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Mental Improvement

Essay by   •  February 12, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,234 Words (5 Pages)  •  903 Views

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Mental Improvement

Taking a head coaching position at the local high school was a big responsibility. After accepting the job for the women’s varsity soccer team, I knew I had my work cut out for me, especially after speaking with the previous coach. She told me that the team was extremely talented and had a great deal of potential to be successful, but often the team had issues focusing in challenging situations and they seemed to crack under pressure. Hearing all of this made me realize that the team needed to start to prepare themselves mentally from the beginning of the season. I decided some of the main things that I wanted to focus on were instilling imagery into an everyday routine, building confidence, and setting various challenging, yet attainable goals.

The first point that I wanted to make to the team was that imagery is important in all aspects of sport. Imagery is beneficial for training, practice, and competition purposes. I thought by introducing the team to the positive sides of imagery would help the girls visualize situations in which they may struggle mentally. One of the positives of imagery is that it significantly improves concentration. When a situation is visualized in the way an athlete wants it to occur, they prevent their mind from wandering and stay more focused on the task ahead. For example, having an athlete place herself in a situation in which mental errors often occur and then tell her to visualize how they will overcome that obstacle will prepare her if a situation like the one they imagined presents itself. The athlete can then concentrate on executing the task instead of worrying about other factors that could possibly prevent their success at the specific task. Another positive of using imagery is that it builds confidence. Building the athlete’s confidence will also help take care of mental mistakes. By imagining yourself executing a task well and then focusing on the emotional excitement that follows, you can experience the same arousal level and confidence boost in a real life situation. Studies show that positive imagery enhances confidence, so by implementing imagery into a daily routine for the athletes will hopefully help them remain poised in high stress or challenging situations.

I believe that one of the key factors in improving someone’s mental stability is self-confidence. Self-confidence is characterized by a high expectancy of success. I think stressing to my athletes the importance of an optimal level of self-confidence will aid in erasing some of the mental errors committed during important situations. Having self-confidence benefits athletes in many different ways. For one, being self-confident arouses positive emotions. When an athlete is feeling confident, they are more likely to remain calm and relaxed under pressure. Another benefit is that confidence affects psychological momentum, which is very important because of how momentum can shift from negative to positive in critical situations. An athlete that can produce positive momentum from a negative situation is looked at as persevering and determined to complete the task ahead. Lastly, a benefit of self-confidence that I think would greatly impact my team would be that confidence affects game strategies. Confident athletes are more willing to take chances and take control of their competition, which would decrease the likelihood of mental mistakes when having the upper hand in the competition. Having a confident team is greatly desired, but I want to also make sure the athletes know to be careful not to become overly confident, which can lead to a decline in performance because the athlete believes they do not have to prepare themselves properly to complete the task. When building the team’s confidence, I’m going to remind them to think confidently, prepare efficiently, and use goal mapping as tools to succeed in their task.

The last major point that I am going to implement into my team’s improvement strategy is goal setting. I think that when athletes are all striving towards a common goal, it is easier to stay focused because the athletes all want to contribute the success of the team. The first aspect of goal setting I want them to understand

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