Sports Performance Enhancement
Performance enhancement is concerned with the mental factors that affect how one performs and how to enhance these factors.
1) To help an individual consistently perform at his or her potential.
2) To help an individual stay motivated to become healthy and adhere consistently to exercise.
Sports enhancement has mostly been applied to athletes of every age and level (youth, novice, recreational, collegiate, elite, masters) and to consultation work with coaches of athletes.
Sports Performance Enhancement Interventions
Goal setting – This intervention involves assisting the individual in learning how to set specific, measurable, attainable, and realistic short and long term goals.
Mental imagery training – This technique allows the individual to learn how to use imagery effectively by focusing on the sensations, creating a vivid picture, and emphasizing a positive or successful performance. Imagery training can be employed for specific performances or when learning a new skill.
Pre-performance routines – This technique involves assisting the individual in creating a routine, including physical cues and mental messages or affirmations, that is unique to the person, helps him/her achieve an emotional state that is personally effective (i.e., somewhat relaxed versus being pumped up), and that allows the person to feel confident.
Motivation – This intervention involves assisting individuals in learning what excites them about their activity or performance and how to maintain this enthusiasm over time. An analysis of motivation will also look at the source of the individual’s motivation (i.e., internal or external) and how this affects his/her ability to stay motivated.
Building confidence – This intervention involves helping the individual become aware of his/her self-talk, how to reframe negative messages, and how to use helpful and positive self-talk.
Relaxation training – This skill assists the individual in learning how to effectively relax and manage anxiety by focusing on different deep breathing exercises. The use of relaxation techniques can help athletes and performing artists regulate their physical responses to their performance to achieve their optimal arousal level.
Group cohesion – This intervention focuses on helping teams or groups build trust and respect for each other, work toward common goals, and learn how to communicate effectively.