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Mental Training Considerations
Training requires attention to physical, mental, and emotional training of athletes
        Professional sports has deemed it better to ignore or cover up the emotional and behavioral issues surrounding elite athletes. These athletes are paid for their on the field performances; however, more team owners and adding clauses concerning behavior off the field that affects the image of the team.

       Some professional team owners take the view that if athletes cant live up to their potential, then it is better to train them while another owner is willing to enter into agreement. Once the athlete is involved in a rehab program for physical injuries, a drug addiction, an off the field "Bad Boy" their economic value plummets as potential buyers of their contract become unwilling to assume the increased risk.

       Any athlete with negative emotions is considered weak. There are a growing list of elite athletes who can't handle the pressure of not achieving their initial expectations. What is the cost to a team whose who has a disgruntled athlete with a chip on his shoulder? Does an advertising sponsor, fans, and the owner get a rebate from athletes if they are on the sidelines or otherwise devalued by ill advised behavior and poor decision making?

       Regular childhood participation in physical activities is fundamental for the development and maintenance of desirable levels of motor and metabolic fitness that is important in regulating growth and maturation processes. Involvement in sports should be important positive component of daily physical activity in children and adolescents. Participation in competitive sports is believed to be essential in character development by providing experiences for enhancing interactions with peers, coaches and other significant adults.

Mental Training should be part of every sports training program from beginners to elite athletes
       The problems of oversized egos feeling the rules don't apply to them is far to common for coaches to ignore.  These athletes accept their image as real and is based on an objective existence. This false ego is is the root cause of that supports the delusions that are not countenanced by a real world environment.

       When did these bad boys start to develop an inflated ego? Most likely this problem starts in the excessive praise provided by parents and continues by peers tolerating their poor manners and verbal abuse of non athletes. The adulation from the opposite sex becomes an important consideration in the teenage years.

       It doesn't take long to develop a "cocky" attitude when there is a constant steam of adulation, especially if there may be a sense of deserved arrogance by the athlete.

       The top psychological skill characteristics of the elite athlete are:
  • Confidence in their ability.
  • Able to make tactical adjustments.
  • Prepared to deal with distractions.
  • High in both task and ego goal orientation.
  • Positive attitude about competition.
  • Good perception of team unity.

       Research data indicates there different types of goal orientation that elite athletes demonstrate. The three main types are:

  • Goal oriented,
  • Task oriented,
  • Ego oriented.

        An athlete who focus on both task and ego orientation have shown the highest level of psychological skills of visualization, goal setting and positive self-talk.

        Elite athletes are also skilled in self-regulation, which consists of four phases:

  1. Forethought phase – goal setting, strategy choice, self-efficacy.
  2. Performance phase – strategy use, self-monitoring, self- instruction, imagery, attention focusing.
  3. Self-reflective phase – self-evaluation, causal attribution, self-satisfaction.
  4. The self-reflective phase feeds back to the forethought phase. Forethought phase – goal setting, strategy choice, self-efficacy.
source - Staroversky Counseling Psychology of Elite Athletes

Mental Training is Essential
       Mental training is an essential part of preparing an athlete for the demanding schedule of practices and competition. The successful athlete is one who is highly motivated, focused, and self confident. This attitude increases the likelihood they will achieve a peak performance when it counts.

       Some athletes have difficulty learning the correct technical skills, focusing on training strategies, or developing mental toughness.

       Research shows coaching actions and the competitive climate they create have important influences on the personal development of youth. Data suggests if coaches want to develop life skills and character in youth, it is important to focus on player self-improvement more so than winning.

       There are tools that can strengthen coaches' instructional skills, thus accelerating an athletes' learning curves.

       Not all coaches have acquired the necessary training to use psychological skills in their physical sports training programs. Athletes can harness their mental skills that are primary forces that drive physical performance. They need to learn how to enhance their attentional focus, speed up their response time, and use imagery as a training tool.

No Pain - No Gain!
       Many coaches advocate their athletes play through the pain. They stress Mental toughness as the ability to think and feel strong and determined even in the face of setbacks, pain, failures and self-doubt. They maintain that athletes who deal with these challenges, especially physical pain, the more they can push themselves to train and compete at their high level.

       Sport psychology is the broad field that studies how an individual's mental and emotional state function in sports. Learning motor skills and mastering their control part of the psychology investigation how athletes can learn sport skills more quickly.

       Key principles from sport psychology can be used to accelerate skill learning as well as mental preparation for peak sport performance. Psychological tips and techniques are transferable from other sports to figure skating.
 
       As a parent, would you prefer for your child to perform their best in a sport than academic studies?  Do you stress academic success and preparing for entrance into a college degree program.  Will a scholarship be essential for your child to attend a prestigious university?  Is it possible to finance both the child's education and fund a training program in figure skating at an elite level?

