Sports Psychology is a proven practice, encompassing multiple applications of psychologically based principles and practices, notably in respect to sports and performance. These multiple applications and practices are all effective in assisting individuals and professionals in performing and/or functioning at their best at any given time, particularly in sports, athletics and performance settings. There are countless combinations of approaches and practices that can be implemented for each individual and/or professional. The basis for deciding which practices to utilize are based on several considerations.
We will briefly explore several of the considerations, accompanied by some of the best methods to employ for each consideration in order to best assist individuals and professionals in performing and functioning at their best. CPowell Sports Psychology and Coaching services offer individualized approaches and methods based on, but not limited to, the following considerations in order to best assist individuals and professionals in being successful in their own respective field(s). Check them out and see what they have to offer:
The following considerations primarily have to do with the fact that we are all unique individuals that have come to be, who and how we are, from a combination of different factors and experiences. As a result, we all operate in unique ways. Therefore, it is most effective to keep this understanding in mind when deciding which methods to implement.
To begin, if someone is more of an excitable individual, meaning that they can become easily excited and/or they are susceptible to becoming anxious, calmness is the goal. Further, with calmness being the desired goal, strategies designed for bringing individuals to a state of calmness are utilized. For example, breathing exercises and/or mindfulness practices, which we will explore in later posts.
In contrast, if someone is more of a distractible individual, meaning they can get distracted easily, whether by their thoughts and/or the environment, focus becomes the goal. Further, with focus being the goal, different strategies to improve focus in any given environment would be implemented. For example, mindfulness exercises, and/or core-alignment coaching principles and practices.
For instance, one of the mindfulness exercises that could be utilized involves recognizing our thoughts on the task at hand as well as noticing when our thoughts start to stray away onto something else. Through these mindfulness exercises we are developing more of an awareness of our thoughts in order to be in a position to maintain a focus that supports our performance and functioning in any given setting. We repeat these exercises until our focus noticeably improves.
In addition to considering an individual’s state of mind, the following are some of the other considerations that are incorporated when determining the best methods to utilize for each individual. For instance, the various ways different people learn. The primary ways individuals can learn include: Visual (spatial), Experiential (Physical/Kinesthetic), Verbal (Auditory), Aural (Auditory-Musical), Logical (Mathematical), Social (Interpersonal), and Solitary (Intrapersonal).
In continuation, it is important to note, we all can learn through several different approaches, but we all have a more dominant learning style. Further, we can determine the best methods to utilize for each of us to assist us in performing and functioning at our best based on our learning style. Let’s explore some of these learning styles.
To begin, a more visual learner assimilates information best visually. They can watch themselves and/or other people perform and can improve on their skills by visual observation. As a result, visual learners can benefit from strategies that involve them visually. Including, but not limited to, watching videos of their performances, watching other people perform, and/or utilizing the process called, visualization, otherwise known as kinesthetic imagery.
In continuation, Kinesthetic imagery is the process of visualizing whatever we need to learn, however we want/need to perform, and/or how we would like to conduct ourselves at any given time prior to doing the said activity. The way Kinesthetic imagery works is that our brain can’t discern what is experienced in reality versus what is imagined in our brains. Our neurons are activated in the exact same way when we are imagining something and actually experiencing and/or doing that something.
Simply stated, the process of kinesthetic imagery allows us the opportunity to experience an experience prior to actually experiencing that experience in reality. Therefore, we can use this kinesthetic imagery to imagine a performance in a positive and constructive manner that supports us in performing at our best when the time comes to perform. For instance, we can visualize ourselves making a shot in a basketball game, prior to making that shot in the actual game.
For instance, with the above example in mind, we can imagine our placement on the basketball court prior to the actual moment. We would imagine what it will all look like and how we want to be feeling. Followed by imagining the motion we make in our body and arms as we shoot the shot that we want to make in the game, even making the actual motions as we visualize it. Proceeded by vividly imagining the ball swoosh into the basket. Accompanying our visualization, we can reinforce the experience in our mind by imagining a sense of confidence as we imagine making the shot.
Further, we would rehearse this visual image in our heads, repeatedly, until we can believe in the idea that when the time comes to make that exact shot in the game, we will make it just the way we imagined. In other words, we have successfully utilized kinesthetic imagery when we experience the actual moment the same way we imagined that moment. In addition, the actual experience will likely be accompanied by a feeling of effortlessness.
To reiterate, the outcome of an experience is similar, if not the same, as the experience we visualized in our imagination. In emphasis, the way it works is that we visually rehearse our image in our mind with such repetition that we create a clear image of what we want to do when the time comes to perform, so when the actual time comes to perform it’s as if we have already done the performance and it comes naturally. In addition to visual learners, we have experiential learners.
In contrast, if someone is more of an experiential/physical learner, they learn best by actively going through things to learn and/or prepare. In other words, experiential learners may find visualizing a little more challenging due to the fact that they need to actively experience things to assimilate information. The most effective strategies to implement to support a more experiential learner are more experientially based. For instance, when preparing for a competition it is beneficial to practice in mock environments similar to the competition environment.
In continuation, mock environments create an opportunity for experiential learners to experience similar aspects that would be present in the real environment. In other words, information gathered from experiences in the mock environments can be utilized to create strategies for confronting experiences that may arise in the performance environment, such as anxiousness or distractibility. Simply stated, as a result, experiential learners are more prepared to move through the actual experiences with more ease and composure, functioning and performing at their best in the actual competition. In addition, to visual and experiential learners, we will briefly explore auditory learners.
Auditory learners integrate information best by hearing information. As a result, one of the strategies that support more auditory learners, especially in performance settings, include creating mantras for themselves. These mantras generally encompass a combination of the information they need to know in order to perform well, as well as reassurance in their abilities that make them capable of performing at their desired level.
In continuation, while auditory learners do well with acquiring information through auditory means, aural learners are similar in that they assimilate information best verbally and through language. Therefore, aural learners benefit from utilizing mantras as well. In addition to mantras, aural learners benefit from listening to music.
Further, aural learners benefit from listening to music, because of the way their mind processes music and auditory information. As a result, music can be utilized to put them in the appropriate state of mind for their de
sired activity. Let’s explore a couple examples.
For instance, if an individual wants to be more focused, they may listen to music that helps them concentrate. Another example, if an aural person is anxious, they may listen to music that is calming and soothing for them. In addition, if an aural person is feeling low in energy or lethargic, they will benefit from listening to music that excites them. In other words, it is important to consider music choice based on the desired activity and result.
Lastly, we will explore the learning styles, Social (Interpersonal) and Solitary (Intrapersonal). Social learners do best learning in groups and with people. Whereas, Solitary learners learn best alone.
In continuation, social learners benefit from using strategies that involve other people’s support and interactions with other people, such as group activities. Whereas, Solitary learners benefit from using techniques that are employed independently, such as journaling and/or various independent exercises. Both social and solitary learners benefit from implementing strategies that are interpersonal and intrapersonal, for multiple reasons, but it’s important to primarily incorporate the techniques that best fit each learning style.
In closing, regardless of each individuals’ and/or professionals’ learning style or functional approach, it is valuable to take each of the primary considerations into account. These considerations are essential to incorporate in order to implement the most effective strategies for each individual to get the best results. CPowell Sports Psychology and Coaching services offer proven and effective methods for identifying each of these primary considerations for each individual. Followed by an array of techniques and strategies, in respect to these considerations, to assist all individuals and professionals in functioning and performing at their best at any given time. Check them out and see what they have to offer:
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