Tanker rundt mental trening og motivasjon

 

Når du skal trene mentalt, er det du som må ville det (indre motivasjon). Det nytter ikke å få et program som sier at dette skal du gjøre. Du må virkelig ønske det selv og ha forståelsen av hva det kan bety for deg i konkurranser og i livet generelt.

Husk at mental trening er et maraton, og ingen sprint. Man kan derfor ikke forvente å bli ”mentalt sterk” over natten. Eksempel: Om man ønsker å bli beder på å takle stress i prestasjonssammenheng, så må man trene på dette. Det hjelper ikke å starte å jobbe med det når man er i prestasjonssammenheng.

 

Bruk minst fem minutter på mentaltrening hver dag. Det er flere muligheter:

 

1.     Visualisering: Se for deg gjennomføre den perfekte konkurransen eller prestasjonen.

 

2.     Avspenning i stressende situasjoner. Benytt kroppsskanning og pust.

 

3.     Gå gjennom målsettinger: Hva er målet for dagens trening, og reflekter etter treningen ”3 ting som man fikk til- 1 ting som må øves på til neste trening”.

 

4.     Selvsnakk: Snakk deg selv opp men å byte ut de negative tankene med mere konstruktive tanker (hva er dine styrker).

 

5.     Det handler om å være bevisst på hva slags motivasjon (indre/ytre), ambisjoner og målsettinger man har. Det handler om små steg og justeringer. Bevissthet rundt seg selv og egen utvikling er et stikkord.

 

 

 

 

6 mentale tips til et bedre foredrag/fremføring

 

Har du noen gang kjent på en ubehagelig følelse når du står foran et publikum? Kjenne på pulsen som stiger, svetten som renner og tankene som eksploderer inni holdet:

Hva tenker de om meg, hva om jeg sier noe feil, tenk om jeg «driter meg ut».

Dette er et typisk senario som mange mennesker kjenner på i en prestasjonssituasjon. Det kan oppleves som krevende, men heldigvis finnes det mentale metoder for å gjøre opplevelsen litt mindre ubehagelig.

 

1. Trening gjør mester

Øv både på å snakke høyt og inni deg. Skap et realistisk scenario hvor du enten står oppreist og holder foredraget for noen eller lat som om det er mennesker i rommet – målet er så mye som mulig å bli uavhengig av manuset.

 

2. Ting tar tid

Bruk god tid og husk å puste, det høres uproft ut om du rusher igjennom temaet. Hent deg inn med å ta en kaffeslurk. Kunstpauser hvor du henter deg litt kan være lurt. De virker ofte bare helt naturlig for tilhørerne.

 

3. Trygghetstrategi

Finn deg 1-3 personer som du kan fester blikket på (gjerne en person du ser er engasjert i temaet, jeg velger alltid å «snakke direkte» til disse).

 

4. Visualisering

Se for deg scenarioet i hodet (visualisering) se for deg at du holder foredraget og at utfallet er positivt - når du da står foran publikum vil du kjenne deg litt tryggere ettersom du kjenner deg igjen og vet hva du ønsker å formidle (trygghetsstrategi)

 

5. Normaliser situasjonen

Det er du som er eksperten og publikum er interessert i å høre det du presenterer - ingen vet jo hva du skal si så derfor vil heller ingen vite om du skulle si noe feil eller noe som ikke sto i manuset.

 

6. Refleksjon og prosess

Skriv ned de negative tankene - en typisk tanke: jeg kommer til å «drite meg ut», hva kommer de til å tro om meg (dette er noe vi ikke kan forutse/kontrollere), MEN du kan kontrollere tankene og handlingene dine: Hva er arbeidsoppgaven din, husk å puste og husk at publikum er nysgjerrig på informasjonen du kommer med.

