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sports psychology for endurance training

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Joined: 03 Apr 2007
Posts: 10

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 7:41 am    Post subject: sports psychology for endurance training Reply with quote

Ultra endurance psychology - training the mind to take control

Endurance performance is mentally tough; the best athletes can push themselves to sustain physical fatigue and remain psychologically positive over long distances and durations.

Emotional control is a skill needed to cope with the stress of competition but the good news is that you can work to improve it. Focusing on emotional control can and will lead to improved performance. And while it can’t transform the proverbial carthorse into a racehorse, it can make both go quicker.

Developing emotional control

example of three athletes:

* Athlete 1 is an emotional profile typified by feeling vigorous, lively and alert, and in control. This athlete has regulated negative and unpleasant emotions. It is a profile often associated with supreme self-confidence and the perception that all challenges can be attained.

* Athlete 2 shows a different emotional profile associated with success. In contrast to athlete 1, athlete 2 has a profile depicted by feeling vigorous, tense and angry. Athlete 2 will use feelings of tension and anger to aid motivation. For athlete 2, feeling tense can be like a warning signal – ‘I am about to try to achieve an important goal, and unless I work really hard, I will not achieve my goal’.

* Athlete 3 is a different story. This athlete feels anxious, angry, downhearted and depressed. These emotions are likely to interfere with performance. Feeling tense might make you want to try harder but when it is combined with feeling depressed, it can make you feel like giving up. Our research has found that feeling downhearted and depressed is possibly the most damaging emotion to experience before and during competition. When athletes feel depressed, angry and fatigued at the same time they tend to turn anger inwards to self-blame and implode; poor performance is likely.
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Joined: 21 Jun 2007
Posts: 28
Location: Warwickshire
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2007 2:14 pm    Post subject: Ok, but what about it? Reply with quote

I kind of saw what you were saying, and I'm a sport psychologist, but to ask the question a lot of athletes and coaches would, "so what?".

How would an athlete go about controlling their emotions?

For me, your emotions are intimately tied up with your motivations. Know what you want and what your sources of frustration and satisfaction are, and you can know how you will respond to different situations.

As both a sport psychologist and a former swimmer, I'd give some simple advice. Train with a purpose and know your goals, then use competition as a challenge, an to push yourself for fun. That way, you should find training satisfying and avoid boredom, and avoid anxiety and anger in compeition...

I'd recommend Reversal Theory (can't post the link yet but do a google search) as a framework for working with motivations and emotions.
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