Sample Sports Essay on Psychological skills program intervention


Mental stress and performance are known to be the main element vital for the
considerable achievement of an athlete. The usage of pressure training intervention program is
realized to assist these athletes in establishing particular psychological skills linked with mental
stress and performance, for instance, relaxation, imagery of the mental imagery, positive self-
talk, and setting of goals. Through the development of these skills, the athletes increase their
capacity to control their competition anxiety levels, self-confidence levels, and finally boost their
performance outcome. The essential purpose of this paper is the intervention on the athlete's
training environment and determine the impacts of a mainly designed mental toughness program
for field athletes. The familiarity of the public with an awareness of sport psychology has risen
through the years. Currently, several coaches and athletes have no expectations of lying on the
couch as they consult a psychologist. This intervention is based on scientific sport psychological

Nevertheless, athletes as well as approach a sport psychologist due to reasons other than
once they face a problem. Several sports, after all, have realized that sport psychological training
manages to serve the increase of optimization on an already remarkable performance. Sports
psychology has turned out to be a section of the sport sciences spectrum that plays a role in the
improvement of the performance of the athlete. Athletes, as well as coaches, agree that the
success of an athlete generates from not only their physical ability but also the capacity to build
and maintain a stable mental state.

Athlete Summary

The coach has trained the athlete for up to 8 years but recently developed a mistrust on
him. The athlete has an essential relation with his parents since even his Mother often heads to
his house to wash and clean. The coach describes the athlete as a likable person, although very
intense. The athlete is guilty when he exerts on others, very conscientious, and likes to please
other people. This, however, is a problem since too much energy directed to other people, and
the way they feel reduces the athlete's capability to focus on his training and improve his
performance. The athlete alarming low levels of self-awareness such that he got worse when his
coach changed his technique. The national coaches attempted to revert the method, but the
athlete insisted his condition would get better with time, although the national coaches do not
agree with him. The athlete through this year did panic, got more intense, and struggled more
because he was under pressure. This shows how the athlete is stressful and a bit frantic. This
intervention training program will be a substantial guide for him to boost his performance and

Psychophysiology effect on athletes

Psychophysiology is a physiology branch that concerns the relation between the mental
(psych) and the physical (physiological) processes. It refers to the scientific study of the
interaction between the body and mind. In sports, it is integrating the body and mind in the
efficient performance, preparation, and training strategies of athletes (Patrick & Hrycaiko, 2016).
It is concerned with assisting athletes in performing better by the usage of the body and mind
together in competition and training.

Research on the success of an athlete has displayed the benefits of an optimal linkage of
the following impacts in several sports:

1) General athlete's psycho-emotional status, capacity to operate in a team,
resoluteness, and an activity predominance.
2) Increased tone of the cardiovascular system and uptake of oxygen.
3) Muscular structure and activity correspondence to the sports that the
athlete is engaged in.
4) High physical training level.

Competitive sports performance, at the same time, with an increased success level, is
characterized by a range of factors that differentiate it from straightforward physical training:

1) Maximum accumulated psychophysiological resources necessity in
contests and their beneficial use across the year according to the schedule of the
2) Efficient rehabilitation and relaxation periods among contests for the
restoration of the spent resources.

It is essential to take into account the importance of safeguarding the athlete's health and
ensure prevention of overstrain and overtraining, which results in injuries and failures. The
psychologists, sports physicians, and coaches have the task of taking into account these
determinants and their synergy and interrelations in practical work relating to athletics
(McCarthy, 2014). It is essential, therefore, to illuminate the psychophysiological functional state
parameters of the athlete entirely and establish methods and equipment for prompt state of the

athlete's monitoring and evaluation during contests and training (Bloom, 2014). The essential
requirements for the underlying techniques are that they become:

a) Informative according to the characteristics of the athlete’s activity.
b) Able to provide understandable and graphic information
c) Accessed by non-professional operators, involving athletes, hence, self-
d) Reliable concerning the ample data files storage
e) Independent and objective to the operator and the data collection
f) Able to allow rapid and simple analysis and measurements.
g) It is utilized in different conditions, involving the ones of a contest.

Current trends concerning sports psychophysiology:

1. The coaches and sports scientists are finally realizing that if someone
wants to attain an optimal outcome, they cannot train the body without simultaneously
training, also the mind.
2. The world does not have the technologies and techniques where people
manage to measure the variations in the brain that happen through mind-body integration
techniques introduction, for instance, meditation and mindfulness.
3. The world is finally at the state where it is possible to integrate sports
psychophysiology in the Daily Athlete Training Environment by smart coaching.

For the athletes, sports psychophysiology provides unlimited potential for boosted
performance. Traditionally, the universe has prepared athletes from the physiological point:
flexibility, agility, power, endurance, strength, and speed and sent them to the world to compete
in considerable physical shape. The mental preparation side has been left out, and everyone has
got themselves misguided by the fact that getting the body ready is adequate (Suinn & Clayton,
2013). An athlete who is appropriately prepared physically but does not have an awareness of the
integration of their mind in competition and training do not manage to realize their full potential.