 

 

 

Prevention of sports injuries

from a psychological perspective

The demanding nature of various sports can potentially involve a high risk of injury (Maddison & Prapavessis, 2005; Noh, Morris & Andersen, 2007; Edvardsson, Ivarsson & Johnson, 2012). Consequently, the probability of injury provides an area for examination of preventive methods and psychological interventions to reduce risk factors (Williams & Andersen, 1998; Rogers & Landers, 2005; Johnson Ekengren & Andersen, 2005; Edvardsson et al, 2012).  Several researchers have argued that the use of psychological methods and interventions in combination with sport-injury during the rehabilitation phase, will help the athlete to recover and overcome the fear of injury and re-injury (Brewer, Jeffers, Petitpas, & Van Raalte, 1994; Cupal, 1998; Gordon, Potter, & Ford, 1998; Evans, Hardy, & Fleming, 2000). In contrast, recent research has suggested that psychological interventions could help prevent injury before the injury actually occurs (Williams & Andersen, 1988, 1998; Perna Antoni, Baum, Gordon & Schneiderman, 2003; Rogers & Landers, 2005; Johnson Ekengren & Andersen, 2005; Noh et al., 2007; Edvardsson et al, 2012). Williams and Andersen’s theoretical “stress- injury model” (1998) has been an influential model of sport injury prevention, in modern research. Williams and Andersen’s model suggested that when an athlete experiences stressful events, such as challenging training or an important competition, their history of stressors (daily hassle, past injury history or life event stress), personality characteristics (achievement motivation, hardiness, locus of control), and coping recourses (social support, stress management) contribute interactively or separately from the stress response (Williams & Andersen, 1998; Rogers & Landers, 2005). It has been argued that individuals who experience greater levels of stress are more vulnerable for the risk of having a sport–injury (Williams & Andersen, 1988, 1998; Maddison & Prapavessis, 2005).

The model suggests that an individual with a history of several stressors, and personality traits, could intensify the stress response. An individual with limited coping mechanisms will, when placed in a stressful situation, experience it as more stressful. They will additionally activate greater physiological response and disruption attention, compared to an individual with a contrary psychological profile (Williams & Andersen, 1988, 1998; Maddison & Prapavessis, 2005; Edvardsson et al, 2012). The athletes’ perception of the possible stressful event might be argued as the arbitrating link that might determine the magnitude of the stress response that could occur, and therefore is an important factor in the prediction of injury. This could relate to cognitive and behavioural features such as physiological reactions including increased muscle strain. Additionally, attention responses like narrowing of the visual field and increased distractibility (Bar-Eli, Dreshman, Blumenstain & Weinstein, 2002; Tenenbaum, et al., 2002; Johnson, 2007).

The Williams and Andersen’s injury-model suggests two-separate approaches to stop injury caused by high stress. First approach aims to change the cognitive appraisal of potentially stressful events, and the second intends to decrease the physical attention feature of the stress response (Williams & Andersen, 1988, 1998).

Over the past years several psychological interventions have been developed based to prevent injury (Williams & Andersen, 1988, 1998; Maddison & Prapavessis, 2005; Edvardsson et al, 2012). Some of these are; the cognitive behavioural stress management intervention (CBSM) (Maddison & Prapavessis, 2005), cognitive and physical biofeedback-training program (Tenenbaum, et al., 2002; Johnson, 2007) and attention control intervention (Johnson et al, 2005). However, there are some arguments whether these interventions actually provide sufficient guidance and information that helps to prevent sport injuries, or not.

Interventions such as stress management programs based on cognitive behavioural practice have demonstrated a positive progression in reducing risk of injury (Johnson et al, 2005; Noh et al., 2007; Perna et al, 2003). The research study by Perna et al. (2003), found that individuals in the experimental group, participating in an intervention program (cognitive restructuring, imagery and relaxation), reported significantly fewer cases of illness and injury in contrast to the control group. Furthermore similar results were also discovered in rugby players (Maddison and Prapavessis, 2005), football (Johnson et al, 2005), and dancers (Noh et al 2007). Additionally a shared relation among the mentioned interventions is the concentration of increasing the participants coping mechanisms and recourses. Due to this Junge (2000) suggested that preventative interventions should focus on emotional states (well-being and competitive anxiety) and coping (social support and coping skills).

