Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Perfect '10

This is the breakthrough year folks. If I have heard that statement once, I have heard it a million times. Every year I hear statements like this, but this year EVERYONE is saying it. Maybe it's because this is sort of a symbolic year. People believe that this will be a "A Perfect 10" for the year 2010.

If you believe it...it will probably happen. Positive outlooks often have positive outcomes...as long as there is follow through to make it happen. Ask any psychologist...

For athletes, positive thinking is a mental attitude that admits into the mind thoughts, words and images that are conductive to strength, focus and success. It is a mental attitude that expects good and favorable results. A positive mind anticipates positive results, confidence, an increase in their athletic ability and a successful outcome of every situation and action. Whatever the mind expects, it finds.

Not everyone accepts or believes in positive thinking. Some consider the subject as just nonsense, and others scoff at people who believe and accept it. Among the people who accept it, not many know how to use it effectively to get results. Yet, it seems that many are becoming attracted to this subject, as evidenced by the many books, lectures and courses about it. This is a subject that is gaining popularity.

It is quite common to hear people say: "Think positive!", to someone who feels down and worried. Most people do not take these words seriously, as they do not know what they really mean, or do not consider them as useful and effective. How many people do you know, who stop to think what the power of positive thinking means?

According to John Ellsworth of ProtexSports LLC, the mind is very helpful to an athletes outcome and results as a player.

When is Sports Psychology Helpful to Athletes?

Athletes, parents and coaches look to sports psychology professionals to assist in the development of a strong, athletic mindset. Psychology in sport can:

Improve Performance
When an athlete or team practices hard, knows the physical aspects of the sport, but his or her performance seems to have reached a plateau, a sports psychology professional can help to identify any mental obstacles that might be hinder the athlete from reaching their full performance potential. It can also improve performance if an athlete seems to perform well in practice, but their performance declines during competition.

Develop Mechanisms to Better Cope with Competitive Pressure
Athletes of all levels feel varying degrees of pressure/anxiety during competition. Such pressures may stem from external expectations (such as approval from a parent, teammate or coach) as well as the athlete's own expectations regarding performance. Sport psychology professionals provide athletes with strategies and tools to overcome pressure and anxiety that often is associated with performance.

Provide Motivation and Inspiration for Youth Sport Participants
Young athletes, parents and coaches in youth athletics may consult a sport psychology professional for education about improving the joy and satisfaction gained from competition. They may also consult a sport psychology professional to learn how to incorporate positive and inspirational role models designed to promote development of healthy self-esteem associated with athletic success.

Assist with Injury Rehabilitation
After injury, many athletes must adjust to temporary non-participant status, experience challenges with self-efficacy, adhere to often-rigorous physical therapy, tolerate pain, or other issues. In some cases, an injury may bring up fears of re-injury that may cause an athlete to play more conservatively than normal which adversely impacts performance. Sport psychology professionals can provide guidance and support as well as address mental obstacles such as fear during this often challenging rehabilitation process.

Boost Motivation in Exercise Programs
Making time for exercise, or even keeping up with a regular exercise routine can be challenging, especially when there are both life and athletic demands. Sports psychology professionals can help provide the needed motivational boost to help athletes with issues that get in the way of achieving exercise, fitness, health and/or weight management goals. A sport psychology professional may address issues such as self-image and self-esteem, setting realistic goals and so forth.

Ease the Transition from Participatory to Non-Participatory Athletic Status
Serious athletes invest a lot of time, energy and physical equity in the pursuit of sport enjoyment. Often, an identity or way of life is attached to the participation in athletics. When faced with the reality that sports participation is no longer possible due to injury, age, health or other issues, coping with this life event can be difficult. A sport psychology professional can help by guiding and counseling participates through this transition process.

Bring Life Balance into Perspective
Personal problems or concerns can adversely influence exercise and athletic performance. For example, the athlete who is worried about relationship or financial issues may have difficulty focusing during competition. Athletes often find that mental game coaching or sports psychology counseling helps to put things in perspective and allows for greater satisfaction in life, career transition, and time management. Professionals who are trained in these specific areas can often provide this often overlooked yet much needed support.

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