Training Your Athletes to be Mentally Tough

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					         Training Your Athletes to be
               Mentally Tough




                         AAHPERD 2010




            Dr. Christine Lottes
     Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
                          lottes@kutztown.edu



Much of the material in this packet is taken from:
Sport Psychology for Coaches (2008) by Drs. Damon Burton and Thomas Raedeke, Human
Kinetics, Champaign, IL, and has been adapted by Dr. Christine Lottes for educational use.
                                Descriptions of Sessions

Goal setting:
  • Athletes learn to set process (goals they can control) goals for practice and for
       competitions. Process goals lead to performance goals which may result in
       athletes reaching their outcome goals.
  • As a result of accomplishing goals, athletes’ self-confidence will increase.

Imagery Skills:
   • Used- to learn new skills, practice known skills, correct skills, play through
      strategies, with relaxation and energization, in self-talk, in stress management and
      in goal setting. Involves all five senses. When you image something, you can
      produce almost the same effect as if you’d actually experienced it.

Relaxation and Energization Skills:
   • Used to either decrease unwanted muscular tension and calm the mind, or, to
      control arousal, enhance concentration and deal with low energy levels.
      Relaxation is used to alleviate stress, control becoming too “psyched up”,
      conserve energy and promote recovery from workouts and injuries.
   • In controlling arousal through energization, concentration and confidence is
      enhanced and the athlete is able to continue playing when tired or encountering
      adversity.

Self-Talk:
    • Athletes learn to monitor, control and direct the steady stream of thoughts and
       internal dialogue that goes on in their heads almost constantly. These thoughts
       have a major impact on mood, emotion and athletic performance. Athletes learn to
       build counterarguments for situations that are particularly problematic into their
       “smart-talk scripts”.

Energy Management:
   • Athletes learn their “optimal energy zone” for high performance and how to get
      themselves into that zone. This zone is highly individual and rests between an
      athlete’s “psych-up” and “psych-out” arousal zones.

Stress Management:
   • Athletes learn that their belief about a stressor determines whether uncertain
       competitive situations are viewed positively as a challenge or negatively as a
       threat. Athletes learn to identify what they can control (thoughts and actions) in
       each situation and what they cannot control, and the impact this distinction has on
       their stress levels. Self-talk (counterarguments), imagery and relaxation can be
       used to manage stress levels.




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       Introduction to Psychological Skills Training (Mental Training Tools)

Take: booklets, pencils, notebook, chalk or markers

I’m here to help you and to help our team be as successful as possible this season.

What’s more important for sport, the body or the mind? Need both.

I asked those of you who were able to meet with me earlier in the preseason a question:
what gets in your way of your being as successful a __________ player as you could be?

I’m here to help us learn some psychological skills that will toughen us up mentally and
deal with some of those things that keep you from being as successful, plus we’ll learn
some new mental tools that you can apply to sport or to any other area of your life.

What are the skills we’ll be learning, how do they work and what can they do for you as
athletes?

We are going to learn 6 basic skills over the next two weeks and then we are going to spend
all season practicing them, just like we’ll be practicing all of the ___________ skills all
season.

The 6 basic skills are: goal setting skills, imagery skills, relaxation and energization, self-
talk, energy management and stress management. Briefly….
    1. Goal Setting Skills: there are goals we can control and goals we can’t.
            a. We are going to help you set goals you can control.
            b. As you accomplish these goals you will feel more and more confident as an
               athlete and as a person.

   2. Imagery Skills: allow you to see yourself and your teammates successfully playing
      _____________.
         a. Let’s say each of us would sit here right now and picture in our mind
            moving the ball down the field or, _____________________________.
         b. Fact: whether you imagine yourself doing it or are actually doing it, the
            effect on your brain is almost identical to the actual experience.
         c. You only work with a ball minutes a day… and that time is very
            important…. but you can also input code into your brain at any time during
            the day- practice a skill, plan a new sequence of skills, correct a mistake….

   3. Relaxation and Energization: you’ve heard of the phrases psyched-up or psyched-
      out. Each of us performs best at a certain level of mental and physical readiness.

   4. Self-Talk: Self-talk is the steady stream of thoughts and internal dialogue that
      goes on in our heads almost constantly. Your thoughts have a major impact on
      your mood, emotions and performance.


                                                                                         3
       5. Energy Management: Energy management has to do with helping you control your
          arousal, or the physical and mental energy that fuels your athletic performance.
          a. I just mentioned the phrases psyched-up or psyched-out. Each of us performs
              best at a certain level of mental and physical readiness.
          b. We do a physical warm-up before practice and before a game.
          c. We also know we need a mental warm-up but how do we do it so that we’re at
              that optimal level between where we’re not psyched up enough and where we’re
              too psyched-up so that we’re psych-out… nervous…. and end up not playing as
              well as we can.
       6. Stress Management: we all have situations that we feel stressed about. We’ll learn
          how to handle stress whether it comes from sport or from some other part of our
          lives so that when we’re competing, we can do our best.

   Learning mental tools isn’t a quick fix. Must learn the skills and practice the skills.

   How can learning psychological skills be compared to learning physical skills?
     • Both must be approached systematically.
     • Can’t expect either to be performed without appropriate instruction and practice.
         Need to practice both daily.
     • First practice without interference from others.
     • Gradually incorporate into the normal practice session (increase the stress the
         athlete must contend with in performing the psychological skill).
     • Finally, use skill in competitive situations.

   All 6 skills are interrelated.

   They’re taught in a 3-step approach:
      • Learn about them- the educational phase
      • Acquire them through a structured training program
      • Practice them so that they’re part of your normal practice and competitive routine.

Questions?
                                Concerns
List things you are concerned about (both sport and other areas of your life)

   •

   •

   •

   •




                                                                                             4
   Make big circle on blackboard and explain (with examples) the circles.


Pick your greatest concern from your list. With that concern, write in the “No Control”
circle all of the things over which you have no control. Now write in the “Control” circle
all of the things over which you have control. Be Specific.
(Circle from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1989) by Stephen Covey, Fireside, NY, NY)




                                       No Control




                                         Control




                                                                                            5
                             Control/No Control

What I have the     With this concern,      One action I will       When         Check
greatest            one thing that I        take in thing I         I’ll do      when
concern             have 100%               have 100%               this (in     Done
about…….            control over…..         control over…..         next 3
                                                                    days)




   •   I will spend time on concerns I have that I _______ control. I won’t spend time on or
       think about what I can’t _________.


Summary
  • 6 Mental Toughness Skills we will be learning? Goal setting, imagery, relaxation and
    energization, self-talk, energy management, stress management.
  • Spend time on concerns you have that you _can___ control. Don’t spend time on or
    think about what you _can’t___ control.
  • Answer out loud either can or can’t control, and, if it is both, what can and what can’t:
        - Official’s call: can’t.
        - What friend thinks of me: can’t but can be loving and possibly influence.
        - Amount of playing time: can’t but can attend practice, work on skills.
        - How I look- can’t change some things but can shower, get rest.
        - Weather- can’t but can dress and prepare for it.




                                                                                        6
                          Self-Confidence and Goal Setting

   Take: booklets, pencils, notebook, chalk or markers

   Review:
   • 5 Mental Toughness Skills we will be learning? Goal setting, imagery, psychic
      energy management, stress management, attentional skills.
   • Spend time on concerns you have that you ___can__ control. Don’t spend time on or
      think about what you __can’t__ control.
   • Answer out loud either can or can’t, and, if it is both, what can and what can’t:
          - Official’s call: can’t.
          - What friend thinks of me: can’t but can be loving and possibly influence.
          - Amount of playing time: attend practice, work on skills.
          - How I look- can shower, get rest.
          - Weather- can’t but can dress and prepare for it.

