For people actively involved in sports, exercise, and physical activity in general, should never ever underestimate the importance of being psychologically strong. Sport and performance psychology both play pivotal roles in determining just how successful an athlete can be in their respective discipline, which is one of the main reasons why sport and performance psychology programs are now considered to be so hugely important. It doesn’t matter how big and strong you are physically, if your mind is weak you have already lost half of the battle. If you wish to make progress as an athlete, no matter what your chosen disciplines may be, you will benefit to consider taking part in a sport and performance psychology program. Here’s a look at the importance of psychology in sports.
Improved mental focus – When you take part in sports, you are in competition with somebody, or someone. Now, for some people, their competition may be themselves, but for others, their competitors could be rival athletes, or members of an opposing team. To ensure you perform well on the day of your chosen event, you will need to ensure that you’re psychologically strong. Sports & performance psychology is important because it allows you to focus more on the task at hand, meaning that when you are taking part, your mind isn’t filled with distractions that could affect your performance.
Improved rates of flow – Flow, as described by psychologists, is when you take part in an activity and find that your abilities tend to come naturally, without you thinking about them. If you’re playing football for example, when flow takes over, when you run with the ball, you will find that you aren’t actually thinking about anything at all, and that you are almost having an outer body experience as the activity comes so naturally to you. Without flow, when running with the ball, you will be thinking about what to do next, what not to do, and what will happen if you’re dispossessed. Thinking however, will distract you and affect your performance, meaning you will be more likely to make a mistake. If you are psychologically strong however, flow will come much more naturally to you.
Better ability to bounce back – When we take part in sports, unfortunately, we must face the reality that, at some point, we are going to lose. Even the greatest athletes in the world will lose or will have a lost game, at some point in their lives, whether that was very early on in their careers, during their peak, or in the later years. A true athlete, however, will take the loss in their stride and will bounce back better and more determined than ever. Those of you who follow MMA will recall that Connor McGregor – one of the best fighters in the world, was recently defeated. After that loss, many people thought he was through, but he bounced back better than ever and quickly avenged his loss. If you are mentally strong, you will learn from your losses, you will learn how to deal with loss, and you will channel this to make you a better athlete.