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Mental Training for Athletes: 5 Pillars of Sport Psychology

Mental Training for Athletes and the 5 Pillars


Mental training for athletes goes beyond the mental skills, such as visualization, self talk, or goal setting. Those things are very important, and need to be developed, however, it is important to understand they don’t represent the whole picture of sport psychology and what an athlete needs to do in order to develop their mental game to the degree it needs to be in order to be a high performer. In order to unlock their full potential.


So if you are someone looking to develop your mental game, here are the 5 pillars that need to be looked at and developed.


5 Pillars of Sport Psychology

1. Self development. This is the practice of getting to know yourself. In other words self awareness. Knowing who you are, your tendencies. How you get in your own way, and the things you need to do to help you be at your best. This is different for each person. A sport psychologist can’t give someone these answers, they can help guide them, but ultimately the expert on each person is themselves. No two people are alike. The more you know yourself the better you will be at knowing what you need to develop and what you need to be at your best.


2. Mental skills. This is what most people associate with sport psychology. These are things like arousal control. goal setting, visualization, or self talk. As mentioned earlier they are important and you need to develop them, but you can’t just develop this one pillar and expect to have a strong mind, to be mentally tough or resilient. So get good at these but make sure you look beyond them.


3. Psychological framework. This is how you view yourself and the world. How do you perceive things? How does your view of the world and yourself impact you and your performance? The framework we have created impacts these things, and impacts our performance. Working to understand your framework and adjusting it if needed is important.


4. Mindfulness. This is a thread that runs through all pillars. To gain awareness and wisdom on yourself and the world around you. To find the ability to respond instead of react and to come from a place of non judgement and learning to be in the present moment. This impacts all the other pillars, and is evident in each of them.


5. Recovery. This is about sleep, eating, thinking well, moving well and laughter. Things that help you to recover in all aspects. This is the area that many leave out, or don’t pay attention to. Worrying that they are not doing enough or someone else is going to pass them while they are recovering. However, in order to get the most out of yourself, you have to recover. You have to find a way to reset and recharge. We are only as good as our ability to be focused and present. Everything that we know makes us great requires a lot of energy.


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Kate Allgood Masters Sport Psychology (with distinction) Masters General Psychology (with distinction) Sports Hypnosis Certification Muscle Activation Techniques Certification

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