The cognitive behavioural stress management intervention (CBSM) is based on a short-term method focusing on how individual´s thoughts influence their feelings and behaviour (Maddison and Prapavessis, 2005). The intervention attempts to change the athlete’s irrational thoughts while focusing directly on identifying and changing behaviour and thought patterns (Perna et al, 2003).  The intervention provides the athlete with information about techniques and coping mechanisms that are useful to change behaviour thought patterns to a positive focus, that helps to reduce stress and facilitate risk of injury (Johnson et al, 2005; Noh et al., 2007; Perna et al, 2003). In Maddison and Prapavessis (2005), rugby players went through a 4-week (CBSM) intervention program. The players who received the intervention reported an increase in coping strategies and decreased concern after the CBSM intervention. Additionally less time were lost due to injury or illness in contrast to the control group. Similar findings were also found by Perna et al. (2003). They investigated if the CBSM intervention had any effect on injury and illness in collegiate rowers. Comparative to participants in the control group, those who received the CSBM intervention had significantly fewer days lost to injury and illness during the competitive season. In support of these findings were also discovered in dancers (Noh et al, 2007) and football (Johnson et al, 2005; 2011). Though the results in the studies mentioned above were significant in less time lost to injury in contrast to the control group, there are some factors that need to be considered. The research by Maddison and Prapavessis (2005), focused on measuring the participants coping and competitive anxiety, but did not test personality and history of stressors that might be important factors to understand injury vulnerability (Maddison & Prapavessis, 2005). The fact that the CBSM intervention was based on a multicomponent approach makes it difficult to identify a person´s influence of the treatment components of the intervention, such as cognitive restructuring and/or relaxation practice (Maddison & Prapavessis, 2005). In contrast, the research by Noh et al. (2007) looked at two interventions. The first intervention taught the ballet dancers autogenic training (self-hypnoses technique), the second program taught the athletes broad-based coping skills (self-talk, imagery and autogenic training) and the control group. Noh et al. (2007), found that the broad-based coping skills showed less time lost to injury compared to the autogenic training and the control group. Therefore they suggested that training of several coping skills is more effective than just one.

Another psychological intervention is the cognitive behavioural biofeedback (Bar-Eli & Blumenstein, 2004a, 2004b; Edvardsson et al, 2012). Biofeedback is a method that enables the individual to manage physical responses such as heart rate variability and skin temperature (Tenenbaum et al, 2002) Direct bodily response can encourage individuals to implement relaxation program while enhancing a feeling of control over their behaviour, which modifies the physical attention aspects of the stress response (Johnson, 2007; Tenenbaum, et al., 2002). Therefore it is argued that biofeedback practice is a method of learning how to control the stressors that will help to reduce the individual’s stress response (Bar-Eli & Blumenstein, 2004a, 2004b; Edvardsson et al, 2012). The research by Edvardsson et al. (2012), looked at a nine-week intervention where football players in the experimental group participated in seven meetings incorporating: thought stopping, goal setting, somatic relaxation, emotion/problem focused coping and biofeedback practice. Although the experimental group went through the intervention the result demonstrated no significant difference between the experimental and control group. The researchers argued that due to the small sample of participants, the statistical power to detect effect was low. Though there has been limited research using biofeedback practice as a factor of the injury prevention program (De Witt, 1980; Maddison & Prapavessis, 2007). It is therefore unclear whether biofeedback training has a preventive effect on sport injuries or not (Edvardsson et al, 2012).

