Developing Young Talent

How Crucial Is An Athlete’s Support System?

The idea behind applied sport psychology is to provide athletes with tools, strategies, and techniques to better their performance. It’s common for athletes to spend most of their time on physical practice & be developed physically. When athletes make a decision to turn to a sport psychologist, performance consultant, or performance coach, they are making the choice to reach the next level. They realize that just competing the physical components of training aren’t enough. It’s time to gain a competitive edge, learn mental toughness, and be able to cope with whatever they face.

Athletes wanting to make it to reach their ultimate potential in talent development know the importance of mental training as well as physical training. It is no surprise that the top tier of athletes in their field must turn to master level coaches to better their game; they must also employ strategies gained from a mental skills specialist to move up the ladder of success.

According to Benjamin Bloom’s research: parent support, high standards, goal setting, appropriate social interaction, and encouragement at all levels are main contributors to athlete’s success at elite levels. If these are necessary pieces to the puzzle, then the notion of applied sport psychology is definitely supported. Why not give your child the ultimate advantage and expose him or her to mental training as well as physical practice. Expert talent development is not just about intense physical training. There is more to it. Bloom broke down each distinct talent field/sport to show how every area studied found similar training methods. Athletes are finding success by following a protocol. They’re hunting for the secret, and mocking what they find in others… because it’s working.

Encouragement and motivation are valuable to an athlete’s growth. These principles can be taught in applied sport psychology. We are often looking for answers on why certain athletes can’t get over detrimental events, get burned out, or what pushes some to go further than those before them. Teaching these outstanding athletes short and long term goals, how to use their resources, how to allocate time efficiently with school work, and how to manage the emotional commitment has taken them to the top of their field. These athletes recognized these concepts were all factors that contributed to their success. Bloom’s studies open the eyes to skeptics who may not value applied sport psychology.

Sport psychology is using psychological life skills to better your performance; it’s not just for “broken” athletes. It shows the significance of what to pay attention to when teaching an individual new skills. Bloom has also shown this in school: pointing out how any person can learn if provided with appropriate conditions. For example, some students retain info better if they do a project, some learn by reading on their own, some need to teach material to others, some learn best in groups. Perhaps, society should value the magnitude of psychological skills training and social support a little more. Sport psychology concepts can really be implemented in any circumstance for better performance on the field, court, or in the classroom.

A common theme of sport psychology would be challenging individuals to reach their full potential. One should not settle for where they are, but ask what else he is capable of accomplishing? Full potential would entail raising the standard, utilizing work ethic, and making use of each practice session and ability.

What if society could increase the amount of talent developed if the standards were raised? It doesn’t have to be so rare. Have we gotten complacent? Are we satisfied with just getting by? What if we asked more of students in schools or more of children in terms of physical activity? Look at the obesity rates, dropping artistic programs in school, and the amount of TV shows/books on weight loss for example. Would people have a greater sense of fulfillment if they learned coping skills, how to manage stress, balance work/life, build confidence, or channel their nerves better? Coaches, teachers, and parents should not be afraid to push the envelope. What could a sport psychology coach do for your young athlete?