Exploring sport coaching and psychology
Exploring sport coaching and psychology

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Exploring sport coaching and psychology

Session 5: Mindset and attitudes towards sport and learning


You have started to see how experienced sports coaches, and some workplaces, encourage people to think about their training and progress in certain ways (e.g. personal responsibility, learning, problem solving). The term ‘mindset’ has often been used by contributors to this course: but what is meant by mindset?

This session specifically considers sports psychology. In addition to mindset, you will explore the mental characteristics of those developing in sport and begin to see what topics sports psychology address with athletes and their coaches. You work in sports psychology will continue in the next session.

A lot of the knowledge and skills used in sports psychology can often be applied to situations that you are familiar with beyond sport. You will be able to apply much of what is discussed here to your own experiences or those close to you.

Watch the following video featuring Alex Danson.

Download this video clip.Video player: Introduction to Session 5
Skip transcript: Introduction to Session 5

Transcript: Introduction to Session 5

I find the mental side of sport absolutely fascinating. And that’s because, first hand, I understand how important it is. As a striker, you may think I’m just talking about penalty strokes or taking a shuffle, perhaps at an Olympic games, in front of 9 million people. And yes, of course, I have my routines.
If we go back to the semi-final, I had to take a penalty stroke. As soon as the whistle went, I felt calm, composure. I knew that I'd practised that routine over again.
I walked up to the penalty spot. I visualised exactly where I was going to put that ball when the whistle went. And then I just stayed calm.
And that preparation beforehand, and how you use your mind, is absolutely essential to try and find success.
So what goes on in your head affects your whole life and your whole team-- your attitude to training, facing challenges, and being able to push yourself every single day. In our team, we spoke a lot about the commitment it would take for the whole of our group to try and win this gold medal at those Rio Olympic games. But it was very behaviour-driven-- what we did, every single day, to make us the best that we could possibly be. Because, when you get down to Olympic games, and you get down to that final moment, what it takes is a collective commitment, based upon training, so when you’re there in the moment, you believe that you can win, and you can believe that you can make it happen.
My absolute standout moment in Rio was in the final, in our last quarter time. We ran in, and our coach simply said to us, look at each other. And I remember looking up, and all of our teammates connected with our eyes. And at that point, I knew, we knew, that it would take one chance, and we would make sure that game became ours.
And I think, if you can have that strength of mind on an individual level, as a collective with your colleagues and your team, you know when your moment comes, when the pressure is on, that you can go in there with absolutely no self-doubt. Then your individual mental battle is won.
You’ll hear again from me soon, as I find the power of your mind absolutely fascinating.
End transcript: Introduction to Session 5
Introduction to Session 5
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By the end of this session, you should be able to:

  • describe the features and beliefs of a growth and fixed mindset
  • identify the role of feedback from coaches, teachers and parents in influencing beliefs about ability
  • describe mental toughness and the psychological characteristics of those athletes developing towards excellence and how these ideas contribute to your understanding of sporting success.

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