Further investigation by Johnson, Ekengren and Andersen (2005), investigated the efficiency of a cognitive-behavioral based intervention program to decrease the threat of injury for football players with a high injury risk profile. In total thirty-two at injury-risk football players were randomly picked in the experimental group or the control group. The experimental program involved training of 6 mental skills, allocated over 6 to 8 sessions during a 19-week period of the competitive season. The different mental sills included; cognitive and somatic relaxation, stress management (learning how to cope with stressors), self-confidence and attribution training, recognition and discussions about critical events related to sport participation and different situations in everyday life, and the last one was a diary where sport and everyday situations that were particularly good or bad should be noted. The results indicated significant less time lost to injury in the experimental group in contrast to the control group. Researches including Jones (1995) and Kerr and Goss (1996) argued that early introduction of stress management and somatic relaxation in the intervention program, may help the participants to control stressors better and thus reduce the injury risk (Jones, 1995).

In general most of the interventions mentioned above showed significant less time lost to injury after training of the intervention program, compared to the control group. However, there are some limitations that need to be considered. The history of stressors demonstrates how an athlete may perceive returning to sport could become a negative experience when not fully recovered, and therefore a higher risk of re-injury. Secondly, if an individual is physical but not psychological ready to returning to their sport, the probability of re-injury might increase as a consequence of negative cognitive appraisals, stress and anxiety (Williams, 2001). It is paramount for an individual to understand its own coping mechanisms in different situations, as either avoidance-focused coping (negative), or problem-focused coping (positive) (Williams, 2001). These coping mechanisms are valuable in the understanding of how the individual perceive different situation, in order to prevent injury. Furthermore, there has been limited research investigating the psychological duration effect after intervention is terminated. Reese, Pittsinger and Yang (2012) suggested that duration and practice of the different psychosocial prevention skills after being though an intervention program are important to gain a stable response to the stressors.

In summary, in the years after Williams and Andersen’s (1998) injury model was published, several psychosocial interventions have been created that aim to prevent the risks of sport injuries. By changing the cognitive appraisal of possible stressful situations, and to modify the physical attention feature of the stress response the risk of injury or re-injury will be reduced. Both the (CBSM) intervention program and the cognitive-behavioral based intervention program prove significant less time lost to injury, in contrast to the control groups. However, there was no demonstrated effect found in the cognitive behavioural biofeedback program, arguably because of limited research. From a psychosocial perspective the critical review of the interventions published to-date shows that there are some aspects of the interventions are not fully understood.  To gain more knowledge of how to prevent injury occurrence, factors like history of stressors, the impact of cognitive biofeedback program and perception of coping skills would need more research.

 

 

 

Philosophy

 

Over the last couple of decades both research and applied practice in sport psychology has been in constant development and change (e.g. Poczwardowski, Sherman and Ravizza, 2004; Sanders, 2010; Neil, Hanton & Mellalieu, 2013). Through the development of applied practice ethics, education and philosophy has been some of the key features discussed in order to increase the awareness, quality and validity of the applied practice, when working with athletes/teams (Poczwardowski, Sherman, & Ravizza, 2004). During applied practice, the consultants are usually basing their work on several elements of past experiences of ethics and set values. Poczwardowski et al. (2004) however, highlighted that the consultant’s philosophy is one of the determining factors deciding the technical aspects and approach of the consulting process (e.g. assessment, conceptualisation of the issue and intervention). Through applied work there are several philosophical approaches created from theory to practice and visa versa. Some of these includes; social-educational, developmental, educational/developmental, cognitive-behavioral, and social psychological etc. (Halliwell, 1990; Ravizza, 2002; Gordon, 2008). This essay will focus on my cognitive-behavioral philosophy based on a holistic approach, and how I would work with clients relative to their optimal performance.

 

Poczwardowski et al. (2004) suggested five components of philosophy in practice which needs to be explicitly and coherently integrated into and effective approach, following; personal core beliefs and values, theoretical paradigm concerning behaviour change, models of practice and the consultant’s role, intervention goals, and intervention techniques and methods. As mentioned in the introduction there are several philosophical approaches used in consultancy work. Poczwardowski et al. (2004) also discussed the importance of creating a holistic picture of the athlete/team when starting to work with clients, which includes; the issue of the prime individual (e.g., athlete, coach, organization, administrator, family member), long- versus short-term benefits of the consultancy service, recognition of the importance of the consultant-client relationship. These factors are important in order to understand the fuller picture surrounding the client.

