Sports psychology has a different meaning and includes different things to different individuals. From my perspective and understanding of sports psychology, it involves the study of how psychological factors influence performance in sports and also how participation in sports activities affects both psychological and physical factors. However before taking the sports psychology class, I had a different perception and understanding of sports psychology. To me, it all revolved around using my psychological power to be better in sports, for example thinking positively and avoiding stress among other examples. Over the course this semester, I have learned quite a lot on sports psychology. Some of the concepts that I learned from this course is the cognitive and behavioral skills for performance enhancement, counselling and clinical interventions and consultation and training among other factors that can affect my psychological status which in return would influence my performance in sports. These among other concepts have assisted in ensuring that my performance in sports has improved.
The process of reading the various assigned topics in Mind Gym reading was a systematic one that allowed me to practice what I read. My procedure was reading first or watching videos posted to Blackboard and ensure that I extract something important from the exercise. I would record this extract and later on try to apply it to improve in my sports activities. Mostly, I used these readings and videos to strengthen my mind in relation to my sport. On the online discussion forum, I used to discuss my perspective of various topics based on how well I know how. Additionally, I would discuss a thought I wasn’t sure about so that people would come up with different views about my idea and this would improve me and my game. These activities gave me a different perspective of sports psychology all together. Three of the chapters in Mind Gym that I enjoyed the most were, “The Heated Edge” (Chapter 3), “Mental Toughness” (Chapter 4) and “Ideal Number” (Chapter 5). Chapter three helped me understand that mental training is key to performance, chapter four gave me the strategies to avoid surrounding distractions and focus on one goal, and chapter five helped me define my optimal level of performance that is dependent on various factors. These exercises will help in future by developing mental toughness and always focusing on exercising the mind not only the body.
Goals are part of everyday activities especially in sports, business and even life in general. Setting goals provides a sense of direction and a clear focus which gives us an understanding of where we are going and how we are going to achieve it. Setting SMART goals which were (Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) helped me get to know what to achieve and also gave me a clear path that I could use in the journey to achieving my goals in sports. Keeping a journal of my progress helped in recording my activities and achievements in sports which I used to later on reflect on to understand what more I can do to better my performance in sports. This journal gave me a direction of what I wanted to do next and strategies that I would apply to improve in sports activities. Through the journal, I was able to improve and better myself. What I enjoyed most in keeping a journal of my progress is that I used to do what I love. With the journal, I knew what to do next to get better and also I was able to prepare myself psychologically for the upcoming sports activities. From this, I was able exercise more often, was also able to strengthen and control my psychology when it came to sports and was also able to improve in sports such as football. However, it was also a challenge to keep on recording progress and ensure to follow a plan. Finally, this exercise will assist in future as I know what I want from sports and I know the areas to improve on.
One of the film I enjoy watching often is Rocky which is a reflection of a life of a boxer who went through it all to become victorious in boxing sports. The movie reflects a boxer who was confronted with various life issues, stronger opponents and even his aging body couldn’t allow him to become the best of what he wanted. Considered as the underdog in the game, Rocky drew strength from all the struggles he had gone through and eventually overcame the odds and succeeded. The psychological concepts in this movie is that it is all found in the mind. Through our psychology, we can set goals and work harder towards achieving them; it is our minds that makes us hit the gym more and gain concentration in what we are doing. What I learned from this film and that we have to use our brain to better our performance. It’s all in the mind and when we concentrate and decide on doing what we want, then we achieve it. This concept will help me in the future as it will give me the strength to push myself beyond the set limits.
Researching on sports on psychology has always been a joy for me as it gives me more details on improving performance and also allows me to analyze views of others on different sports psychology topics. If I was to do a research on sports psychology, mostly I would reflect on performance improvement and thus my topic would be how sports psychology influence performance improvement. Additionally, if I have to search scholarly research articles, I would also look at those that relate performance improvement to sports psychology and more so look at those that have been developed by sports legends. Reflection on sports psychology research, searching for scholarly research articles on sports psychology, evaluating various theories and looking into various strategies that might improve performance gave me extra knowledge on what to do to become better in sports and also use my psychology to become better. From the project, all the results of various activities reported just one thing: “it’s all in our psychology”
Through various discussions, lessons, reading and sports activities that I have involved myself in throughout this semester, one lesson that I have learned about performance is that it is all based on mental ability and mental exercise. The lessons have taught me to be mentally tough to manage success in sports and also involve not only my body in physical exercises but also my brain. The content learned on sports psychology gave me an understanding that I have to bring a connection between my physical body and my mind so that my mind can control what my body does and not the opposite. As an athlete, I will train my mind to be more focused and ensure that the surrounding distractions do not take away my concentration during games. One of the suggestions that I have for this course is that we should not concentrate so much on reading and discussing sports psychology but rather spend more time implementing lessons learnt so that everyone can be better at it.