awesome sports psych info

hey guys i was checking out and it's a really cool
website, that has awesome articles on sports psychcology. there is a
really good article on pre competition preperation.i thought that it was
interesting and just wanted to share the info with my fellow UG'ERS.

Pre-Competition Preparation

If you have ever been an athlete, you may have heard the phrase that
"athletics is 90% mental, and 10% physical." If this is the case, then
why do we always spend 100% of out preparation time to prepare for
only 10% of our "competition"? Most people in athletics or the
business world have realized that there are rarely any secrets to
success. I mean by this, that if you are preparing your paperwork, or
you are training physically, most likely your opponent is doing the
same. The way a person can separate themselves from the masses is
by utilizing their mind. In order to truly tap into the potential hidden
within the framework of a human mind, an individual must learn the
best way to access previously unused portions of their mind.
Many people get "Psyched Up" for a competitive experience, and yet
others try to calm themselves through meditation. In order to reach
your ability and generate a peak performance experience, you must
first empty your mind of other malingering issues. Issues and
challenges we face in our personal or professional lives deeply impact
our mindset and affect our performance during competitive tasks
The first step to success is to learn how to truly prepare for
competition. Relaxation before a competition is of the utmost
importance because a human being cannot be expected to perform to
their highest level of ability unless they are able to completely focus on
the task at hand. This type of relaxation differs from traditional
meditation in that an individual is not looking to focus their attention
to internal processes such as breathing and certain muscular
contractions themselves; but rather to raise their senses to a
heightened level of awareness through the stimulation of their
muscles. The easiest technique I recommend to athletes is to sit down
and make a list of all of the outside forces that are hindering them in
their performance. This list may include issues ranging from the
weather, to hunger, to relationships with friends and family, or even
grades received in school. Once these problems are written on a list, I
have them cut the paper into strips with only one issue listed per strip.

A clean sock should be affixed to the interior of their locker and each
day before practice or competition, they should take a few minutes to
physically read the issues they face that day out load and repeat the
following phrase to themselves:
"I am placing this (insert issue) aside, to be dealt with later. It is no
longer on my mind."
Once they repeat this statement to themselves, the athlete should
place the paper with the single issue written on it inside the sock in
their locker. This is now your "Problem Sock". Within this sock, an
athlete leaves their nagging issues or serious issues of the day. This
allows the athlete to participate to the peak of their abilities without
experiencing the stress of trying to cope with issues outside of the
immediate task at hand. As simple as it seems, the physical act of
placing your problems aside can allow a person to shift their focus to
other, more immediately pressing issues. This is called
Once you have shifted your immediate focus away from coping with
the issues of the day and more towards facing the issues you are
challenged by as an athlete, you can begin to relax your body. I always
tried to find a dark and quiet area to do this, but believe it or not, if
you lack a dark and quiet area, even a bathroom stall could be used.

As laughable as this seems, the journey you are about to embark on is
an inner journey; your physical surroundings have little impact once
you have learned to effectively tune out any and all distractions.
The first step is to sit down in any relaxed position. Place your hands,
palms facing down, upon your knees. Try to keep your back as
straight as possible in order to take in as much air as you possible can.

Spend the next few minutes breathing. Do not focus on breathing as a
function of which muscles you are using to expand and decrease the
capacity of your lungs as people in Yoga tend to do. They use
diaphragmatic breathing. I want you to focus on the physical act of
breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Slow
your breathing until you are breathing in through your nose for a count
of 4, and breathing out through your mouth for a count of 4 as well.

Once you reach a comfortable pace with your breathing, continue that
pace as you begin to slowly contract your muscles. Once you begin to
contract your muscles, hold your breath for the duration of the
contraction. Begin with your fingers and slowly curl them into fists.

Then, slightly bend at your wrists so that the muscles in your forearms
contract. Allow the contraction to flow up your arm through your
biceps and into your shoulders. While raising your fists out to the
sides as if you are posing in a bodybuilding competition. Release the
contraction and breathe deeply. Repeat this contraction a few times in
order to force oxygenated blood into the muscle tissue.
Once you have reached a point where you feel your body temperature
beginning to rise, repeat the contraction, but this time, begin in your
toes. Let your toes curl and try to make "fists" with your feet. Allow
the contraction to travel up your calf muscles and into your thighs.

Feel your hamstrings contract as well as your gluteus muscles, and
hold this position for a few seconds. Once you release the contraction,
be sure to continue your breathing technique. Once your hamstrings
(the rear portion of your thigh) feel "awake", straighten your feet out as
far as you possibly can and contract your toes once again. This time,
allow the contraction to travel up your shins, and then feel the muscles
on your quadriceps (the front of your thigh) contract. Repeat these
contractions for a few minutes, and be sure to breathe deeply in
between contractions.

