Let’s get to know what sport psychology is.
You have probably heard about the existence of the mental work that some padel players do, and perhaps you have asked yourself questions such as:
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PADEL PLAYER THAT TRAINS PSYCHOLOGY?
- Who are the people doing this work? Are they coaches? Are they psychologists?
- Is it sports coaching or sports psychology?
- Is it only for sportsmen and women who have problems in their game?
- Is it only to control anger and nerves?
- Is it used to talk and motivate?
- Is it only for the elite?
- Do I need it or not?
In this first post of the Emotional Sport blog we will try to answer these questions.
WHAT IS REALLY SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY AND MENTAL WORK? WHO ARE THE PEOPLE WHO DO THIS WORK? ARE THEY COACHES? GURUS? FORMER ATHLETES?
When we talk about sports psychology, we must bear in mind that we are talking first and foremost about psychology, so it is essential to understand that we are dealing with a scientific branch that studies human behaviour. Therefore, when we add the term sport, we are talking about a section of psychology that studies and tries to understand the cognitive functioning of sportsmen and women.
If we draw conclusions on the first question, the professionals who do this work are only people who have a degree in psychology with an extra speciality in the sport discipline. Anyone else who tries to offer mental training without being a psychology professional (between you and I) is fooling you.
Would you let a non-surgeon operate on you? I hope not.
SO IS IT COACHING OR SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY?
I firmly believe that, if the reader has paid attention to the previous question, he or she will have solved this question without any problem. The term for mental training is «sports or sport psychology».
All mental training that is not regulated by a sports psychologist is not covered by the official school of psychology in Spain.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PADEL PLAYER WHO TRAINS SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY AND ONE WHO DOES NOT?
If we think about it, since we were children, we have always worked based on three skills:
- Physical skills
- Technical skills
- Tactical skills
With these skills, we have demanded ourselves to give the maximum performance, however, nowadays it is still very common to hear phrases such as: “There are good and bad seasons”, “It’s not my year”. Think about it, it does not make much sense to be very good physically, technically, and tactically, and have an irregular season or not achieve your goals as you would like, or what is worse, leave everything up to luck or fate “in the lap of the Gods”.
This is where psychology comes in to complete the rest of the skills. We know that, in equal physical, technical and tactical conditions, the psychological component makes the difference between a normal player and a top player.
Note that we call the psychological component a skill and not a problem, because with mental sports training we want to provide the padel player with all of the tools that make him/her manage the complicated situations of a competition or his/her sporting life, whether or not complicated events happen, we must always be mentally prepared.
ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH SOME OF THESE SPORTS SITUATIONS?
- I shut myself in
- Excuses for poor performance
- Feelings of mental block
- Doubts about your ability at times
- Feelings of helplessness
- Constant complaining or impulsiveness
- Over-emphasis on mistakes or defeats
These are many of the things that happen in the sports life of any padel player at any level (professional/semi-professional/amateur). That is why when working in sports psychology, psychologists train and teach tools to athletes so that they are able to:
- Control their concentration and internal dialogue in competition and training.
- Develop strategies and competition plans that maintain motivation in the short and long term.
- Acquire visualisation and mindfulness tools.
- Improving emotional intelligence in and out of competition.
- Having effective relaxation strategies in and out of the moment before and after the competitive event.
- Maintain a good level of self-esteem and confidence during the season.
- Knowing how to control every moment of pressure.
- Enjoying sport and achieving optimal well-being.
So, what are you waiting for to work on all these tools and become a better athlete?
Top players always excel in these psychological situations because they have been working with sports psychologists for years, it is not by chance that any world star knows how to manage and perform well in critical moments of competition. Behind it, there will always be the mental work they do.