Mental preparation in sport is a vital component that is undervalued by some sports performers and coaches. One could ague that there are too many myths associated to the use of mental skills, which make participants and coaches uncomfortable in its use.
Fortunately, there are some clubs out there that appreciate the value and use of sport psychology and particularly the use of mental preparation. It was therefore very much appreciated by myself when I had this opportunity at Coventry City Ladies Football Club and Birmingham Metropolitan College Ladies Team.
Working with female participants enabled me to develop my own applied application of sport psychology, which I had gained from studying at various levels. The benefits of working with these two teams taught me plenty and provided me with self-confidence to try new ideas.
The response was good as most performers participated in both one to one and group activities. I made sure that group work was related to short bite size activities that were in line with what performers wanted to engage in. Examples of topics that performers engaged in ranged from coping with pressure to use of mental skills.
All consultations commence with a performance analysis form which feedback is provided. This feedback is relative to strengths and areas to improve. Based on the profile of each participant an action plan is formed that encourages use of a range of mental skills. Participants are provided with a three-week opportunity to implement the prescribed mental skills and then are invited for a further consultation. Based on the second consultation another action plan is drawn up to which performers engage in during the process.
Since my role is evolving I continuously develop ideas that are effective to meet demand. To this extent, multimedia is utilised from which I produce YouTube videos and voice memos for performers. These have been effective because they convey a message that is powerful and relative to mental preparation. I have also utilised the use of Twitter to great effect by posting positive messages before and after games, in addition any performer who wants to discuss matters privately are invited to direct message me. Twitter also enables me to post links that are related to performance psychology.
I enjoy my role and fully believe that Sport Psychology is imperative. Performers and coaches should engage in its idea and concept as it helps support and enhance performance levels.