Some of the main philosophical approaches used in sport psychology practice are gestalt therapy (Giges, Petitpas & Vernacchia, 2004), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) (Poczwardowski et al., 2004; Sanders, 2010; Neil et al., 2013), and an educational approach model (Ravizza, 2002; Poczwardowski et al., 2004). In gestalt therapy, the process continuum of awareness observes the individual’s moment-to-moment awareness and flow of need and satisfaction. When disruptions are occurring (e.g. conflict of desires or troubling thoughts) these thoughts and feelings may interfere the flow until this interruption is released (Giges et al., 2004). According to Ravizza (2002) the educational approach model provides information, support and skill practice, during the experimental process, that helps the athlete increase their understanding of mental skill training over time (Poczwardowski et al, 2004). Through the perspective of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) focused on four integrating elements of the human experience, viewed as cognitive, physical, emotions and behaviour (Poczwardowski et al, 2004; Sanders, 2010; Neil et al., 2013). The CBT methodology aims to help the individual change her/his maladaptive behaviour by relieving current believes, perceptions and emotional disturbance (Sanders, 2010; Neil et al., 2013).

To gain a good and effective work relation to an athlete it is of significance to understand where the athlete comes from, what is their story is and what I can provide as a consultant to help the athlete overcome and cope with their issues. Building a collaborative and trusting relationship with the client is essential in order to help the client understand his/her current challenges (e.g. experiencing stress and pressure whilst in the sport arena) and how this influences the performance (Ivey, Ivey, & Simek-Morgan, 1993; Holm, Beckwith, Ehde & Tinius, 1996; Poczwardowski et al., 2004).

In such an early stage of my career I have not been able to practice my philosophy a lot. However, my aim of my consultancy is to use the foundation of the cognitive-behavioral approach. I believe that building a collaborative and trusting relationship with the client is essential to help the client understand her/his current challenges (e.g. experiencing stress and pressure whilst in the arena) and how their performance is influenced (Ivey et al., 1993; Holm et al., 1996; Poczwardowski et al., 2004). When assessing the client’s needs and educate mental skill based upon given information, the athlete can use this knowledge to develop greater self -awareness, attention control, which could lead to a greater level of self-confidence (Poczwardowski et al., 2004). Combined with concrete changes in problem behavior and development of control of his/her thought process, the individual could refocus or modify the thinking pattern in terms of the issue (Ivey et al, 1993; Holm et al, 1996; Poczwardowski et al., 2004). In the research study by Neil et al. (2011), they found that when the athlete perceives emotions as debilitative there is a general appraisal that causes negative emotions to performance and potentially causes stress and anxiety. However when the emotion is perceived as facilitative the initial stressors seem to decrease. Additionally, the athletes demonstrated a motivational dialogue that encompassed task focused elements (Neil et al, 2011; Neil et al, 2013). Nevertheless the adaptive cognitive process incorporates a rationalisation of the negative emotions experienced and restructuring of thoughts through encourage more effort and increase concentration to performance. The feeling of nerves and anxiety is not necessarily a negative thing (Finn, 2008; Neil et al, 2011; Neil et al, 2013). In the study by Neil et al. (2011), they found that when the athlete recognises and identifies that he/she is feeling anxious, the process through rationalisation can manipulates the feelings into believing the symptoms are positive for the athlete. The process rationalise the negative though pattern and therefore helps the athlete increase motivation, concentration and technical process to sport performance (Neil et al, 2011; Neil et al, 2013). Poczwardowski et al. (2004) emphasized how thoughts patterns are the core of an athlete’s performance, as automatic thoughts could be a source of (e.g. generalised or dichotomised thinking etc.). Through identification, controlling and modification of these thoughts could benefit athletic performance (Hardy, Gammage, & Hall, 2001; Johnson, Hrycaiko, Johnson, & Halas, 2004). The CBT approach is not a quick fix method, however if offers several effective coping mechanisms and interventions tools through education (e.g. learning important concepts of self-confidence) (Poczwardowski et al., 2004).