Today: Self-Confidence and Goal Setting

   Goal setting isn’t new. Athletes and coaches have always set goals for themselves and
   for the team.

   Goal setting does have mixed success. Consider these two examples: Sherri- VB,
   coach convinced to work off season on weight training & plyometrics. She was so
   sold on the goal of improving her jumping skills that she nailed a yardstick on her
   garage wall and measured her vertical jump every 2 weeks. She was committed to her
   program and over time her hard work paid off. As she improved a few centimeters at
   a time she grew more confident about reaching her long term goal of becoming a
   good VB player and more motivated to train even harder. She went on to become a
   two-time Olympian.

   Contrast this with Tracy who at age 12 was a promising swimmer setting age-group
   records. Tracy’s parents and coach set goals for her that were too high and ended up
   putting such pressure on her to live up to everyone’s expectations that she ended up
   doubting her ability which caused her performance to suffer. Poorly designed goal-
   setting programs can actually hurt athletes’ performances.

   The difference in their programs? Sherri’s goals were realistic and motivating while
   Tracy’s were set by others and were too high so that they were demotivating and
   stress inducing.

      Systematic goal setting programs can be successful in developing self-confidence
       if you set goals that you can control.
      These goals you set that you can control will be realistic, specific & measurable.
       These are called process goals. They will lead to good performances during
       competition and to outcomes that you desire.




                                                                                          7
Three Types of Goals:
   • Process Goals: focus on improving form, technique, and strategy.
   • Performance Goals: address overall personal performance such as running
       without tiring and needing to come out of a game, getting by an opponent
       more consistently or shooting or clearing the ball more accurately.
   • Outcome Goals: emphasize outperforming other competitors, as well as the
       objective outcome- that is winning.

   We have control over process goals. While outcome goals are not totally under
    our control (outperforming other competitors, placing high or winning).
   We learned yesterday that we have areas of concern. Usually there is something
    we can control within that concern and that is where we spend our time and
    energy.
   When we do something that we can control this is called a process goal.
   As focus on process goals, circle of control will expand over things we are
    concerned about, like the outcome.
   For example if I work hard at practice (process) there is more of a chance I will
    play well (performance) and more of a chance I’ll win a game (outcome).
   If I’m concerned about a friend: if I work hard to learn how to communicate
    (listen to friend and also express my own thoughts and feelings) (process) there is
    more of a chance that I’ll communicate what I think and feel to my friend
    (performance) and more of a chance our friendship will be successful (outcome).
   Why is the concept of control so important in setting goals? Basing your
    definitions of success and failure on factors beyond your control is detrimental to
    self-worth. Nothing you do can increase your opportunity for success, and as a
    result you develop an external locus of control…. give control to others and blame
    others.
   As you accomplish goals you can control, process goals, your self-confidence will
    grow.

Let’s look at the benefits of goal setting in your packet:
• Goals enhance focus and concentration.
• Goals boost self-confidence.
• Goals help prevent or manage stress.
• Goals help create a positive mental attitude.
• Goals increase intrinsic motivation to excel.
• Goals improve the quality of practices by making training more challenging.
• Goals enhance playing skill, techniques, and strategies.
• Goals improve overall performance.

We want you to set goals you can control and gain self-confidence in the process.
These goals are called Process Goals.




                                                                                     8
   Outcome Goals require athletes to attain performance goals, such as playing 50
   minutes without running out of energy, stopping 90% of the shots on goal or running
   the 100 meters in 10.22 seconds. To attain these performance goals, athletes must
   achieve a series of process goals that focus on improving conditioning, form,
   technique, knowledge or strategy such as improving one’s shot, communicating with
   teammates or running for longer periods of time.


   Practice                                                              Competition




   Process                          Performance                            Outcome
   (improving conditioning,         (improving                           (winning and
   technique, and strategy)         overall performance)            social comparison)


1. Indicate if the following are process (a) or performance (b) goals.
    a. _1____ Exercise 30 minutes a day, 4 times a week in my target heart rate range
    b. _2____ Accept official’s calls without question g
    c. _2___ Get in shape a.
    d. _1____ Do packet from Coach
    e. _1____ Study 2 hours for five days of each week
    f. _2____ Run mile under 8 minutes d.
    g. _1___ Practice focusing and acting on what can control
    h. _1____ Lift weights two times a week
    i. _2____ Improve grade point average e.
    j. _2____ Get stronger h.

   Now, match the process goal that you can control, to one possible performance goal.

2. Write two sport process goals. Then place an “X” if the goal conforms to each principle
listed.
                          Performance      Realistic Specific Short-term Individual
a. Get in shape___________       _____        __X__        _____       _____        __X__

b. Jog for 20 minutes______     __X__        __X_          __X__     __X__         __X__
c. _____________________        _____        _____         _____     _____         _____
   _____________________

d. _____________________        _____        _____         _____      _____        _____
   _____________________
   _____________________




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3. Write down the position you might be playing this season. List the skills that are
important to success at that position. In the second column, list possible ways to measure
performance so that only performance of the player, & not the outcome as influenced by
someone else, is measured.
Position: _________________________________
           Skills                                            Ways to measure
1.     Dribbling                               1.     Number of touches in 60 seconds
2.                                             2.
3.                                             3.
Did you list ways you can measure your skills in terms of performance you can
control- not what others control or occurrences that are the result of luck or
chance? Exchange paper with someone and discuss your answers with them.

4. Determine a terminal performance goal toward which you are striving. Then determine
your baseline or usual performance level at that task. Finally, list three progressively
more challenging process goals that will move you toward achieving your terminal
performance goal.

- Baseline Performance; Goals 1, 2 and 3; Terminal performance goal.

Staircase that has specific, measurable, realistic goals.

5. Describe an athlete who fits the definition of each of the types of self-confidence.
     a. Optimally confident: having a realistic sense of what you can accomplish.
    Those who have this set realistic goals based on their own abilities.
     b. Diffident: lack confidence. These individuals suffer from a fear of failure and a
    high concentration of self-doubts, which combine to produce a negative self-fulfilling
    prophecy.
     c. Falsely Confident: unfounded confidence in competencies and an act to cover up
    a diffident attitude. The individual tends to act “cocky”, and, in some instances,
    arrogant. Falsely confident individuals further compound their confidence problems
    when their performances show their true competencies.
     d. I am currently a ____________________________ athlete. As I set and
    accomplish process goals, I will either become or will become an even stronger
    Optimally Confident athlete.

At the beginning I said that
- Systematic goal setting programs where athletes learn how to set process (not
    outcome) goals can be successful in developing athlete self-confidence.
- Set goals that are realistic, specific, measurable. They will lead to performances and
    outcomes that the you desires.
- As you accomplish your performance goals, you will build self-confidence.
- If you understand this, you can lose an event as far as the W-L goes and not lose
    confidence. Ex. Near the end of one season, my team was nationally ranked which
    meant that every team we played was “up” for us (in terms that we are learning in this
    class, they were at their optimum level of psychic energy).



