Forbes India – Using Sports Psychology to Succeed in Everyday Life

The principles of sports psychology not only help improve sports performance, but are also useful in real life. Image: Shutterstock


All achievements in life require motivation. For example, the will to perform a task requires motivation to trigger initiative. And, in sports, maintaining a balanced motivation is key to accomplishing tasks to create a successful outcome. The key word here is “balanced” motivation. High levels of motivation can become the cause of anxiety and stress, while low levels of motivation can make a person completely hopeless and inactive.

Athletes are nurtured by setting clear goals. A facade is usually created by social media that only shows athletes winning moments that are full of motivation and excitement. It fails to shine a light on their concerted effort and struggle to outmaneuver the formation to get where they are. He also fails to show the weak moments, with lack of motivation, waning confidence and insane pressure. As in a recent interview with Forbes India, Virat Kohli, said, “Everyone feels pressure and nervous, because your mind is playing tricks on you. If anyone can claim they’ve never been under pressure, that would be a lie.

Although most athletes possess natural talents, certain motivating factors drive them to success. From a psychological point of view, humans need competence, autonomy and connection. It develops from positive justification. To meet these needs, athletes work hard and achieve success. Moreover, other motivating factors that can motivate sports action are intrinsic and extrinsic in nature. This means that motivation comes from inside a person or from outside – the environment. Intrinsic factors include feelings of accomplishment and success, pleasure or joy; while extrinsic factors include ego gratification, earning a reward, or forcefully achieving a goal.

Athletes are motivated to develop and improve the superior skills intrinsic to winning. There can be many reasons when a drop in motivation occurs and anxiety sets in, such as when a young athlete faces an older, well-trained athlete, or when one is not totally confident of succeeding.. Here, questions of health and diet and practice are essential. Sports psychologists recommend that mental exercises are as important for success as physical fitness.

Therefore, practicing relaxation techniques, rhythmic breathing, visualization techniques diligently in the pre-performance routine is essential to becoming mentally strong and challenged at this time.

Athletes devote much of their time and energy to maximizing their physical condition and technical skills. Winners are also in control of their mental fitness, says Jeremy Sutton, a psychologist and researcher in the field of human capacity on mental and physical limits. Psychological variables are factors that make it possible to exceed the limits or to exceed them. Therefore, the psychological variables must be in phase with the physical variables. As sports psychologist Aidan Moran said, “Sports are played in the body and won in the mind.”

Gary Kristen, a former South African cricketer and coach of the Indian cricket team, in his recent interview with The Cricket Couch, spoke about the importance of mental toughness in winning a match. He said: “What you do is try to prepare players as well as you mentally can for competition, prepare them as well as you physically can for competition. A lot of things happen in the net, they hit a lot of balls, they put in a lot of physical training and tangible effort and the focus is on mental training, so we spent some time on that.

Some widely considered sports psychological factors that affect athlete performance are:

(1) mental stamina: Mentally strong athletes can persevere despite setbacks, difficulties and stressful situations. They remain unwavering in their self-confidence. The number of failures only galvanizes more spirit to rise despite the obstacles to performance – they always come back stronger. Virat Kohli, in his interview with Forbes India, also mentions his strong belief system while taking risks. “You have to take a leap of faith and take risks to succeed. If you don’t, you could still do well but you would be confined to a circle. Then you stop learning and growing,” Kohli said.

(2) Commitment: Athletes as successful athletes stay committed to their goals and programs. Any slowdown or emotional setback is not able to distract them from their goals.

(3) Goal setting and focus: Goal setting draws attention to actions and brings maximum results. This map is the potential for an athlete to effectively navigate to align with enhanced actions. Therefore, it also creates a feeling of satisfaction. Michael Sheard, Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Teesside and York St John’s University, explains in his book, Mental Toughness, “Goal setting is associated with increased well-being – it represents an individual’s efforts to achieve personal change, enhanced meaning, and purpose in life.A realistic goal allows for a positive strategy, because thinking about it should feel like it can be done. It maintains high levels of focus and motivation because actions are viewed as tiny, achievable components.

(4) Anxiety and motivation: Athletes feel anxious when faced with pressure from many sides – their opponents, coaches, team members, pressure to perform better, etc. Sports psychologists offer many mental exercises to ward off anxiety so you can be better prepared for every match. Visualizing yourself playing the game and planning every move in the mind before the game on the court is said to increase real-time performance. Additionally, positive self-talk is able to build belief and self-confidence. Also, meditation techniques such as slowing down, relaxation, and breathing at critical times can increase focus and improve performance when needed.

To conclude, the principles of sports psychology not only help improve sports performance but are also useful in real life. It may be necessary to think about these factors to pursue their goals and plans, because in real life too, we are always in competition and striving to achieve something. As academic philosopher David Papineau points out, Sporting prowess has a lot to teach us about how our minds work. In short, reaching the top requires a series of smaller goals and actions performed on a regular basis. Along with this, psychological tools such as the right mindset, motivation, self-confidence, and the “can do” mindset can shape the waves of athletic performance.

The author is a researcher at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, pursuing his research studies in the field of psychology and neuroscience.

The thoughts and opinions shared here are those of the author.

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