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Achieve Peak Performance: Expert Strategies for Athletic Success

Many athletes today turn to sports psychology for help in improving their games. They work with the psychologist on mental preparation, focus, confidence, and composure. A sports psychologist may also help bring a team together so they act as a unit. With the help of sports psychology, an athlete can improve their performance both on and off the field. What strategies might this psychologist suggest to an athlete?

Positive Attitude

Athletes who have a positive attitude expect success, and it shows in their performance. Athletes use more of their potential when working to achieve goals and see more performance improvements when they stick with training. Adding positive affirmations to training over eight weeks led to a three percent improvement in a swimmer's performance, according to one study. Individuals who need help with developing this positive attitude may want to reach out to mental performance expert Mark Bowden.

Coping Skills

Many athletes lack coping skills. When they make a mistake, it throws their entire game off and they struggle to get back on track. They lose confidence and are unable to focus. When they develop coping skills, these same athletes find they can overcome mistakes and errors while maintaining their composure and confidence.

Goal Setting

Athletes need to set high goals while keeping them realistic. Athletes often set three types of goals. Performance goals focus on behavior or activities that the athlete can control and determine how well they succeed. Process goals help an athlete go from point A to point B. They are small milestones that, when completed, add up to a big goal. The third type of goal an athlete should set is do your best goals. These goals allow an athlete to try different methods until they find the one that works for them. The result is of less importance than learning which method should be used.

Team Cohesion

Team cohesion improves an athlete's performance and the performance of the team as a whole. When the team works as a unit, each player's motivation increases and personal satisfaction improves. While most people feel creating team cohesion falls on the coach, players have a role in bringing everyone together. A group effort can make the difference between success and failure. It's easy to identify team leaders because they are the ones working to bring players together and encouraging them on the field.

Mental Imagery

Mental imagery is a process in which an athlete recreates an experience in their mind using the knowledge they already have. Structured imagery allows an athlete to visualize a specific situation with the desired outcome. Using this technique, the athlete can boost their sports performance. Research shows this imagery can prepare the body for action. In fact, athletes who practice mental imagery when recovering from an injury may find they need less time to recover and get back out on the field.

Every athlete will have periods when they struggle. A quarterback may throw several interceptions or a baseball player might find they cannot hit the ball even when it is pitched right down the center. The strategies can help the athlete overcome these challenges and get back on track. If help is needed in implementing the strategies, an athlete should reach out to a sports psychologist. Many athletes work with these professionals today with great results, so it never hurts to try working with one.

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