                                                                                        10
-   We not only had to maintain our optimum level for each game against teams that
    weren’t as skilled, but also be ready for teams that were as skilled and were more
    skilled. One team in particular was more skilled than we were. Unless
    psychologically they let down, they had the skill to win the game. They did end up
    winning but my team played the finest they ever had. We briefly met after the game
    and I highlighted what they had done skill wise and how they had psychologically
    stayed focused. I was excited about their play and, because they could evaluate the
    strength of the other team skill-wise and psychologically, they were too. If you had
    met them as they walked back to the gym, you would have thought they had won on
    the scoreboard.
-   They had controlled their process and performance goals. They had no control over
    the outcome. Since the other team played to their ability physically and
    psychologically, we lost 2-1.
-   What did that mean as far as National rankings? Very little. We had been ranked in
    the top 16 and still remained in the top 16, in fact we moved up a bit by having played
    and having had a close score against a higher ranked team.
-   Sometimes, you can lose and still win in rankings. But even if you can’t win in
    rankings, you can win in process and performance goals which impact your self-
    confidence.

- Self-confidence depends not on winning but on the realistic
  expectation about achieving success.

Work on this list for your sport:
      • Process Goals: focus on improving form, technique, and strategy.
              - stick on ground when around ball 90% of time
              - GK: talk to teammates every 2 minutes
              - drop back shoulder on penalty stroke
              - in practice run back on defense when ball changes hands

       •   Performance Goals: address overall personal performance
               - running without tiring and needing to come out of a game
               - getting by an opponent more consistently
               - shooting or clearing the ball more accurately.
               - every time get back on defense ball side, goal side and feet pointed
                  away from own goal
               - pull out and cut in on free hits

       •   Outcome Goals: emphasize outperforming other competitors, as well as the
           objective outcome- that is winning.
              - Win game
              - go to district
              - go to state
              - letter in sport



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                          Imagery and Relaxation Training

   Take: booklets, pencils, notebook, chalk or markers, sport implements

   Review:
   Three Types of Goals:
      • Process Goals: focus on improving form, technique, and strategy.
      • Performance Goals: address overall personal performance such as running
          without tiring and so not needing to come out of a game, getting by an
          opponent more consistently or shooting or clearing the ball more accurately.
      • Outcome Goals: emphasize outperforming other competitors, as well as the
          objective outcome- that is winning.

   We have control over process and performance goals.

   As you accomplish goals, what will build? Self-Confidence.

   Tell me if this is an example of a process, performance or outcome goal:
   a. 5 minutes per day working on ball control process
   b. being able to sprint back from the 50 when the opposing team is taking a penalty
   corner on your defense performance
   c. beating an opponent to the ball outcome

   Today: Imagery and Relaxation (Education, Acquisition, Implementation Phases)

Education Phase: Introduce imagery and evaluate athletes’ strengths and
weaknesses in creating vivid and controlled images that incorporate all the senses.
   • What does imagery involve?
   - Using your senses (sight, feel- how muscles feel as they move, touch, sound,
      smell and taste) to create or re-create an experience in your mind.
   - Imaging a sport skill is similar to performing the skill, except you experience the
      action only in your mind.
   - Though you don’t actually see a field hockey ball, feel the stick in your hand or
      the sensation of your muscles moving or hear the sound of the stick hitting the
      ball, you do experience all these sensory cues in your mind
   - Imagery is a product of your memory system. Your brain recalls and reconstructs
      pieces of information stored in your memory to build a meaningful image.
   - Through imagery, you an recall a previous experience in great vividness and
      detail. What did it feel like to score a goal….. stop a goal from scoring…. Dodge
      past an opponent…..
   - You can also create images of events yet to occur by piecing together bits of
      information already stored in your memory.
   - You can imagine taking the ball down the field past opponents based on what you
      already know about dodging and passing and cutting.




                                                                                         12
•   Who uses imagery?
-   Successful and highly skilled athletes are more likely than less accomplished
    athletes to use imagery regularly.
-   More than 9 out of 10 Olympic athletes use imagery an average of 4 days a week
    for 10-15 minutes a day.
•   How does it work?
-   The mind creates a blueprint for performing a skill.
-   The mind cannot tell the difference between an image and the real thing. So,
    when you image something, you can produce almost the same effect as if you
    actually experienced it.
-   For example, if you image cutting, receiving a pass or cutting off a pass or a shot
    on goal, the mind now has the sequence of events ready for you to do. The more
    you image what might occur during a game and how you would respond, the
    more you can react during a game without hesitation, without thinking, because
    you have already seen it happen in your mind.
-   So, when you get on the field to do the physical skill, the mental blueprint is
    already there to help make the skill automatic…. You don’t have to think about it.
•   How effective is it? It can improve performance but some athletes benefit more
    than others based on:
-   Imagery ability: can you see a vivid (vs. blurry) image that you can control?
    Otherwise you may just repeat mistakes as you try to image.
-   Imagery Perspective: internal vs. external. Internal is when you experience the
    event seeing it through your own eyes and feeling the movements as if actually
    performing the skill. This is best for field hockey players when you are in the flow
    of play and events are changing. External imagery is good for when you are
    seeing the big picture- where teammates are on the field and where the opponent
    is.
•   How can I use imagery effectively? How can it improve my performance?
-   Practice the skills and strategies faithfully.
-   Work to create a clear, detailed, lifelike image that I can control.
-   Relax and allow the image to flow.
-   If you lose focus, gently redirect attention back to the image.
•   Using Imagery to Improve Mental Skills
-   Develop self-awareness: recall a time when you played very well, when
    concentration was automatic and events flowed easily, when self-doubt was
    nonexistent. Think about these feelings and use the images you had then to create
    the feeling you want as you enter competition. For example, were you calm, cool
    even when made a mistake. Also recall a time when you got anxious or angry.
    Was it an official’s call or a being pushed by an opponent? You can imagine that
    occurring and then imagine remaining focused and performing well by using self-
    talk to focus on the task at hand.
-   Enhance self-confidence and motivation: imagine playing in front of cheering
    fans or replay outstanding performances or reaching a goal.
-   Manage Stress: image things that could go wrong and what you will then do.
-   Manage Energy: to manage getting too psyched up to the proper level, see self in
    a place you associate with calmness and tranquility. To manage being flat or



                                                                                     13
       fatigued, get an image that is energizing like starting up your energy shoes or
       seeing yourself running effortlessly on the field.
   -   Improve focus and concentration:
   -   Plan game strategies
   -   Provide relaxation
   -   Control emotions
   -   Analyze performances
   -   Practice other psychological skills
   •   What are the key concepts of imagery?
           - Sensory awareness, Vividness, Control
   •   What personal imagery skills do I already have?

                                Evaluating Imagery Ability
Read the descriptions of four general sport situations. After you read each general
description, think of a specific example of it- the skill, the people involved, the place, and
the time. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to become as relaxed as you can. Put
aside all other thoughts. Keep your eyes closed for about one minute as you try to imagine
the situation. If you have distracting thoughts, gently redirect your attention to the scene
you are imagining.

There are no right or wrong images. Your accurate evaluation of your images will help you
to determine what skills you need to focus on in the development of your imagery-tainting
program.