I believe that when working with athletes it is important to understand the whole athlete and not only focus on one aspect of the issue experienced by the athlete. This implies that I would need to investigate further into different aspects of the athlete in- and outside of the arena (e.g. sporting environment and parents etc.). This holistic approach is were recognized by Friesen and Orlick (2011), who purposed that sport is a multidimensional phenomenon where the method recognizes the “whole individual” composed of an athlete’s thoughts, emotions, physiology, and behavior, which opens up the idea to collaborate with other sport science practitioner if necessary (Henriksen, Stambulova, & Roessler, 2010a; 2010b).

 

The take home message of this essay is that every athlete is different and the consultant should therefore carefully consider and customize the approach based on his or her own philosophy to provide the best possible help for the client. I believe that building a collaborative and trusting relationship with the client is essential to help the client understand his/her current challenges (e.g. experiencing stress and pressure whilst in the sport arena) and how this influences the performance and how this can be solved in order for the client to reach full potential.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

The performance generation

 

We live in a world and a society where we are constantly measured, and compared with each other. The performance typically measures through systematic systems of grades or numbers suggesting where about on the scale you are placed, such as; how well you do on a test, presentation at work or a place on the podium in a sporting event.

 

When thoughts become true

For many people this type of performance comparison can be seen as destructive and demotivating, whilst for others it may be an opportunity to increase performance or feeling of mastery etc. The need for feedback on how well we did in something, and the comparisons with others have brought me to the question, when and what is it good enough? What is expected or do we put the expectancies on our self? Most importantly, how to cope with some of these issues?

 

Performance on your own terms

It is easy to be swept away of the performance wave, which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, in many circumstances the experienced expectations are not set by others but by you. In fact, it is often "yourself" that is the hardest critique against you, which often leads to disappointment when not "succeeding" at the task. However, several coping mechanisms could help to focus on the right aspects of the performance.

 

Goals of a champion

In sports as in many domains in life, goal settings are one the key feature used by the athlete in order to maintain or increase performance to achieve desired goal. Setting the goals could help to maintain motivation and to be consistent with training that gets results during competitions. The goals should therefore be realistic, specific, offer feedback and provide a sense of autonomy and accomplishments. There are two different approaches to setting the goals, ego and task orientation. Task orientation suggests a specific focus on improving a skill or task by achieving certain aspects of the skill. The individual are therefore more likely to experience mastery and intrinsic motivation as a result of task-oriented focus. Whilst ego focuses, mainly focuses on the outcome by comparing themselves with similar skilled individuals. Suggesting that the focus is solely externally directed towards the outcome and not the process itself. Goals changes as you develop and therefore require regular review and updates.

Learn more here

 

Talk yourself good enough

Another important aspect of the performance is the individuals believe that he or she is good enough. Negative self-talk such as (I can't do it, I'm not good enough) are typical statements leading to insecurity and withdraw from the task. Your thoughts affect our emotions, which leads to consequences for your actions. This suggests that if you think, "I'm not good enough", this will most likely affect your emotions in a negative fashion, which leads to withdraw. It is the thoughts that we choose to respond to which affect our feelings and actions, which could suggest that the though "I'm not good enough" is not necessarily true. However, if you replace these negative statements with positive or task oriented statements/ trigger words that could help to refocus when negative statements occur (e.g. focus, three deep breath, I've done this before and I know I can do it again etc.).

Learn more here

 

None of the mentioned coping mechanisms is a quick fix, it requires time, dedication and practice. It is therefore important to remember that it's a marathon not a sprint (take your time)!