Enhancing Performance - PST
There exists such a thing as Psychological
Skill Training (PST) that is used to enhance performance.
PST refers to systematic and consistent practice of mental skills.
PST is important because psychological factors are the primary
key in day-to-day fluctuations in performance (i.e., having a
good day or an off day). However, they are often overlooked because
of lack of knowledge about them, misunderstandings about how they
are learned, and a lack of time. Athletes and coaches find the
most useful PST topics to be:
* Imagery and
* Increased motivation and commitment
* Goal setting
* Attention and concentration
* Mental Plans
With respect to the effectiveness
of PST - Psychological Skills Training
enhances performance. PST intervention must be tailored to each
individual, be practiced over time and use different techniques
(i.e., combining imagery, self talk and goal setting). However,
not much research has been done on PST, and therefore more studies
must be done to reach more conclusive ideas of its effectiveness.
There are three phases to PST:
1) Educational Phase: This phase consists of
the psychological skills being learned and practiced. It takes
time to develop and refine these skills over time.
2) Acquisition Phase: This phase is used to focus
on strategies and techniques for learning the different psychological
skills. This aspect of the training program needs to be tailored
to meet the individuals needs.
3) Practice Phase: This phase consists of the
transferring of psychological skill from practice and simulated
situations to actual competitions. The focus should be on making
the psychological skills automatic.
PST should be conducted by a sport
psychologist or coach and should be introduced in the off season.
The mental training should last 10-15 minutes per day, 3-5 days
per week. This mental training should then continue through the
There are some steps to designing a PST program:
* Discuss your approach with the athlete
* Assess the athletes mental skills
* Determine which psychological skills to include in the training
* Design a PST schedule
* Evaluate the program
An effective sport psychology Consultant possesses
the following qualities:
* Are accessible and establish a rapport with the athletes
* Are flexible and knowledgeable enough to meet the needs of the
* Are likeable and have concrete and practical information to
* Conducted several follow-up sessions with athletes throughout
* Are trustworthy and fit in with the team
Some common problems that occur in implementing a PST
* Lack of time
* Lack of conviction
* Lack of sport knowledge
* Lack of follow-up
Aspects of PST