       As a parent, does your child:
  • Get nervous testing?
  • Become nervous or anxious when he or she competes?
  • Do great in practice, but has performance anxiety when stressed?
  • Lose interest because of the pressure?
  • Seem to be stuck on a skills learning plateau?
  • Experience a periodic slumps when preparing to test or compete?
  • Suffer from anger episodes when he/she competes?
  • Recover quickly from a setback?
  • Frustrate, you, or your spouse and siblings as a result of their involvement in sports?
Recommended reading:

Sport and Exercise Psychology: Applied Mental Training Skills  June 13, 2007. Review of “Sport/Performance” Psychology.  Mental “Toughness” Definition/ Attributes.  Mental Training Skills Overview.

 Mental Training and Sports Performance
Mental training is being increasingly recognized as an integral component of an athlete's training. Relying solely on skills and dedication has become inadequate in the field of competitive sports.

Athlete's mental toughness as important as physical strength Nov. 24, 2008 .there are strategies that athletes can nurture in training and then during competition to put them in that elusive state of “flow,” where they surpass conscious thought and all of the elements of peak performance come together – concentration, physical expertise, focus, calm, discipline, unwavering confidence. They're in the coveted “zone. Self-consciousness has fallen away and they're transcending limitations. Sport psychology, to put it simply, focuses on the psychological factors associated with physical performance,”

The New Toughness Training for Sports: Mental Emotional By sports psychologist James E. Loehr has been training world class athletes, from Olympic gold medalist speedster Dan Jansen to tennis stars Monica Seles and Jim Courier His best selling book, Mental Toughness Training for Sports, is a classic. In The New Toughness Training for Sports, he offers a toughness program that allows you to play at the very top of your game - every time. You'll learn how to trigger you Ideal Performance State (IPS) on demand and gain the heightened physical, mental, and emotional mind-body toughness so vital to sports.

PDF Athlete's emotional health Sept. 24, 2007 ... emotional and behavioral issues surrounding elite athletes. ... What if we treated the mental and emotional part of sport just like the professionals ... What I am suggesting is that teams develop a continuing training program,

PDF PerformanceEdge Volume 4 No. 6. In this issue: Goals of sports play. Ego oriented vs. Task oriented athletes. Tips for coaches and parents.
The Inner Champion: A Mental Toughness Training Manual for Figure Skaters  by Choeleen Loundagin. The book's goal is to help skaters prepare psychologically for training and competition.  Choeleen Loundagin is a former competitive figure skater with a Master Degree in Sport Psychology.  The Inner Champion is clearly written, easy to understand, and organized in a fill-in-the-blank workbook fashion designed to help the skater work through and keep track of his or her goals and progress.

References:
  • Sports Coach :: Communicate with your athletes Your athletes must know that they can depend on you to be fair and positive. The success of any coach, at perhaps every level of competition, is determined by his or her ability to effectively communicate with athletes and in turn getting them to better communicate with each other. It's easy to focus primarily on the technical elements of sport — putting together good game plans and teaching good technique — but also easy to lose sight of the need to communicate effectively. Coaches may be knowledgeable and highly organized, but without good communication skills, these attributes may never be reflected in the performance of their athletes.
  • Sports psychology: self confidence in sport  self-talk will affirm to you that you possess the skills, abilities, For many athletes, an explanation of the concept of self confidence is hardly ... Through creating such mental representations, mastery of a particular task
  • <>PDF <>The effect of achievement goals on moral attitudes Dec. 1, 2010 .The purpose of the study is to assess the hypothesis that achievement goal orientations will predict sportpersonship attitudes among young athletes, namely that task orientation will predict socially positive attitudes and ego orientation will predict socially negative attitudes.
  • Mental Training For Athletes   Nov. 8, 2011 ... So whether we are just starting out or whether we are seasoned athletes, adding mental training to the game can be a great benefit to overall.
  • Navy SEAL Mental Training For SportsThey are good athletes. But they are the toughest people mentally you will ever find who overcome incredible physical pain during their training.
  • Mental Training For Athletic Success Aug. 11, 2011 ... Mental Training For Athletic Success. Physical training is only one facet of the training that successful athletes undergo.
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:

Developing Training Plans for Athletes
Evaluation of Training
Age Training Guidelines
Components of Training Plan
Stages of Acquiring New Skills
Strategies for Training
Strategies for Competing
Fitness Training & Sports
Advanced Training
List Daily Training Tasks
Construction of a Training Plan
Developing An Annual Training Plan
Principles of Global Training
Competitive Training
Starting to Seriously Train
Skating Environment
Peaking Performance
Benefits of Cross Training
Principle of Varying Training
Varying Training Improves Results
Approaches to Training
Approaches to Jump Training
Transferring Knowledge & Skills
Aerobic Activities
Anaerobic Activities
Exercises to Develop Coordination
Off-Ice Activities For Skaters
Fitness and Conditioning
Off-Season Conditioning Activities
Tips for Long Distance Traveling
Mental Barriers to Training & Competing
Mental Considerations for Athletic Training
Mental Training Considerations
Mental Strategies for Training
Endurance Training Activities
Flexibility Training Activities
Bodyweight Exercise Training
Weight Training Activities
Brian Grasso Articles
Evaluation Assessment

   

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