Sports Psychology
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Developing Performance Consistency in Athletes

Consistency and Intensity Traits of Success
     There are two traits that are crucial in the development of a successful athlete - consistency and intensity.  Many parents and coaches focus on talent and potential and ignore these traits.

     These two variables are inter-related and when there development is coordinated, have a large impact on an athletes success or failure. Consistency, is the foundation on which all successful athletes are built. It goes beyond just showing up to practice or off season strength and speed training. It requires establishing very precise goals established to take the athlete where they want to go!

     Athletes must develop the mental strength to "stay the course” when tired, sore or busy, both during the training season, as well in off season. Athletes that train consistently will make the most improvements.

     Consistency in training carries over to other aspects of the athletes life. A regimented training program helps their performance in practice sessions and in a competition situation. They develop self-confidence in knowing how they will respond in a variety of situations. An important lesson learned is that hard work leads to predictable successful outcomes. Intensity is a learned trait much like consistency. Intensity is the athletes ability to highly focus on the task at hand. Some athletes bring their own intensity to their sport. They thrive on competition and respond to having other athletes train at the same facility by raising their intensity.

Realistic Training Schedule
    There must be a realistic training schedule for elementary, middle, high school and college athletes. Only a valid excuse is required as an excuse from a practice. Every athlete must sign a comprehensive goal sheet listing long term, medium, and short term goals. Every work out session must be recorded in a personal notebook. By writing down workouts, an athlete can easily see what he needs to do to set personal records.  This log is reviewed by the coach(es) on a regular basis and a copy given to the parent(s).

    It is important to remember that it is physically impossible to achieve a high performance level and maintain that level for weeks or months.  An athlete's body needs a balance of stress and rest to improve. The trainer works to increase the peaking level after each cycle. This is one of the fundamental laws of nature and captures the essence of athletic training. Repetition and frequency are important to master any skill, but balance is more important. Without adequate rest, repetition and frequency will cause athletes to become injured and/or burn out.

   In order to avoid a state of over training, coaches and athletes should use the concept of "periodization" which is the use of cycles to break up the schedule of - daily, weekly, and monthly training. For example, a week of heavy intense training, then a maintenance week of lighter training. The lighter activity week allows muscles to recuperate and since they are receiving training, the muscles will not atrophy from disuse.

Over Training
    Athletes can push themselves way beyond the capacity and over train. Think of the body as a black box. If you stress the body's physical, mental, or emotional systems beyond its normal capacity it can attempt to over come the additional stress, but eventually it can overload and begin to shut down. Sometimes the result can be catastrophic.

    Some trainers suggest that an athlete is given a rest phase, the body can build a stronger system. Their training plan consists of overloading the body system followed by letting the system rest and rebuild, and then stressing it again to a higher level.

    Skaters, parents, and coaches should proceed with caution and not engage in a radical program until they have explored a modified training program that does not push the skater to extreme limits.

Recommended Reading:

References:

Mental Keys to Consistent Golf (golf)     by Patrick J. Cohn

How to measure consistency in sports | Upon Further Review  March 24, 2009 ... How to measure consistency in sports. I'm going to try to determine what process should be used in trying to objectively analyze what player

How To Reach Your Sports Zone | Articles Consistency: Sport psychologists have found that the best athletes prepare very carefully for every performance. They often have a set routine that they follow.

Using Your Mental Game to Improve Consistency  Using Your Mental Game to Improve Consistency Sports Psychology Teleclass! Do you look like a million bucks in practice and then not play to your potential?

Periodization Training - Cycle Your Strength Training Workouts Periodization training to cycle your strength training workouts. ... grow stronger and more powerful, or get better at your respective sport.

YPI - Periodization The next level down is the micro cycle, which in most sport training coincides with the week. A 3-1 macro cycle, which has four micro cycles (3+1).

Periodization: Basic and advanced techniques | Active.com  Periodization started out as a mysterious training idea from the other side of the Iron Curtain, but has become mainstream training philosophy.

Periodization Simplified « live the fit life  June 9, 2011 ... Periodization uses methods of adding variation that have been shown for many years to help decrease the risk of overtraining ...

Resources:

The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

 
  
Alcohol Abuse
Drug Abuse
Caffeine Use
Nicotine Use
Anxiety 
Response to Stressors
Learning to be Helpless
Depression and Elation
Eating Disorders
Learning Disorders
Stress and Anxiety
Athlete Motivation
Confidence
Consistency
Flow/Peak Performance
Focus & Concentration
Goals and Objectives
Goal Setting
Hypnosis
Leadership
Personal Sabotage
Self Fulfilling Prophecy
Momentum
Motivation
  
   
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The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.


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