Athletes are always seeking out new ways to perfect their skill and outperform their opponents. They follow all the rules, train hard and yet they may still be searching for that elusive something they need to catapult them into success. The answer may lie in sports psychology - a discipline that studies the behaviors of athletes and helps them improve their performance.
The premise of sports psychology is that with appropriate psychological training, an athlete will enhance their performance just as they do with appropriate physical training. The more athletes practice psychological enhancement techniques, the better they become at them and the more easily they can call on these techniques for competition days.
Physiotherapy has always been a holistic practice in which the physiotherapist treats not just the injury or condition, but the whole person. Physiotherapists trained in sports psychology go a step further by helping athletes prepare themselves mentally as well as physically to compete. Physiotherapists, together with the athlete, will set specific goals and then they will determine the optimal mental arousal level where the athlete needs to be to achieve the set goals.
Many talented athletes become nervous and tense before a big game which can negatively affect performance. Physiotherapy can help the athlete learn how to relax either through warm up drills or progressive muscle relaxation. Warm up drills help establish a regular physical and psychological routine that becomes instinctive and can focus and relax the athlete in the lead up to an event. Progressive muscle relaxation teaches the athlete to contract and relax individual muscle groups in turn, which helps with overall relaxation prior to competition and also prepares the mind for the task of switching concentration from one area of the body to another which helps with sports performance.
Guided imagery is another effective technique for helping athletes perform at their optimum level. The athlete can do this before the game and during rest breaks. He is taught to picture a scene that calms his senses and puts him in a relaxed frame of mind. He can also visualise the game, planning every move, every sequence, every sudden change until it becomes perfectly clear in his mind and he feels as if he is already on his way to victory.
Of course, none of these techniques can take the place of physical training and overall fitness, but sports psychology can help you overcome mental obstacles, be more relaxed and mentally prepared for competition and also help you avoid injury by relaxing your muscles and sharpening your concentration. Whether you are a runner, soccer player, track and field athlete, golfer or anyone who is interested in achieving greater sporting results we can help you achieve success by using your improved mental skills through this cutting-edge discipline. Why not come in and see us today?
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