After imaging the situation, rate the following imagery dimensions by circling the
appropriate number.
   • Visual
   • Auditory
   • Kinesthetic
   • Mood and emotion
   • Control

Situation 1: Select a specific skill or activity in your sport. Imagine yourself performing
the activity in the place where you would normally practice, without anyone else present.
Now close your eyes for about one minute and try to see yourself at this place, hear the
sounds, feel the body movements and be aware of your mood.
                                                        Very poorly         Very well
a. Rate how well you saw yourself performing the activity           1    2    3     4    5
b. Rate how well you heard the sounds of performing the             1    2    3     4    5
activity
c. Rate how well you were able to feel yourself performing          1    2    3     4    5
the activity
d. Rate how well your were aware of your mood and                   1    2    3     4    5
emotions.
e. Rate how well you were able to control your image.               1    2    3     4    5




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Situation 2: You are performing the same activity but are now practicing the skill with the
coach and your teammates present. This time, however, you make a mistake that everyone
notices, but you remain calm, recover quickly, correct your mistake, and perform well. Now
close your eyes for about one minute and imagine making the error, correcting it, and
performing well as clearly as possible.
                                                            Very poorly         Very well
a. Rate how well you saw yourself performing the activity       1     2    3    4     5
b. Rate how well you heard the sounds of performing the         1     2    3    4     5
activity
c. Rate how well you were able to feel yourself performing      1     2    3    4     5
the activity
d. Rate how well your were aware of your mood and               1     2    3    4     5
emotions.
e. Rate how well you were able to control your image.           1     2    3    4     5


Situation 3: Think of a teammate performing a specific activity successfully in a contest-
for example, making a goal or stopping a goal. Now close your eyes for about one minute
to image watching your teammate performing this activity successfully in a critical part
of the contest as vividly and realistically as possible.
                                                              Very poorly        Very well
a. Rate how well you saw your teammate performing the           1    2    3     4     5
activity
b. Rate how well you heard the sounds of your teammate          1    2    3     4     5
performing the activity
c. Rate how well you felt your own physical presence in this    1    2    3     4     5
situation
d. Rate how well your were aware of your mood and               1    2    3     4     5
emotions.
e. Rate how well you were able to control your image.           1    2    3     4     5

Situation 4: Imagine yourself performing the same or a similar activity in a contest, but
imagine yourself performing very skillfully, Spectators and teammates show their
appreciation. Now close your eyes for about one minute to imagine the situation as vividly
as possible.
                                                               Very poorly       Very well
a. Rate how well you saw yourself performing the activity       1    2     3     4     5
b. Rate how well you heard the sounds of performing the         1    2     3     4     5
activity
c. Rate how well you were able to feel yourself performing      1    2     3     4     5
the activity
d. Rate how well your were aware of your mood and               1    2     3     4     5
emotions.
e. Rate how well you were able to control your image.           1    2     3     4     5




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Now add up your responses to each question and write your scores in the spaces that
follow:
Dimension                                   Score
Visual (all “a” items)                    _______
Auditory (all “b” items)                  _______
Kinesthetic (all “c” items)               _______
Mood (all “d” items)                      _______
Control (all “e” items)                   _______
TOTAL                                     _______
Compare your scores for each dimension to the following skill categories:

Score                     Rating
18-20 Good skills. Periodically do an exercise to keep yourself sharp.
13-17 Average development of skills. Spend time each week improving these skills
 0-12 These dimensions need daily attention to bring your imagery skills to a useful level.
 From D. Burton and T. Raedeke, 2008, Sport Psychology for Coaches (Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics).

   •   Write in your packet where a calm place is for you.

   •   Imagery scenario involving rehearsal of physical skills or strategy. Rewrite these
       for your sport:
   Forward: Drive ball to goal, keeper deflects it, you are following your shot, pick up
   the deflection on your stick and put ball in cage.
   Mid-Fielder: Cut into a space and collect a pass from a teammate. You lift the ball
   over your defender’s stick and pass the ball through into a space where your
   teammate is cutting into.
   Defender: Running back on defense. Get ball side and stick side of girl you’re
   marking. Pass comes to her but you cut onto it and take it wide where you pass it into
   a space where the mid-fielder is cutting into.
   Goalie: Forward is dribbling toward you on a breakaway. She shoots. You stop the
   ball and clear it into a space where your teammate is cutting into. You check and
   adjust your position according to where the cage is and where the ball is going.

Summary:
  • Imagery involves all of the senses.
  • Imagery improves performance.
  • The mind can’t tell the difference between a vivid image and a real experience.
    Imagery can be used to improve any skill that can be practiced physically as well
    as to help develop mental skills.
  • Imagery must be systematic to achieve desired benefits- need to do every day or
    every other day (at home and at practice/games). Need to work on vivid and
    controlled images.
  • Successful and highly skilled athletes are more likely than less accomplished
    athletes to use imagery regularly

   -   Do imagery with athletes lying down…. But tell how many athletes stand up and
       do partial movements as they image. Can use a sport implement- stick, ball.


                                                                                                16
                                 Relaxation and Energization

Take: booklets, pencils, notebook, chalk or markers

Review:
Mark true or false for each statement:
   a. ___F_____ Imagery is only the visualization of a particular event and does not
       involve the other senses (sound, smell, feel, taste). The more senses involved, the
       more vivid and true to life the image produced.
   b. ___F_____ Images appear as clearly as postcards for all individuals. For many
       individuals, images will always seem fuzzy.
   c. ____T____ Imagery can improve performances. It is a tool used to enhance the
       quality of practice and performance.
   d. ____T____ Imagery may work by producing neuromuscular responses similar to
       those of an actual experience. Also, imagery may work by helping the individual
       develop a coding system for particular movement patterns.
   e. ____T____ Imagery can be used to supplement physical and psychological skills
       practice. Also, imagery can be used as a tool to practice each of the psychological
       skills included in this course.

Today: Relaxation and Energization

Introduction
   • Have you ever been so tense or “freaked-out” that it prevented you from
      performing your best at a key time- like a penalty stroke or a free hit?
   • Or, near the end of a game, did you ever feel like you “ran out of gas”, got out
      hustled by a fresh opponent or failed to push through the fatigue barrier during a
      long, grueling practice?
   • Relaxation and energization are two mental training tools that can help not to be
      too tense or unable to keep going when fatigued.
   • Sometimes during a field hockey game you need to decrease muscular tension and
      calm your mind to hit the ball or force an opponent wide as you tackle.
   • Sometimes you need to do just the opposite- you need to speed up your heart rate
      and breathing to get more blood to the muscles and to speed up your brain activity
      so that you can push through being tired and continue to play well.

Relaxation
   • We’re going to learn total relaxation and rapid relaxation.
   • Total relaxation you can use when you have more time.
   • Rapid relaxation you can use in the middle of practice or during a game when the
      action isn’t around you or when there is a timeout.
   • Total relaxation helps when there are major life crises with family or friends,
      health or academic problems, recovery from practice or an injury, or improving
      your sleep.




                                                                                        17
•   Rapid relaxation helps you perform optimally within practice or a game by
    reducing tension physically and mentally so that you can think and play better
    and with more energy and enjoyment.
•   We’ll start with total relaxation. Your muscles can be relaxed or at various levels
    of tension. Make a fist- 10- feel the muscle tension, shake out- 1- feel absence of
    tension. Repeat. Now do a 10, 2, 8, 5, 1.
•   For your sport, when might you want higher muscle tension? Lower muscle
    tension?
•   Four muscle groups: shoulders, arms and hands; head and neck; chest, back and
    stomach, hips, thighs, calves and feet.
•   Focus on your breathing. Breath from your diaphragm, by inhaling through the
    nose and filling your lungs. Then slowly exhale through your mouth.
•   Yesterday we asked you to think of your favorite place. We are going to do a
    relaxing activity now combining breathing, muscle relaxation and your favorite
    place.
•   Here’s what we’re going to do: Breathing: Sitting where you are, focus on your
    breathing. Breath from your diaphragm, by inhaling through the nose and filling
    your lungs. Then slowly exhale through your mouth and say the cue word relax.
•   Now picture your relaxing place from when we did imagery yesterday. Breath in
    through nose and out through mouth.

