SPORT PSYCHOLOGY TIPS FOR SURVIVING PRE-SEASON from JV's blog

Sports season is about to start again!


For supporters and spectators, this is great news – for athletes, not always. Pushing your body back to its maximum fitness and performing at your best regularly again is painful, not just physically, but mentally as well.


However, this pain comes with the territory. The key is to know how to block it out and push past it – and this is where sport psychology comes in. A great way to get ready for the season is to work with a sport psychologist, but you can also try the following tips…

 

WHAT HAPPENS IN PRE-SEASON?



A lot of athletes don’t look forward to pre-season because it’s the rebuilding of fitness following the ‘‘off-season’’. After an extended break to mentally and physically recover, research has shown that athletes tend to experience a significant drop-off in fitness across multiple areas.


Without a well-structured pre-season, players won’t be prepared to play as they did before.

Therefore, pre-season involves the “building” of conditioning and skills, which involves progressively overloading the body to improve fitness. To do this, coaches usually increase training load 2 to 4 times during this period.


It’s vital to a successful season, but it also isn’t pretty. It’s tough and challenging, requiring athletes to push their bodies and mind as far as they’ll go, and coaches to find a precise balance between optimal preparation and avoiding overtraining and injuries.

OUR TOP TIPS TO GET THROUGH PRE-SEASON



Set small goals


We often advise our athletes to set both long-term and short-term goals.

When it comes to pre-season, because it can be so tough, it’s good to set yourself some shorter-term goals (i.e., what you need to do this week). This can help break down a seemingly impossible and distant goal into more tangible simple steps.


These small steps can help keep you on the right path and provide short term incentives and accomplishments that will eventually add up to carry you to the end of the upcoming season.

Have the right perspective


Remember to go in with the right expectations. You’re not going to be as fit or as strong as you were before the break. Don’t expect to be as good as you were straight away. Remind yourself that it takes time and that you have to work for it.


Being aware of what it’s going to look like and that it’s going to be tough will help prepare you for what’s to come. Take it day by day and focus on being in the moment, don’t get caught up worrying about what you need to do in the distant future, and you won’t risk getting deflated when everything isn’t perfect straight away.

Control your emotions


It’s tough when you aren’t performing the way you know you can. It can be upsetting and frustrating. However, letting these emotions get to you can be detrimental for not only your performance but also your motivation and mindset.


Emotional control is a crucial part of excellence in sport. Therefore, athletes must learn to control their emotions when they are finding it tough or not where they want to be yet. Some of our top tips include:

  • Listen to songs that get you in the right state of mind before practice
  • Take control of how you talk to yourself – make it helpful and rational, and say no to negative thoughts
  • Visualize things that reduce stress and anxiety
  • With support from others, face your fears head on
  • Relax your body by clenching and then releasing your muscles
  • Take deep breaths to lower your heart rate and help you relax

Work on your mental game


Use the time in pre-season to not only brush up on your physical skills but also your mental skills. This is a good time to work on mental tools you might use throughout competition season.


Practice your visualizationself-talk and controlling your emotions, find out what works for you and what doesn’t. Then, when it comes to the competition floor and the nerves are hitting, you’ll know what to do to calm yourself down and perform to your best.

Change your mindset to push through the pain


Athletes experience a lot of pain during pre-season. This cannot be avoided, but how you view this pain is important. You should aim to be able to recognize that pushing through it will help give you the physiological adaptation necessary to get back to where you were and improve your performance.


Visualization can also help motivate you to push through the pain. Visualize yourself finishing the challenge: what will this look like and how will you feel? You should try and picture the positive emotions you will experience and use this to push on.

FINAL THOUGHTS



It’s going to be tough but using these tips will help you complete pre-season and show up to your first event of the season a better athlete than ever, ready to perform to your full potential.

See it as an exciting challenge rather than a threat and before you know it, you’ll be back in full fitness playing at your best. Work hard; you don’t want to look back and wish you had put more effort in!


Written by: Innerdrive.co.uk

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The Wall

RunRodRun
Oct 5
Track Pre season was always tough...
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