but thinking of a more vital approach to his game. The development of the athlete might be lesser in this stage, and he might require more of inspiration and motivation to improve his practice.
According to studies, it is found that there is a psychological connection between imagery and making a movement, an individual’s brain can reproduce motor actions without actually performing them. It is scientifically proven that the mental reproduction of an action is connected to a subconscious start of the motor coordination. There is enough proof that virtual motivation can be used to improve the attainment of simple motor skills.
It is a regular notion that by observing a model, which is skilled, an athlete learns motor skills. The model acts as an outline to the exact performance of that particular skill. By watching a learning model also, athletes can gain knowledge of a motor skill. Gaining motor skills is a process wherein an athlete performs an action, to attain a particular goal, and after getting the necessary feedback, corrects his act in the coming attempt. It is basically a trial and error process, were it depends on how well the athlete receives the feedback and responds to it.
To master motor skills, maintaining proper speed is very necessary. For developing motor remembrance an athlete must maintain 85 to 95 percent of speed in his movements. The best way for an athlete to excel in any skill would be to exercise the movement at cutthroat speed. Recurrence of any action is very important to set in a particular skill into the motor memory of a person. The recurrences should be practiced at full speed. It takes around two months of repeated motor skill performances at two days a week to produce the required motor memory when acquiring a new skill. Once a particular skill becomes part of the memory, the athlete need not bother, as the skill will come about automatically.
Goal setting helps an athlete by increasing his motivation and improving his performance in the act. It also gives him a positive outlook of the game. It makes him more responsible towards the game. Athletes should also be encouraged to practice imagery, were they can mentally imagine themselves completing the task at hand successfully. This gives them the necessary confidence and boost so that they can handle the situation according to the requirement.
Goals should be measurable and either short term or long term. Short-term goals have greater motivational effect on an athlete. A goal is said to be challenging if it is difficult but at the same time attainable. Preparing targets for themselves makes an athlete more responsible and an urgency to complete the task at hand can also be seen. Goal setting is important for an athlete to review his own act, and helps him to improve his motor skills accordingly.
A sports psychologist plays a vital role in the overall development of an athlete in his career. Goal setting, and proper psychological practice as well as physical practice are very important for an athlete to achieve his goal. During physical practice it is very important for the athlete to feel the progress than relying on others reviews. A psychologist should work hard to imbibe a sense of responsibility and confidence in an athlete by honing his motor skills. An athlete should carry a positive attitude while playing, to be more successful.
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