                                  Relaxation Script

    Listen to the sound of my voice as I guide you through the process of relaxing
yourself. Get into a comfortable position and close your eyes. Begin by doing 6 to 8
deep breaths, breathing in deeply through your nose, feeling your diaphragm and then
your chest expand completely, holding the breath briefly, and then exhaling slowly
through your mouth. Keep your breathing slow, deep and regular, and take
approximately the same amount of time to inhale as you do to exhale. Each breath
allows you to exhale tension and anxiety and to take in soothing, refreshing oxygen.
Concentrate on this simple process now. Allow yourself to totally let go of all tension
and sink down deeper into your chair (or bed) as you become more deeply and
completely relaxed.
    Focus your attention on the muscles o your head and neck. Command these
muscles to relax and feel them begin to respond. Feel the tension draining out as each
individual muscle fiber loosen up, smoothes out, unwinds, and relaxes deeply and
completely, Each breath takes you deeper and deeper into relaxation, as your facial
and neck muscles let go and unwind. Concentrate on using your breathing to fuel
relaxation , as you exhale tension and anxiety and breath in soothing, invigorating
oxygen. Focus on your breathing, and allow it to help the muscles of your face and
neck to go down, down, down, deeper and deeper into relaxation. Be aware of how
the relaxation feels and contrast it to the tension you experienced in these muscles
before. Use imagery to further enhance the effectiveness of the technique. You might
imagine your tension falling gradually, like dried leaves…. Or envision a little person
with a broom sweeping the tension away… or the tension like a yellow liquid




                                                                                     18
draining slowly from the muscles. Feel the muscles of your face and neck gradually
let go and get very loose, limp, heavy and relaxed.
     Allow the relaxation you have achieved in your head and neck to begin to spread
down your body to your shoulders, then your arms, and finally to your hands. See
the tension slowly draining out of these muscles and feel relaxation steadily radiate
into your shoulders and down your arms. Imagine these muscles relaxing and feel
them respond, allowing more muscle fibers to loosen up, smooth out, unwind, and
relax as the tension slowly drains away. Concentrate on your breathing, with each
inhalation being in relaxing and soothing oxygen while each exhalation slowly expels
tension and anxiety from your body. Focus on letting go all remaining tension from
your shoulders, arms and hands. Identify these feelings of relaxation and contrast
them to the tension you experienced before. Little by little, slowly and deliberately,
more and more muscle fibers relax, bringing you to a deep level of relaxation in
which all the muscles of your shoulders, arms, and hands feel very loose, limp, heavy
and relaxed.
     Continue to breath deeply and regularly, allowing your breathing to deepen your
relaxation. Use your breathing to help extend your relaxation down your body to your
chest, back, and stomach. Let go of the tension in these muscle groups, imagining
the muscles relaxing and feeling them respond. Feel your breathing help each muscle
fiber loosen up, smooth out, unwind, and relax. See the tension slowly draining out of
these muscles and feel relaxation steadily spreading into your chest, back, and
stomach. Concentrate on your breathing, allowing yourself to inhale soothing,
refreshing oxygen and exhale tension and anxiety. Focus on letting go all remaining
tension from your chest, back and stomach. Recognize these feelings of relaxation
and compare them to the tension you experienced before. Little by little, slowly and
deliberately, more and more muscle fibers relax and unwind, bringing you to a deep
level of relaxation where the muscles of your chest, back, and stomach feel loose,
limp, heavy , and relaxed. Your entire upper body is now deeply relaxed.
     Maintain your slow, deep and regular breathing, use it to help spread relaxation
from your upper body to your hips, thighs, calves, and feet. Let go of the tension in
these muscle groups, imagining the muscles relaxing and feeling them respond. Use
your breathing to help each muscle fiber loosen up, smooth out, unwind, and relax.
See the tension slowly draining out of your lower body. Feel the relaxation move
steadily into your hips, thighs, calves, and feet. Concentrate on your breathing,
inhaling refreshing oxygen to promote relaxation and feelings of relaxation and
contrast them to the tension you felt in these muscles before. Little by little, slowly
and deliberately, more and more muscle fibers relax and unwind, bringing you to a
deep level of relaxation where the muscles of your lower body feel loose, limp, heavy
and relaxed.
     Each time you exhale say the word _______ to yourself while focusing on your
breathing and what it feels like to be deeply relaxed. If any stray thoughts, worries or
concerns come to mind just let them go and allow them to float out of your mind as
you continue to focus on your breathing and the feeling of deep relaxation throughout
your body. Focus on those feelings of relaxation, and contrast them to the tension you
felt before so that you can diagnose and release even minute levels of tension as




                                                                                     19
   needed. Continue to take slow, deep, and regular breaths, and each time you exhale
   say that cue word to yourself.
       I’m now going to count backward from 4 to 1. 4- begin to move your legs and
   feet. 3- move your arms and hands. 2- roll your head and neck. 1- open your eyes.
   Your body is very relaxed as if you’ve just awoken from a refreshing nap. Your mind
   is calm and relaxed but alert and focused.

   •   Do this each evening when you go to bed.
   •   In a couple of weeks we’ll do Rapid Relaxation, although you’re welcome to try it
       on your own during a break in practice.
   •   Breath, relax muscles and say cue word after every exhalation if feel too tense for
       what need to do.

Energization
   • Energization is the opposite of relaxation and involves activation of the body for
      optimal performance.
   • It allows you to speed up your heart rate and respiration, stimulate greater blood
      flow to muscles and enhance brain activity so that you get more out of practice,
      where low energy can reduce concentration and motivation. It allows you to draw
      on your energy reserves late in the game when you are dragging.
   • We’re going to learn total energization and rapid energization.
   • Total energization you can use when you have more time.
   • Rapid energization you can use in the middle of practice or during a game when
      the ball is on the other end of the field or when there is a timeout.
   • Total energization helps when there are major life crises with family or friends,
      health or academic problems, recovery from practice or an injury, or improving
      your sleep.
   • Rapid energization helps you perform optimally within practice or a game.
   • First is psych-up breathing- take 3 quick, shallow breathes to get as much oxygen
      to the muscles as possible.
   • Add to that a cue word like “energize” after every 3rd breath.
   • Put that together with an imagery scenario.
   • Read scenario:




                                                                                       20
                                     Imagery Energization Script

      Listen to the sound of my voice as I guide you through the process of energizing
      yourself. Get into a comfortable position and close your eyes. Start with several deep
      breaths, breathing in deeply through your nose, feeling your diaphragm expand under
      your belly button, then expanding your chest completely, holding your breath briefly,
      and exhaling slowly through your mouth. Each breath brings in invigorating and
      rejuvenation oxygen and expels tension and stress. Imagine yourself walking forward
      and feeling more and more energized. Feel more strength, power, stamina and energy
      as you walk, very smoothly and very effortlessly, until you finally reach a point
      where you feel as energized as you want to be.

      Imagine yourself at the bottom of a long staircase in a large house. Reach out and
      grab the polished wood banister under your hand and begin slowly climbing the
      staircase, smoothly and effortlessly, With each step, you become more and more
      energized. Feel more strength, power, stamina and energy as you ascend, very
      smoothly and very effortlessly, until you reach a point where you feel as energized as
      you want to be.

      Open a door where you see a large-screen TV that is replaying many of your
      successful practice and competitive field hockey performances. Watch the TV as you
      play with high energy. Feel the strength and power and stamina and energy in your
      legs and back and stomach and shoulders and arms. Your muscles are tingling with
      strength and powers and stamina and energy. Your breathing is quick and powerful
      and invigorates and rejuvenates your muscles, even if they are tired, sore or injured.
      Each breath rejuvenates the reservoir of power and strength and energy within you.
      Your mind feels keen and sharp and ready to learn. You’re psyched, focused and
      confident. You’re not concerned about problems, roadblocks or obstacles because
      they’ll get worked out. Your mind and body are ready to perform at your best.

