Multi-factorial sport-psychological preperation program for athletes

Por: Agota Lenart.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Introduction

Sport-psychologists often experience typical and frequent problems in their practices working with the athletes. Athletes, in many cases, do not have successful methods to overcome these difficulties. Typically these problems can cumulate to the level, where the performance of the athletes will not improve. The aim with the Multi-Factorial Sport-Psychological Preparation Program (MFSPP) is to provide a "solution tool box" for the athletes, which provides applicable problem solving methods.

Methods

According to our 17 years of experience in which we have asked over 7000 athletes about their most disturbing problem, which keeps them away from reaching the desired achievements. Most frequent problems are:
anxiety, handling arousal before and during competition, controlling movement coordination, concentration, the incorrect way or lack of goal settings and self-talking, insufficient performance in competitions, the lack of self-confidence and motivation, coach leadership and communication, problems of group dynamics.
Elements of the MFSPP program: introspection, analysis of experiences, psycho-regulation methods, mental training, breathing-techniques, goal-setting, self-talking, improvement of self-confidence, practice of difficult event of competition, visualization, cognitive techniques and communication skills. Elements of this program were chosen according to the specific needs of each individual and/or sport discipline. According to our experiences, the recommended or needed length of course was about 20-25 hours. For best results, the program shall be conducted by a sport-psychologist, in cooperation with the coach and the regular practice of the methods by the athlete. Some of already conducted programs from different sport disciplines will be presented.

Results

Athletes have learned to control the emotional effects of competitions, movement coordination have developed as well as their performances in competition situations general. As a result of a program, athletes’ performances were improving; anxiety was decreasing, which resulted growing self-confidence. Most importantly, after the courses, athletes are capable of utilizing appropriate methods in different difficult situations to successfully solve their problems. General knowledge of their own "solution tool box" helps them to handle problems in other areas of the their lives as well.

Discussion

It is strongly recommended to start to acquire this knowledge at the junior age, however it is a useful program to learn at anytime in any sport discipline. The MFSPP program can be and shall be used also to prevent psychological problems to rise, even more to achieve better results.

References

[1]. J. M. Williams (1997). Applied Sport Psychology, Mountain View CA, Mayfield Publishing Company
[2]. B. Andersen (2000). Doing Sport Psychology, Champaign IL, Human Kinetics
[3]. R. N. Singer (2001). Handbook of Sport Psychology, New York NY, John Wiley & Sons

 

 

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