You’ve Got Questions? We’ve Got Answers.
- WHAT IS MENTAL SKILLS TRAINING?
- AREN’T MENTAL SKILLS INNATE – YOU EITHER HAVE THEM OR YOU DON’T?
- IS MENTAL SKILLS TRAINING ONLY FOR ELITE ATHLETES?
- IS MENTAL SKILLS TRAINING ONLY FOR ATHLETES THAT HAVE PROBLEMS?
- DOES MENTAL SKILLS TRAINING WORK?
- HOW MUCH TIME WILL I NEED TO PRACTICE MENTAL SKILLS?
- WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
What is mental skills training?
Mental skills training, also called psychological skills training, refers to the systematic practice of various psychological training procedures designed to improve athletic performance. The methods used in mental skills training come from different areas of psychological research and practice. These methods include techniques such as visualization and imagery training, relaxation training, goal-setting and thought control techniques. These and other mental skills training techniques can be used to improve different aspects of an athlete’s mental preparation and performance, such as coping with anxiety during a competition, maintaining motivation during long training sessions or in the off-season, sharpening focus and concentration, improving self-confidence, or increasing mental toughness.
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Aren’t mental skills innate – you either have them or you don’t?
Like physical abilities, mental abilities are determined from a combination of what you are born with and what you do with these abilities. While some athletes may naturally have greater focus, self-confidence or persistence than others, all athletes can improve on their mental abilities with practice. Research has consistently demonstrated that mental skill are teachable and that improving one’s mental skills leads to improved athletic performance.
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Is mental skills training only for elite athletes?
Most people hear about sport psychologists working with professional or elite athletes. While it is true that mental skills training can improve the performance of these individuals, athletes of all ages and at all levels of skill can benefit from mental skills training. In fact, many of the mental skills taught by sport psychology consultants can be applied to other areas of one’s life outside of sport. For instance, young athletes who learn to cope with their anxiety before a competition can use these same techniques to decrease their nervousness before a math test. The “weekend warrior” who learns to use imagery to prepare for a race can use these same techniques to prepare for their next presentation at the job.
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Is mental skills training only for athletes that have problems?
No. There are two types of sport psychologists: Clinical sport psychologists work with athletes who have psychological problems, such as depression, substance-abuse, or eating disorders. Educational sport psychologists and consultants, on the other hand, work with athletes who do not have any psychological problems, but who wish to improve their athletic performance. At The Extra Gear, we work as educational consultants to help athletes without psychological problems enhance their athletic performance.
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Does mental skills training work?
There are two myths concerning the effectiveness of mental skills training: One myth is that it is magic, the other myth is that it is bunk. Neither of these is true. Improving your mental skills takes time and consistent practice, just like improving your physical skills does. Practicing mental skills for a short period of time won’t provide you with a “quick fix.” In addition, it’s important that a mental skills training plan be individually tailored to meet the needs of a specific athlete. A “one size fits all” approach may make a consultant a lot of money, but the results from these types of programs are, at best, less than optimal. The belief that mental skills training doesn’t work is also untrue. Over the past several decades there have been a great number of scientific studies investigating the effectiveness mental skills training on athletic performance. These studies have consistently shown that mental skills training is effective in improving an athlete’s psychological skills and that these improvements lead to increased athletic performance.
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How much time will I need to practice mental skills?
Depending on what skills you are learning, a mental skills training program may add as little as 5 to 10 minutes to your schedule a few times a week. Other skills are more time-intensive, and may require around 30 minutes several times a week. Since finding the time to incorporate new training is one of the main difficulties athletes have, we work hard to incorporate your mental training into your existing physical training time. For instance, many of our training techniques can be done while you are warming up or cooling down from a workout, so you don’t have to find additional time to fit more training into your schedule.
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Where can I get more information?
Contact Us anytime if you have questions or want more information. In addition, there are two good web sites that provide useful information about sport psychology. One is the Association For Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). AASP is an international, multidisciplinary organization for professionals who practice sport, exercise, and health psychology. This web site has a lot of useful information for athletes wanting to know more about what sport psychology consulting is. Additionally, the American Psychological Association (APA) has several specialty “Divisions.” APA’S Division 47 is the Exercise and Sport Psychology Division, and this web site provides information about what it takes to be a sport psychologist. Finally, you can also find other information in the "Links" section of the Training Tips page.
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How do we Protect your Customer Information? – The Extra Gear makes every effort to protect against the loss, misuse and alteration of your personal information. We have a strict internal security policy that limits access to production systems and personal information only to authorized personnel. We protect access to your personal information though a username and password, and we protect your communication with our site using industry standard SSL for encryption and server authentication.
What Customer Information is Collected? – To serve our customers purchasing our training plans we will need to collect and store some of your personal information, such as your name, address, email address, and phone number. This information is stored in The Extra Gear secure commerce system. All of your banking details are directly transmitted to the banks secure server by secure channels.
How is Your Customer Information Used? – We only use your personal information to provide you with the services you choose at The Extra Gear. Your personal information will not be disclosed to anyone else. We collect site usage statistics such as domain names, web browser types, and page requests. These data are not personally identifiable and are used to more efficiently operate our services and prepare for network load demands and to promote our services. We may use aggregated demographic data that you provide us (e.g., gender, age) to assess our marketing needs, but no identifying information will be released to any third party in these cases.
Will Your Customer Information be Shared? – The Extra Gear will not provide your personal information to advertisers, advertising servers, or advertising agencies. The Extra Gear will not disclose your personal information to any other company except:
When you have opted-in to share the information with a third party, such as when you sign up for our newsletter or podcast;
When we need to share the information with a company that works on our behalf (e.g., when your payment information is shared over our secure sever to the bank).
Customer Service: Contact us with any questions or concerns. Our telephone number is 804-754-THE X (8439). You may also email us at email@example.com.
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