      Take 3 quick breaths breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth and
      then repeat the word “energized”. Repeat. This process allows you to pair the feelings
      of energization in your mind and body with the word “energized” so that you can use
      the word “energized” to trigger rapid energization when you need it at practice or
      during a game.

      Now go out of the door and walk slowly down the stairs. As you do that, you become
      more relaxed where you are still energized, focused and confident and ready to go out
      and accomplish any goal, solve any problem, and overcome any obstacle.
Adapted by C. Lottes From D. Burton and T. Raedeke, 2008, Sport Psychology for Coaches (Champaign, IL:
Human Kinetics).

  Each person pick and write in the blank their cue word:
  My cue word for relaxing: __________________ (relaxed, calm, peaceful, chill)

  My cue word for energizing: __________________ (energized, push, strong, powerful)


                                                                                                    21
Summary
  • Relaxation means decreasing unwanted muscular tension and calming the mind.
  • Total relaxation is a longer strategy that helps athletes relax completely, while
    rapid relaxation is an abbreviated technique that uses a cue word to relax quickly.
  • Total relaxation alleviates ongoing stress, promotes recovery from workouts and
    injuries, enhances sleep quality and develops rapid relaxation skills.
  • Rapid relaxation reduces tension, controls becoming too psyched up, breaks the
    stress spiral, conserves energy and increases enjoyment of field hockey. It can be
    done in 3-5 seconds.
  • Relaxation includes deep breathing, imagery relaxation, muscle relaxation and
    cue words.
  • Energization helps athletes control arousal, enhance concentration and elevate
    confidence, particularly when they are tired, encountering adversity or dealing
    with low energy levels.
  • Energization includes psych-up breathing, imagery energization, muscle
    activation and cue words.
  • The cued words is associated with feelings of high energy and, in rapid
    energization, can occur in 3-5 seconds.
  • Next time we’ll share about the action we took in the area of concern we had
    from our first session.




                                                                                     22
                                       Self-Talk
    This lesson will take two hours. It can be broken up into 2 different sessions.

Take: booklets, pencils, notebook, chalk or markers

Review:
   • Relaxation means decreasing unwanted muscular tension & calming the mind.
   • Total relaxation is a longer strategy that helps athletes relax completely. Rapid
      relaxation is an abbreviated technique that uses a cue word to relax quickly.
   • Relaxation includes deep breathing, imagery, relaxation, muscle relaxation and
      cue words.
   • Energization helps athletes control arousal, enhance concentration and elevate
      confidence, particularly when they are tired, encountering adversity or dealing
      with low energy levels.
   • Energization includes psych-up breathing, imagery energization, muscle
      activation and cue words.
   • The cued words is associated with feelings of high energy and, in rapid
      energization, can occur in 3-5 seconds.

Check-up from First Session:
  • Look in your notes from end of our first session where you listed an action you’d take
      in the next 3 days to deal with something you were concerned about. Did you do it?
      Volunteers to share. Continue with taking action with things you can control.

Today: Self-Talk
   • Self-talk is the steady stream of thoughts and internal dialogue that goes on in our
      heads almost constantly. Your thoughts have a major impact on your mood,
      emotions and performance.
   • Make a list of thoughts you had so far today:


   •   To make self-talk work for you, you want to increase positive thoughts and
       decrease negative thoughts as your thoughts will affect your sport performance
       and all other areas of your life.
   •   Positive self-talk leads to a flow mind-set in which you will excel athletically.
   •   Negative self-talk leads to a choking mind-set in which irrational thoughts can
       cause you to underachieve.
   •   When an event happens to you, you have beliefs about the situation- how you
       interpret what has happened. This interpretation of the situation determines
       your emotions and behavior to a much greater extent than does the situation itself.

   •   Let’s look at an example of this. You can rewrite this for your sport....




                                                                                       23
Self-Talk Model                    Self-Talk Examples
A = Activating Event              Our team must defend against a potentially game-
                                   winning penalty stroke in the state championship.
B = Beliefs (Thoughts)           - “I really will be a rotten goalie if I let this player
                                   make this stroke. I’ll never have such a great
                                   opportunity to be the hero again- don’t blow it!”

                                 + “ I’ve prepared well for this moment. Even though
                                   this is a pressure-packed moment I’m confident I
                                   can defend against this stroke.”

C = Emotional Consequences        - Stress/anxiety
                                  + Challenge/excitement

C = Athletic Consequences      - Disruptive behaviors such as feeling tense and
                                 flustered; poor concentration; slow to pick up the
                                 ball coming off the opponent’s stick; slow reaction
                                 to the ball.

                                  + Helpful, constructive behaviors such as being
                                    focused and confident; quick to pick up and react to
                                    the ball.

Self-Talk Model                      Self-Talk Examples
A = Activating Event


B = Beliefs (Thoughts)           -


                                 +


C = Emotional Consequences        -


                                  +


C = Athletic Consequences            -


                                  +

   • The basic principle of self-talk is that we can’t always control what happens to us,
     but we can control how we respond to uncontrollable events.


                                                                                            24
•   Our self-talk comes from either positive or negative thinking.
•   Positive thoughts help performance while negative thoughts hurt performance.
•   We’ll call positive thought patterns smart-talk.
•   Eight rules of smart-talk”
        1. Be an optimist, not a pessimist: self-talk is a choice. Focus on what you
            can control, not on what you can’t.
        2. Remain realistic and objective: make goals you can achieve.
        3. Focus on the present, not the past or future: it is the only thing you can
            control.
        4. Appraise problems as challenges rather than threats: this keeps you
            motivated and performing up to your capabilities.
        5. View successes as replicable and failures as surmountable: view success
            as due to ability and effort. Attribute failure to factors you can control
            such as effort level (I’ll work harder next practice), skill development (I
            can learn to read my opponent better) and mental preparation (next time
            I’ll improve my focus).
        6. Concentrate on process, not outcome: focus self-talk on process goals-
            hard work, mental preparation, skill and strategy development- that you
            can control and will lead to outcome goals. Ex. In the seconds before the
            penalty corner concentrate on “stopping the ball and follow-through on the
            shot” or “explode out, stick-to-stick” or “explode out, set, ball” or
            “explode back (from 50) and into position”.
        7. Concentrate on things you can control: Can’t control people and some
            events (opponent’s behavior, officials’ decisions, playing conditions). Can
            control our emotions and behavior.
        8. Separate your performance from your self-worth: Your worth has nothing
            to do with how you perform. It has everything to do with who you are as a
            unique creation who is loved regardless of your performance.
•   Negative Thought Patterns: watch for distorted thinking and irrational beliefs.
•   Distorted Thinking: catastrophizing (expecting the worst and exaggerating the
    consequences), overgeneralization (just because make a mistake think that always
    mess up), blaming (holding others responsible for negative events in my life),
    mustification (things must be my way) and polarized thinking (one way or
    another- I’m a success or a failure).
•   Irrational Beliefs: perfectionism (I have to never make mistakes), fear of failure
    (some failure is normal), social approval (everyone must like me), equity (life
    must be fair, I should play well and get the rewards I deserve if I work hard) and
    social comparison (putting too much importance on largely uncontrollable
    outcomes, such as winning and outperforming others rather than concentrating on
    controllable factors such as playing your best.)




