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Exploring sport coaching and psychology
Exploring sport coaching and psychology

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Session 6: Psychological skills for life and sport


In this session, you will take a look at a few of the more common psychological skills used both in life and in sporting competition, which can be used to respond to fear, anxiety and emotion. In your work, family or sporting life, you are likely to face situations in which you need to perform under pressure, such as giving a speech or being assessed for something (e.g. a driving test). You will look at case study videos and examples, which will give inside knowledge of how people such as Alex Danson use sports psychology in action.

The session starts with Michael Johnson and Chris Hoy discussing mental preparation for high-pressure situations, before moving on to how athletes and psychologists make sense of emotions and ways in which they can be controlled. Some of the specific techniques that athletes use before and during competition are then explored, including pre-competition routines, imagery and self-talk. You will finish by hearing how others face an intense situation, such as taking a penalty, and then play an online penalty shoot-out game.

By the end of this session, you should be able to:

  • understand how psychological skills complement physical skills in sport and that both can be developed
  • identify ways of making sense of fear and anxiety and also controlling the emotions created from these
  • describe, in outline, three psychological terms: imagery, pre-performance routine and self-talk.