Essential Training Topics
 
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Athlete Physical & Mental
Training Considerations


Mental Training
      Any skills training program is only effective when there is a commitment and belief on the part of the athletes. The following must be in place for any training program to be successful -
  • The commitment to practicing
  • Applying the mental skills
  • The belief that these exercises can and will contribute to their development.
      Athletes who are resistant to the participating in a specific training process may eventually see that their peers improving and adopt the process or they may simply choose to use other alternative methods  for their training.

      A properly designed mental training prepares athletes for competition by mitigating or if possible, eliminating the anxiety involved performing in extremely stressful situations. One of he primary considerations is to help athletes concentrate on the moment. Trainers attempt to have athletes learn how to manage & contain anxiety so they can regain control.

      A prominent mental modeling system was developed by Dr. Terry Orlick (2000) based on his experiences and interactions with athletes. The model features seven key components of what he calls the Wheel of Excellence.

      There are two central components of the wheel that form the model's core - Commitment and Belief.

  • to excelling at anything, A basic premise is that each individual must dedicate themselves to the specific goals - work hard, especially in the face of adversity,
  • believe in themselves, their surroundings and their path.

      The spokes of the wheel that guide excellence contain five elements that contribute to an individual having the ability to achieve commitment and belief. These five elements include.

  • Full focus - the ability to connect with, attend to, and focus completely on the appropriate elements when necessary.
  • Positive images - the ability to experience or recall feelings, sensations, actions or skills that are essential for the desired performance.
  • Mental readiness - the ability to consistently create, adjust and carry the most
    effective mental state into a performance situation

  • Distraction control - the ability to maintain or regain the appropriate focus and state when faced with distracting elements, obstacles and/or feedback.
  • Constructive evaluation - the ability to effectively analyze performance and draw
    out valuable lessons that will facilitate future development.
      The Wheel of Excellence model provides an effective guide to evaluate essential elements of a mental
training program. With a solid framework in place, the next task then becomes deciding which elements to focus on during the implementation of the program's framework in place and deciding which
elements should be the primary targets for implementing the training program.

      This assessment process involves two key steps:

A. Assessing the needs of the athletes
B. Determining the psychological demands of the sport.

      Mental training helps to relieve some of the stress involved in a competitive environment. Besides the pressure of the competition, athletes also can encounter stress and pressure from managers, coaches, teammates. fans and parents. The rigorous schedules and expense on a family can create additional emotional stress that could affect their performance. The purpose of mental training is to alleviate some of the stress.

      Psychological trainers to help an individual improve their mental toughness to withstand the demands of the competition and help them focus on their priorities. Part of the process is uncovering any fears that might be standing in the way of success and find ways to address those fears. Through mental training, athletes can gain confidence, composure, and control of their lives.

     The elite athlete should spent as much time in mental preparation as they spend in physical training. The time spent to train your brain to succeed will avoid wasting energy and provide a much more satisfying sports experience.

      Visualization is a Type of Mental Training where athletes are urged to see themselves performing at their peak and delivering a winning performance. Visualization focuses on infusing the subconscious mind with a positive image of the reality envisioned by the athlete. The goal is for the conscious mind to follows through and makes it a reality.

What is a Physical Fitness Training Program?
       Physical training is only one facet of the training that successful athletes use preparing for competitions. They push their bodies to its limits and beyond what they think they are capable of achieving. They also trained to perform under high stress, extreme mental and emotional pressures to be prepared for training and competitive situations.

      Sports fitness training plans point the way to achieving peak performance. Well beyond fitness only, strategically designed, sport specific training programs use sound principles, test results, and coaching wisdom for developing athletes both mentally and physically.

      Setting goals establishes a path for athletes to follow so they can evaluate their progress in mastering sport skills. Goals are an effective motivational technique that stimulates athletes learning new skills and mastering their ability to perform at a high level in competition. Athletes tend to become more focused and committed to a training schedule when goals are clearly established and they know unquestionably when they have achieved them.

    There are six important steps in designing and carrying out plans to achieve dreams of converting championship performances into reality.

1. Set clear goals. List the long-term goals into annual or shorter term goals such as every 4 to 6 weeks. Write the goal in terms of outcomes that you will be able to measure to evaluate to what extent the athlete has ben able to accomplish.

2. Assess the baseline of the athletes skills to provide a reference point to measure progress. This is a necessary part of the process of establishing goals. Consider the physical demands of the specific sport. The Principle of Specificity is the science behind targeting the training to improve in your sport. A frank and honest assessment by the athlete of their own personal fitness and skills need to be compared  to see if there is a reality gap in the athlete's self perception and of parents and coaches. Revise the goals, if necessary, to set up a realistic plan for achieving agreed upon goals and a time table to achieve them.

3. Design your training plan. A training plan must be designed to build qualities that will best transfer to the physical, mental, and emotional demands of the sport. Start with the date of the most important competitions and work back to the present to establish a training calendar. Organize a long-term plan that includes training phases (e.g., conditioning, intensive work, in-season), and get specific with the types of training activities you'll perform in each phase. Refer to the Principle of Variation.

4. Start training. The plan should be precise as to the starting date of the first phase of your plan. Perform all your well coordinated training activities on a daily and weekly basis.

5. Evaluate your progress. After the first phase of training, check where you are on the goals for fitness and skill tests. These are mile markers of your progress. If the plan is working, the athlete should be on schedule - not ahead or behind.

6. Revise your plan. Based on your test results after each phase, evaluate progress and make informed decisions about how you will revise your fitness training plan to keep you on track toward your goals.

   Repeat, Step 4 through 6 and incorporate any necessary revisions.

References:
  • Fitness training: Elements of a well-rounded routine - Mayo Clinic  Whether you're a novice taking the first steps toward fitness or an exercise fanatic hoping to optimize your results, a well-rounded fitness training program is includes five elements -  Aerobic fitness; Strength training; Core exercises; Balance training; Flexibility and stretching.
  • PDF Physical Fitness Training Plan  The Florida Public Safety Institute physical fitness training plan will include something from each of the four basic fitness components described above.
  • Mental Training Strategies A mental training plan should be constructed using proven strategies that have ... Whether you are a developing athlete, elite competitive performer, or professional, there are mental training considerations.

  • PDF  Sport Psychology Mental Training Manual U.S. Olympic Committee Self-assessment, and a variety of exercises designed to help athletes and coaches increase their knowledge and ability to use that skill. Coaches' Guide - Mental Training Manual (Available October 2006). ... Part 2 - An “Olympic Lessons” section that details long-term physical and mental training planning considerations.
  • PDF  Preparing Athletes for Competition Physical Readiness + Mental Readiness = Competition Readiness. The Special ... Goals drive the action for the athlete in both training and competition.
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:
   
    
   
Physical and Mental Training Considerations
Learning & Training Evaluation Theory
Exercises to Develop Coordination
Training Approaches
Strategies of Mental Training
Daily Training Tasks
Principle Of Variation
Training Transfer
Off-Season Conditioning
Peak Performance Training
Endurance Training
Building Endurance
PDF  Weight-training Exercises
PDF  Strength Training Exercises
PDF  Power Skating Classes
PDF  Core Body Training
PDF  Endurance Training Plan
   
   

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