Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Performance Pyramid of Athletic Mental Training

Britton Devier, a high school teacher of industrial technology in Alabama, holds a doctorate in educational leadership. Also a wrestling, track, and football coach, Britton Devier maintains an interest in mental training for athletes.

A branch of sports psychology, mental training is used by coaches, psychologists, and dedicated mental trainers to enhance physical performance through the improvement of mental faculties. The Ohio Center for Sport Psychology suggests a nine-skill Performance Pyramid, which demonstrates how to build on basic mental skills to ultimately drive performance.

The pyramid is divided into three levels: Basic Skills, Preparatory Skills, and Performance Skills. Each lower level is required to achieve the next.

Basic Skills incorporates attitude, motivation, goals and commitment, and people skills. These abilities are thought to enable athletes to achieve long-term goals, learn necessary physical abilities, and maintain the daily physical practice necessary for successful performance.

Preparatory Skills comprise self-talk and mental imagery. Self-talk helps athletes build and retain self-confidence and positivity, while mental imagery allows them to envision the successful performance they want to attain.

Performance Skills consist of concentration and handling anxiety and emotions. Athletes should be capable of accepting anxiety and strong emotions such as excitement and anger as natural parts of competition and use it to improve their performance.

Finally, athletes must limit their focus to the essential aspects of the sport and avoid distraction. They should concentrate on what is happening in the present moment, rather than what has or may happen.

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