Summer Sport Psychology Skills
Summertime! My favorite time of the year, other than maybe soccer season! While it should be a time for relaxation, there are summer sign ups everywhere - summer reading, summer enrichment, summer leagues, summer camps, summer workouts... so many competing demands for our precious down time...
.... Having said that, summer is an ideal time to learn sport psychology skills in preparation for fall sports. I developed a Summer Sport Psychology Skills Menu for soccer players containing evidence-based ideas, activities, and links. Most of the content can be easily adapted for other sports. Athletes can use this menu of activities to develop a mental skill building environment on their own over the summer.
In this blog, I will share some sport psychology inspired tips to improve summer workouts. With some planning, athletes can train in purposeful and productive ways. Sport psychology skills are no different than our sports skills in that they need to be learned and practiced. My approach is an integration of mental and sport skills. Overtime, these skills become engrained, automated, and solidified.
Summer Training Tips for Athletes:
Deliberate Practice: practice with purpose and intention. Try to create realistic training opportunities. Use trial and error until the new skill or concept is learned. There is a misconception that increased practice time simply leads to improved performance. Time on task helps, but the quality of practice may be more important than the quantity.
Figure it Out: practice solving problems and completing sports challenges. Players should learn to make their own decisions without dependence on coaches or parents. Ask coaches to guide the learning process by providing feedback and asking questions.
Mental & Physical Toughness: do activities that require both mental and physical toughness, such as functional training (e.g. combine strength and conditioning with sports skills). The push-up test is a good example of a toughness training tool.
Intensity: practice for some of the time at a game-like intensity. Try to simulate pressure and gradually increase challenge (e.g. time and space constraints).The idea is to perform mentally and physically under more competitive conditions. Learn to monitor and adjust intensity levels, as well.
While the menu can be used independently by middle to high school level athletes, these tips may be better implemented with adult guidance. Please approach the menu as a fun way to improve and develop new skills over the summer, rather than one more thing on the 'to do" list. Contact me for guidance anytime. Hopefully, athletes will embrace the process of getting better and enjoy the summer. #buildgoodhabitsovertime