The last contraction I recommend is that of your core muscles such as
your abdominal region as well as your lower back. To contract your
abs as hard as possible, while seated, lean forward slightly and pull
your arms in across your chest. Squeeze the muscles in your abdomen
and try to touch your elbows to your knees. Hold this for a few
moments and then slowly release and return to your breathing. To
contract your lower back, I suggest standing up and puffing your chest
out in front of you. Make a conscious effort to squeeze the muscles in
your lower back while allowing your arms to hang limp at your sides
with the palms facing forward. Tilt your head back and roll your neck
slowly in circles. At times, I have the irresistible urge to roll my head
back and growl from deep inside my chest.

At this point, I typically feel very relaxed and focused. I can feel my
body responding to the breathing and I feel energized, but not giddy.

Many times, athletes find themselves becoming too worked up too long
before their competition. Becoming too anxious as a result of the
adrenaline your brain has caused to be released even 5 minutes too
early can be disastrous. Adrenaline has an effect on your body similar
to that of sugar. Once the rush is passing, the crash that follows is
horrible and debilitating. If you feel your adrenaline levels beginning
to elevate too long before you need it, please return to your breathing
and force yourself to sit down, close your eyes, and relax your entire
body one muscle at a time. Begin with your toes, and work inch by
inch up your body. Be sure to hang your mouth open and roll your
mandible around in the socket. This forces you to unclench your teeth
and to relieve the stress that people tend to carry in their jaw. Place
the heels of your hands against your eyes and with slight pressure rub
outward circles over your eyes. This will relieve the tension that you
carry in your brow. Once you feel the calm wash over you, stand up
and walk around. Focus on your four count breathing while you wait to
begin your competition. If you still feel an inordinate amount of
tension, force yourself to smile. Repeat the following phrase in your
"I love (insert sport name here)".
Many times, athletes experience such high levels of stress and anxiety
that they lose sight of the fact that they are playing a sport they enjoy.

This sport may have become their job, but the reason that they began
playing in the first place was love of the game.

These relaxation techniques should assist the athlete in placing
competition into the proper perspective. After utilizing these
techniques for a period of time, sometimes shorter then 2 weeks,
athletes will begin to see changes. They will feel an elevated level of
confidence and poise as well as a sense of inner peace when facing
adversity during the competition.

Your four count breathing technique can be used at any time during
your competition in an attempt to re-center yourself. Many times after
a big play, or an explosive movement, an athlete loses their focus and
drifts back into habitual, and oftentimes negative, frames of mind.

Maintaining focus throughout competition is the hallmark of an
experienced and successful individual. Time is needed in order to
develop the ability to retain your focus under duress and while
experiencing pressure situations. As the level of competition
increases, the more effort is needed in order to remain focused.

Mental focus during competition must be developed through
repetition, just as your physical skill set for competition must be
developed through practice.

Pre-Competition Preparation:
Consequences of Improper Preparation

If you have ever competed before, you are sure to have witnessed a
high quality athlete that experiences a less than par performance. As
an athlete, I have personally witnessed this.

As a senior in high school, my best friend and teammate won his first
31 matches during wrestling season. Dan was a District and Regional
Champion. When we arrived at the Florida High School State
Championship Tournament, Dan was a machine during his matches on
the way to the State Finals.
The day of the Finals arrived, and Dan was extremely agitated. He was
trying to remain poised and in control of his faculties, but anyone that
knew him well was able to see that he was experiencing a high degree
of anxiety.

As a result of his elevated level of anxiety in the pre-competition phase
of his day, by the time the actual match was about to begin, Dan was
emotionally and mentally exhausted. He went out and he performed
well, but not at the peak level of his abilities. The result of the match
was a 3-2-decision loss to his opponent.
Dan was defeated in his State Finals performance; however, it was
clearly not his opponent that beat was himself. Dan failed to
prepare adequately. He trained physically, and he was in fantastic
shape. He possessed all of the physical tools to win, but he lacked the
ability to relax and focus.

Had Dan been armed with the ability to relax himself during the day,
he could have arrived at his peak anxiety level as well as peak
performance level at the proper time. The ability to control your
anxiety more easily allows an athlete to enter the mode known as Flow.
To this day, Dan still admits that he has absolutely no recollection of
the day of the finals match up until the point when he stepped into the
circle to compete. This shows that he was not able to prepare
throughout the day of his competition. As a result of this lack of
preparation, Dan was past the point of his peak and steadily on the
way down to worse performance by the time his competition began.
Dan is currently an Assistant Coach for our Alma Mater. In that
capacity, he utilizes his experience with lack of mental preparation as a
tool to better prepare the athletes on the team. Since the inception of
a mental training regime five years ago, the team has produced over 25
All State Wrestlers including a Women's State Champion and multiple
time All American. There has been one FHSAA State Champion, and
more than 10 other FHSAA State Place winners. As a team, the overall
record is 49 wins and 9 losses. They have won 2 District
Championships as well as 3 Regional Championships and they are now
regarded as one of the up and coming wrestling programs in the state
of Florida.

paragraphs needed.

Thanks Denny. I hope theinformation helps you out.

-Rich Mendelson


ttt for problem socks

don't knock it bro. Giving your stressors a physical presence gives you
the abaility to remove that presence from your preparation. It may not
work for every single person out there, but for many, the stressors
overwhelm you and you are not able to prepare adequately for the task at

-Rich Mendelson