                                                                                    25
•   Optimizing Self-Talk:
    1. Awareness of current self-talk patterns
          a. Imagery recall: Close eyes and think about a competition that you
               played very well. Now write down some specific thoughts you had
               during the competition that helped you succeed. Now think about a
               poor performance. Now write down your thoughts during that
               competition. Compare the two lists and identify positive and negative
               self-talk patterns that most affect your performance
          b. Negative Thought Counts: On your own- Put a number of paper clips,
               pennies or sunflower seeds in a pocket, Each time you catch yourself
               using a negative thought, move one item to a different pocket.
          c. Goal is for negative thoughts to decrease.
    2. Post practice and Competition Logs- see me if want to work on this area more
       and I’ll set this up for you. See next page for Positive Mental Attitude Self-
       Talk Log.




                                                                                   26
From D. Burton and T. Raedeke, 2008, Sport Psychology for Coaches (Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics).




                                                                                                     27
    3. Program Positive Thoughts: increases confidence, improves concentration and
        focus, enhances motivation, controls stress and so increases performance.
•   Positive affirmations: I’m a talented athlete with the skills to get the job done.
•   Team mottos or Motivational slogans: Footwork is the key to success. Suffocating
    defense. No less than all.
•   Cue words: relax, ball, one play at a time, I play well every time I take the field,
    smooth swing, stick with what’s working, hustle.
    4. Reframe Negative Thinking: Negative thoughts will still occur and can lead
        to negative emotions and sub par performance. To correct them follow the 3
        Ds of reframing:
            a. Detect negative, unproductive or irrational thinking: what was the
                thought that preceded feelings of stress or other negative emotions?
            b. Disrupt negative thoughts by either thought stopping or thought
                changing: Say “Stop” and think of a red stop sign, red flag or flashing
                red lights. Or, use a behavioral cue- snap finger or snap a rubber band
                when have a negative thought. Thought changing works like a TV
                remote control to simply change the channel from one with negative
                thoughts to another that is more positive and productive.
            c. Dispute negative thoughts by using effective counterarguments. They
                function like a good lawyer, putting faculty beliefs on trial, refuting
                them with logical arguments and identifying logical, realistic,
                productive thoughts to take their place. Ex. I want more playing time
                and I worry that my coach doesn’t like me. A counterargument will
                reduce my anxiety- “I can’t control what my coach thinks or how
                much she decides to play me. I need to concentrate on what I can
                control and play my best by focusing on footwork and positioning
                when I don’t have the ball.”

•   Do Worksheet for Reframing Thoughts.




                                                                                     28
Adapted, by permission, from K. Ravizza and T. Hanson, 1995, Heads up baseball: Playing the game one
pitch at a time (Indianapolis, IN: Masters Press), 3d, by permission of the McGraw-Hill Companies. From D.
Burton and T. Raedeke, 2008, Sport Psychology for Coaches (Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics).



                                                                                                       29
•   Develop a self-talk script:




                                  30
From D. Burton and T. Raedeke, 2008, Sport Psychology for Coaches (Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics).




                                                                                                     31
32
33
From D. Burton and T. Raedeke, 2008, Sport Psychology for Coaches (Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics).

      •   Read your script, or record it and play it, 4-5 times per day. Prime times to read or
          play scripts include first thing in the morning, last think at night, on the way to
          class, during study breaks, while waiting for appointments, and before and after
          practice.
      •   When a negative thought occurs, remember the three Ds of the reframing process:
          Detect, Disrupt and Dispute each negative thought and replace it with one that is
          more positive and productive. Refer to chart of Self-Talk Dos and Don’ts.
      •   Keep a list of negative situations they have difficulty reframing. Several times a
          week intensely imagine one and the corresponding negative emotions before
          using reframing skills to counter faulty thinking. Can build counterarguments for
          situations that are particularly problematic into their smart-talk scripts.

      Summary
      • Self-talk is the steady stream of thoughts and internal dialogue that goes on in our
        heads almost constantly. Your thoughts have a major impact on your mood,
        emotions and performance.
      • The ABCs of self-talk describe how thoughts affect emotions and behaviors. A=
        activating event; B= your belief or interpretation of the situation and it determines
        your emotions and behavior to a much greater extent than the situation itself does;
        C= is the consequence- how you feel and act afterward.
      • Successful self-talk requires recognizing and changing negative thoughts.
      • You can combat distorted and irrational thinking by using counterarguments to
        reframe your thoughts.
      • The best way to program positive self-talk is to develop a short, smart-talk script
        and read or play it 4-5 times daily.
      • To reframe a negative thought use the three Ds- detecting, disrupting and
        disputing negative thoughts.




                                                                                                     34
From D. Burton and T. Raedeke, 2008, Sport Psychology for Coaches (Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics).




                                                                                              35
                                 Energy Management

Take: booklets, pencils, notebook, chalk or markers

Today: Energy Management

Introduction
   • Energy management has to do with helping you control your arousal- the physical
      and mental energy that fuels your athletic performance.
   • This energy is on a continuum from deep sleep to intense excitement.
   • Arousal involves both how much the body is activated and how that activation
      is interpreted. It’s the body’s way of preparing for intense, vigorous activity.
   • You have more or less arousal at different times of the day and in different
      situations.
   • Put the following on the arousal continuum: sleep, practice, watching TV, playing
      in a state tournament game, sitting in this session.

                                                                         State
   Sleep      TV             Sitting in session       practice           Game



   Low                              Moderate                              High

   •   When you are physically aroused complex changes happen in your body. Have
       you ever heard of the fight or flight response? (heart rate increases, breathing
       increases, adrenaline and other hormones released, etc). All gets you ready for
       physical action.
   •   Did you ever get butterflies in your stomach? That’s because of decreased blood
       flow to the digestive system….. your body diverts the blood to where it’s needed
       and away from the stomach…. bladder empties making for plenty of trips to the
       bathroom….. blood flow to extremities slows down so your hands and feet get
       cold…..
   •   Two reasons understanding arousal is important:
   -   physical symptoms are normal and signal readiness to compete- nothing to worry
       about.
   -   Athletes with elevated arousal deal with it in various ways- pacing, talking
       incessantly, screaming… while some yawn, nap. Both approaches can be
       effective in controlling arousal.
   •   So, each person must find an energy management strategy that works for her to
       attain optimal arousal in practice and competition.
   •   How does arousal affect performance?




                                                                                     36
From D. Burton and T. Raedeke, 2008, Sport Psychology for Coaches (Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics).

      •   Arousal too low: you’ll lack sufficient physical and mental energy to perform to
          your best.
      •   Arousal too high: you’ll suffer from a variety of problems related to tension,
          attention, motor control and interpretation that prevent you from performing your
          best.
      •   You want moderate arousal.
      •   Athletes have different optimal energy zones.
      •   How do I figure out my optimal energy zone?
      -   Know your personality and athletic ability- introvert vs. extrovert; how much
          athletic ability; how long does it take me to get ready mentally; how do I respond
          to outside circumstances and people?
      -   Know what you need to do in your field hockey position- running full out doesn’t
          take much precision but tackling, passing, shooting do.
      -   Use the Arousal Monitoring Scale: assign yourself a score repeatedly during
          practice (and later during competition), and over time you’ll discover what
          optimal arousal (5) feels like for you in various situations and be able to play
          more consistently in zone 4-6.




                                                                                                     37
From D. Burton and T. Raedeke, 2008, Sport Psychology for Coaches (Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics).

