Sports Psychology

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					Sports Psychology
Athletes Reaction to Injury
Treatment of injury requires attending both physical
and psychological needs
Athletes depend on the ability of their bodies to
perform at optimal levels
Performance can be the cornerstone of social and
economic success
Performance is important to self esteem
An injury is any physical challenge that interferes
with performance
Psychological Reactions
Reactions depend on:
  Athletes perceptive of the injuries severity
  How injury interferes with peak performance
  Athlete themselves- reactions vary considerably from
  athlete to athlete
Emotional reactions are caused by:
  Pain associated with tissue damage
  Amount of attention focused on injury
Psychological Components
All physical injuries have a psychological
Responses may include:
  Anxiety about the loss of motor skills and participation
  Anxiety about treatment
  Anxiety about rehabilitation
  Anxiety about their return to play
Psychological Phases
5 phases have been identified which individuals
progress through when confronted with grief or loss
Phases can occur in different sequences
Phases can occur with varying degrees of intensity
In some cases one or more phases may be omitted
These reactions are normal and athlete must be
allowed to fully experience each
Five Psychological Phases
Denial Phase
After a sudden injury the athlete will commonly
deny the seriousness of the condition
“Nothing is really wrong”
Irrational thinking indicates denial of the true
seriousness of the injury
Athlete needs to reshape their perception of the
Either the athlete will change perception and leave
denial phase or seek second and third opinions-
prolonging the phase
Anger Phase
Once athlete can no longer deny an injury they
often become angry
Anger is toward themselves, those around them,
and everything in general
Challenging anger only makes it worse
“Why me” “What did I do wrong” Why am I being
punished” “It’s not fair”
Athlete may lose interest in rehabilitation
Special Considerations
Athletes who deny pain or loss of function
  Ignore pain signals or deny loss of function from injury
  Tolerate high levels of pain
  Apparently believe it is to their advantage not to
  acknowledge discomfort
  Watch athletes carefully to try to detect signs of injury
  Pay close attention to those athletes who have hidden
  injuries in the past
Special Considerations
Athletes who view injury as a source of relief
  Consider injuries a source of relief rather than a threat
  Competition is not only a opportunity to triumph, but
  also to fail
  Injury can provide a socially acceptable reason to
  avoid the pressure to succeed
  Discuss athletes perception of situation and reaction to
  pressure may be helpful
  Athlete may need help learning to perceive the
  competitive situation as less a threat and more of an
Intervention Skills
Encourage cooperation
Goal Setting
Maintaining Team Associations
Relaxation Skills
Visual Imagery
Positive Self-Talk
Be honest and complete with the athlete about
needs, expectations and progress
Evaluate often
Do not neglect their emotional responses by trying
to cheer them up or ignoring their feelings
Anxious feelings are normal and should receive
support as they work through them
Encourage Cooperation
Building cooperation and patience with athletes
is essential for success rehab
Remember athletes are the ones who must
dedicate the time, effort and endure the pain
Give clear explanations
Outline procedures used in the treatment
Make responsible predictions of athletes
prognosis and return to competition to improve
Goal Setting
Is critical to establish a program that will be
motivational and achieve success
Measure progress daily
Break programs into small sub goals so that
improvement is more visible
Set both short and long term goals
   Include positive language about what will be achieved,
   specifically what must be done, and time frame
   Build rewards into reaching goals
Maintain Team Association
Athlete’s social status and rewards often
dramatically decrease with an injury
Friendships based on team membership become
Team Association keeps injured athletes motivation
to return from fading
Must keep involved with team
  Light workouts
  Assist with coaching or managerial tasks
Relaxation Skills
Promote healing
Increase blood flow
Help work through pain
3 techniques
  Focused relaxed breathing
  Progressive muscle relaxation
Focused, relaxed breathing
Lessen pain
Reduce muscular resistance in range of motion
Progressive Muscle
Most extensively used technique for relaxation
Can be practiced in a reclining position or while
seated in a chair
Each muscle group in tensed from 5-7
seconds, then relaxed for 20-30 seconds
One repetition of the procedure is sufficient
If tension remains in the area- repeat in that
Progressive Muscle
The sequence of tensing and releasing is
systematically applied to the body
  Starting hands-arms-head-chest-lower body
Throughout the session a number of expressions
for relaxing may be used
