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Mental Skills Training

Why is psychological skills training important? Why is it typically ignored by most people especially those who work in performance environments?



Why is psychological skills training important? Why is it typically ignored by most people especially those who work in performance environments?


“Psychological skills training is of particular importance when dealing with elite level performers who have already reached the apex of any type of physical or tactical skill.”

Psychological skills training is important for several reasons. It goes without saying that the performance conversation is not complete unless there is some type of discussion about the mental aspects of preparation, execution, and ultimately the results that are exhibited within their respective arena. Psychological skills training is of particular importance when dealing with elite level performers who have already reached the apex of any type of physical or tactical skill. Often times in these scenarios, the lion share of performers are very similar with only a fractional margin of deviation in prowess or execution.


Another important reason for the advent and maintenance of psychological skills training is that it inevitably changes the performance environment. The performers approach, coupled with a systematic mental skills program has the potential to positively affect performance outcomes. Holliday et al (2008) pose (from an athletic perspective) that properly periodized mental skills programming has the ability to enhance performance by allowing athletes to develop, perform, and enjoy their sport.


“The performers approach, coupled with a systematic mental skills program has the potential to positively affect performance outcomes. ”

Perhaps arguably the most important reason psychological skills training is so handy for high-level performers, is that you never know when it will be called upon. Every performer knows that they at some point will need it, however they do not know exactly when. DeWiggins et al (2010) state that the lack of predictability, the high-stakes costs of winning and losing, and inevitably the risk that are taken throughout competition are all triggers that affect performance for both athletes and military personnel. Psychological skills training, at this point, becomes not only suggested but absolutely necessary.


References:

Holliday, B., Burton, D., Sun, G., Hammermeister, J., Naylor, S., & Freigang, D. (2008). Building the Better Mental Training Mousetrap: Is Periodization a More Systematic Approach to Promoting Performance Excellence?. Journal Of Applied Sport Psychology, 20(2), 199-219.


DEWIGGINS, S., HITE, B., & ALSTON, V. (2010). Personal Performance Plan: Application of Mental Skills Training to Real-World Military Tasks. Journal Of Applied Sport Psychology, 22(4), 458-473









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