      •   If you are not in your zone, you can do rapid relaxation to lower arousal or
          energization to increase arousal.
      -   Mental side of arousal: how you interpret physical changes (butterflies in
          stomach as a sign of excitement and anticipation of the competition to come..
          or….as a cause for worry and anxiety about how going to perform) has a huge
          effect on how you perform.
      -   If you interpret arousal positively, as challenge, readiness or excitement, you can
          experience top performance and flow.
      -   If you interpret it negatively, you are likely to perform poorly.
      -   If you start to experience self-doubt, loss of control or images of failure, use
          mental training tools to get self back in zone. First relax completely in order to
          lower arousal. Then use self-talk to reinterpret your arousal constructively and
          rebuild self-confidence. Then use energization skills to raise arousal back to your
          optimal energy zone.
      •   List 3 different skills you do in your sport position and then check if each requires
          low or high arousal:

  Skill                                                                 Low              High



      •   As you consider your personality, do you generally need to increase or decrease
          your arousal level to get into your optimal energy zone for competing?
          __________ Increase          ___________ Decrease (Check one)

      •   Think back to a competition where your performance seemed to go up or down
          depending on what you were thinking and feeling. If you could go back to that
          game. Write a bit about that.

      •   During practice, check yourself on the Arousal Monitoring Scale. Use relaxation
          or energization as needed.


                                                                                                     38
                                  Stress Management

Take: booklets, pencils, notebook, chalk or markers

Review:
   • Physical and mental energy that fuels your athletic performance is called you’re
      arousal level.
   • It is important how your mind interprets what is going on around you.
   • Athletes have different optimal energy zones.
   • If you are not in your zone, you can do rapid relaxation to lower arousal or
      energization to increase arousal.


Today: Stress Management
   • Athletes have to deal with stress if they’re going to reach their potential and
      achieve their competitive goals.
   • The problem with stress is that it can get in the way of playing well, it can destroy
      self-confidence, it can cause conflict and hurt teamwork.
   • Why do we feel stress?
   • Stress is an imbalance between what we perceive is being demanded of us-
      Competitive demand- and what we perceive our capabilities are for meeting
      those demands- personal control….. especially in situations in which success is
      important.
   • Think about time in sport when there was what you perceived as a “big game.” If
      you were confident that you were ready for it, you saw the big game as a
      challenge. But if you didn’t think you had the resources to play this opponent then
      you saw the big game as a threat and were stressed and then may not have played
      as well….. may not have coped as well with this situation. (Tell a story specific to
      your sport. Ex. assigning an athlete to defend against a top scorer.).
   • What you believe about the stress determines whether uncertain competitive
      situations are viewed positively as a challenge or negatively as a threat.
   • Remember our self-talk session? When an event happens to you, you have beliefs
      about the situation- how you interpret what has happened. This interpretation of
      the situation determines your emotions and behavior to a much greater extent than
      does the situation itself.
   • Example: The official misses a call that is obvious to you. Depending what you
      say to yourself right then will determine how quickly you become an effective
      player in the game for the team. “She should have called that….. we could lose
      the game because of that…. she’s favoring the other team……” or “Play”…..
   • Self-talk is one of the mental tools we’ve been learning this week that we can use
      as a coping strategy to manage stress. The other tools are imagery and
      relaxation.




                                                                                        39
List two competitive sport situations that have caused you to            Write which is the
become stressed. These situations can be from any competition            least stressful
(summer, last season, etc.).                                             which is the most
                                                                         stressful
Not doing my running this summer so that when we had our first
competition my lungs felt like they were going to explode and my            Least
legs weighed a ton and I couldn’t last.




   •   Counterarguments deal directly with negative, unproductive or irrational thoughts.

     Take the least stressful situation from the last exercise and complete the following:
Negative Thought that contributed to          Counterarguments for the negative thought. If
my stress……..                                 you need to, see “Purposes & Thoughts for
                                              Smart-Talk Scripts” (Self-Talk session)
                                              I’ll concentrate on doing my best right now as I
I’ll never get in shape enough to play        can’t control what’s past.
well and I’ve let the team and coach
and everyone down and they’re                 I will get in shape by working hard.
probably mad at me.




   Coping Response:
      1. Inhale deeply while repeating a counterargument.
      2. Repeat the transition word so and pause briefly
      3. Repeat your physical relaxation cue word (see relaxation and energization
         session) as you exhale deliberately.
    Example: “I’ll concentrate on doing my best right now as I can’t control what’s past,
              so, relax.”

   Cue Words:
   • Can also be used to quiet mind of intruding thoughts. Ex. “ball”: right before field
      pass; shoot penalty stroke; stop shot on goal…. “focus”: can be used in many
      situations.



                                                                                           40
Summary
   • Whenever possible work to reduce or eliminate sources of stress that you can
     control: get enough sleep, healthy nutrition, hydrate sufficiently and manage your
     time effectively (set goals, prioritize what to do first, eliminate time wasters).
   • If the stressor can’t be changed or you lack the capability to meet competitive
     demands, modify how you view the situation in order to manage your emotions.
   • What you believe about the stress determines whether uncertain competitive
     situations are viewed positively as a challenge or negatively as a threat.
   • View stress as a surmountable challenge.
   • Self-talk (counterarguments), imagery and relaxation (deep breathing and cue
     words) can be used to manage stress.
   • Focus on what you can control: your thoughts and your actions.


During the season we will be continuing to work out mentally as part of
our practices and games………….




Much of the material in this packet is taken from: Sport Psychology for Coaches
(2008) by Drs. Damon Burton and Thomas Raedeke, Human Kinetics, Champaign,
IL, and has been adapted by Dr. Christine Lottes for educational use.


                                                                                     41
                          Mental Training During the Season
Imagery:
    • Before practice or a game review process goals and have athletes image
       themselves accomplishing their goals for the practice or game.
    • After listening to your instructions or observing a demonstration, have athletes
       imagine themselves performing the skill before physically practicing it.
    • Immediately after athletes execute a skill effectively, have them create a vivid
       image of their performance while it is fresh in their memories.
    • When sitting on the bench (not competing), have athletes image competing and
       responding to various situations successfully.
    • After a practice session, have athletes use imagery to review key points.
    • Have athletes use imagery to correct a skill or a play.
    • If bringing a lot of life stress into practice, have athletes imagine a calm place
       (beach, mountain….) in order to relax and get mentally prepared for practice.
Relaxation:
    • Practice total relaxation with the team once a week after practice (facilitates cool-
       down and recovery from the workout).
    • After a few weeks, practice rapid relaxation with cue word during practice 2-3
       times a week: have athletes take one or two deep breaths and repeat their cue
       word silently each time they exhale.
Energization:
    • Do once or twice a week before practice for several weeks with the team.
    • Do during practice when energy levels are low. Have athletes breath rapidly and
       say their cue word after every 3 breaths.
Energy Management: Athletes use either relaxation or energization to get into their
optimal energy zone before practice or competition and during practice or competition.
Self-Talk:
    • Athletes keep a list of negative situations they have difficulty reframing. Several
       times a week they intensely imagine one and the corresponding negative emotions
       before using reframing skills to counter faulty thinking. For situations that are
       particularly problematic, athletes build counterarguments into their smart-talk scripts.
Stress Management:
    • With the team, make a list of demanding competitive situations and, several times
       a week, devote 10 minutes during practice to simulating one of them while
       athletes focus on what they can control-their thoughts and their actions.
    • On their own, athletes use imagery and relaxation (with breathing) scenarios with
       their cue word for relaxing.
Attentional Control:
    • As athletes practice and compete their minds need to attend to something relevant
       like a teammate calling, and not attend to irrelevant things like what an opponent
       says… or sometimes even the critical voice in their heads. Have athletes use self-
       talk skills and imagery to practice paying attention to the things that will help
       them perform their best.




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