  “Let the tension dissolve”
  “Let go on the tension”
Progressive Muscle
After the athlete has become highly aware of the
tension in the body the contraction is gradually
decreased until little remains
The athlete focuses on one area and mentally wills
the tension to decrease to zero or complete
A short progressive program can be developed- not
as satisfactory, does help the person to become
aware of the body
Technique used in culture dating back nearly 3000
Many consider meditation to be an attitude rather
than a process
Not only relaxation, but individual’s capacity for
focused attention
Can reduce mental anxiety, muscular tension, and
create a climate for increased productivity
Effects of Meditation
  Use up to 18% less oxygen
  Produce less carbon dioxide
  Slower respiratory rate
  Decreased resting heart rate
  Decreased blood pressure
  Brain waves that are associated with the relaxed
  mental state increase
Meditation Techniques
Focus on a constant mental stimulus such as:
  A phrase repeated silently or audibly,
  A sound or a single word
  Perhaps a gaze steadily at some object
Turn away thoughts as they come into
consciousness and return to focus of attention
Meditation Techniques
Position in a comfortable position
Normally, the eyes are closed unless the meditator
is focused on some external object
A quiet environment is essential
Once fully physically relaxed, the process can
Meditation Techniques
With each exhalation the athlete emits self-talk of a
short word
Word is repeated over and over for 10-20 minutes
  Words such as peace, relaxed or one are excellent
After repeating the word, athlete comes back to
physical reality slowly and gently
As awareness increases, physical activity should
also increase
Moving too quickly or standing up suddenly may
produce light headedness or dizziness
Visual Imagery
The imagination can greatly influence their
response to an injury
Athletes can be taught to control:
  Visual images to direct tem productively
  Reduce anxiety
  Aid in rehabilitation and healing
Athletes should imagine the healing in the tissues
and actually breath air out through the injured area
Visual Imagery
Athletes should mentally practice returning to
activity and the feeling of being healed and
regaining full movement
It is not unusual for athletes to have flashbacks to
the original injury movement
Reassure that this is normal and that they should
replace that image with one of what it will be like to
return to action
Positive Self-Talk
Helpful in moving through the grieving process and
focusing on recovery
Use affirming self statements and have athletes
verbally encourage and reward themselves for their
efforts and progress
Overtraining, Staleness
           and Burnout
Stress refers to a change
Stress is not all bad, nor is it all good
Sports participation serves as a stressor
Training too hard and too long without proper rest
is overtraining
Athletes who undergo overtraining can become
stale and burnt out
Overtraining Signs
Coaches, therapeutic staff, and athletes should be
aware of the following:
  Changes in an athlete’s physical output
  Changes in an athletes motivation level
  Psychosomatic complaints and decrease in intensity
  Changes in the practice climate of the team- increased
  small overuse injuries
Loss of vigor, initiative, and successful
Attributed to a variety of influences
   Long seasons or extended seasons
   Monotony in practice and program structure
   Abusiveness-verbal and physical or controlling
   High and constant levels of stress
   Poor eating habits
Staleness may be the beginning of burnout
Often a result of overtraining
Athletes are more prone to staleness if rewards of
their efforts are minimal, like a losing season
Symptoms to Staleness
Decrease in             Inability to sleep
performance             Irritability and
Chronic fatigue         restlessness
Apathy                  Anxiety and
Loss of appetite        depression
Indigestion             Has to force self to
Weight loss             practice
High BP/Pulse at rest   Signs of boredom
and at exercise         Difficulty concentrating
Prevent Staleness
Time off- breaks in routine
Allow athletes to have more input and control of
decisions that affect them
Decrease emotional and stressful demands
Provide a supportive and caring environment
Sufficient attention to complaints and small
Intervention skills- goal setting, relaxation,
mental practices, positive self talk
State of physical, mental and emotional
Ability to cope with minor daily frustrations
decreases and ability to cope with major problems
are paralyzed
Loss of motivation and interest
Can become extremely dangerous in terms of
injuries and devastating in terms of performance
Symptoms of Burnout
Emotional detachment
Psychosomatic complaints
Treatment for Burnout
Takes more drastic steps than staleness
Should be evaluated by a sports psychologist or
clinical counselor
Removal from activity and environment
Psychological counseling
The End
Any questions???

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