The central concept for the coaches is the integration of the sport psychophysiology into
their preparation and training environments through the addition of a mental element in their
periodization, planning, and exercise prescription. Practically, it refers to the addition of a
psychological component to each set of training, each fitness activity, each skill practice routine.
Changing the programming tools from only frequency, intensity, and volume to a mental factor,
intensity, amount, and frequency. Once this essential philosophical step of the incorporation of
psychological perspective into the physical training practices and routines is made, the coaching
will attain new heights.

Athlete’s performance in high pressure

At higher levels of stress, the athlete experiences tunnel vision, which potentially results
in situational awareness as well as missed information. Tunnel hearing or auditory exclusion
manages to impair communication. Time perceptions manage to either slow down or speed up.
Peripheral vasoconstriction leads to impaired excellent motor control; therefore, tremors can
build due to increased sympathomimetic tone. According to each activity, there is a balance
between his skill, demands being exerted on him, and resources. In case the demands outweigh

resources, the athlete experiences anxiety, and poor performance (Geranto, 2014). As confidence
or skill significantly exceed the demands, the athlete experiences boredom that may as well
degrade performance. At a certain point in between, there is a specific zone that results in
optimal performance. The difficulty level is high adequately that is demands the athlete's full
attention, although not so high that it starts to impair his cognitive abilities. The performance in
this zone is always known as the "flow state."

Generally, the focus on performance is due to extremely challenging situations.
According to the graph above, there are hints on the way of handling this. The athlete can and
has to focus on making sure he is skilled properly. The challenge degree seems like it can be out
of control, but it is the athlete's interpretation of the challenge that entirely matters. He can learn

cognitive tools that assist in the regulation of his sense of difficulty, and thus, brings him back to
"the zone." The main thing the athlete has to build is the capacity to remain calm and perform
appropriately under pressure, disregarding the most challenging circumstance (Hong & Coffee,
2017). A champion is always known to be unflappable under pressure since they retain their
capacity to make the right decisions, think clearly, and often attack the task ahead of them with
tenacity, enthusiasm, and confidence. With deep rhythmic breathing, the champion manages to
control the pressure symptoms, and keep on being process-focused, maintain situational
understanding to enable them to make the right decisions in the heat of the moment.

The Attention Control Theory asserts that anxiety does manifest in impaired attentional
control, which results in the performance deficiencies in activities, including the primary
working memory system executive. The theoretical position is realized in the assumption that
attention undergoes regulation through:

a) A system of goal-directed care – this is governed by new goals,
knowledge, and expectations and illustrates top-down attentional control.
b) A system of stimulus-driven attention – this is sensitive to the salient
stimuli and illustrates bottom-up attentional control.

Significantly, Attention Control Theory describes anxiety having the capacity to
modulate the balance between the two attentional systems in conjunction with raised anxiety
resulting in a raised effect of the system of stimulus-driven attention and a lowered impact of the
system of goal-directed attention. The Attention Control Theory seems specifically vulnerable
throughout genetic disorders, although the differences and commonalities across disorders, in
case they are charted developmentally, unveil highly dynamic profiles (Hong & Coffee, 2017).

Cross-syndrome comparisons offer a range of insights and additional questions on attentional
tools in adulthood, as well as their trajectories through childhood. According to developmental
scientists, establishing developmental trajectories consumes a lot of time, but is required. Cross-
sectional alongside longitudinal trajectories indeed is theoretically essential to test in case
attentional processes vary and considered in learning over developmental time. Prospective
developmental trajectories, in genetic disorders, will become invaluable since they manage to
accentuate potential variation mechanisms and offer a handler on learning personal variability in
a person's capacity to change.

Bespoke intervention

There exist an explicit requirement of considering the mechanism utilized in the
generation of significant performance pressure. Through the identification of appropriate
incentives, pressure training manages to be additionally adequately contextualized and bespoke
to the contextual and performance requirements for athletes. Future studies should focus on the
ecological and reliability validity of the mechanisms utilized for generating pressure. The
specialized samples that need coping skills in the facilitation of performance under pressure
might be especially pertinent to create an awareness of the forms of meaningful incentives to be
incorporated into pressure tasks.

The necessary measure includes:

1) Bespoke anxiety measures anxiety
2) Bespoke stress measures (post-intervention)
3) The bespoke scale of self-efficacy and situational anxiety.


4) Bespoke confidence, stress level, and pain.

The development process of stressors has to be bespoke for every particular applied
environment. Pressure training is at the moment being encouraged and practiced, in research and
used contexts, in the absence of empirically and comprehensive, supported underpinning
frameworks on the way of effectively producing and exposing athletes to the pressurized training
environment. There is a need to explore methods that are sport-specific for the systematic
manufacture of a pressure training environment. Social support is an exchange of resources
amongst two people perceived by the recipient or provider to be intended to boost the well-being
of the recipient (Gregg, Hrycaiko, Mactavish & Martin, 2016). Social support is extensively
defined in the concept of injury as a method of mediating and facilitating the rehabilitation
experience. Goal setting and bespoke interventions mainly focus on the attention of the athlete
on taking the essential steps to feel prepared both physically and mentally. They tend to
overcome the barriers to returning to the field from injury.

The bespoke intervention is particularly integrated to establish the intrapersonal
knowledge of the coach from the perspective of the athlete on his capacity to offer social
support. Interpersonal and professional expertise work together in the development of ways for
the teammates the athlete works with to engage in the system of social support, which would as
well assist with the motivation of the athlete during rehabilitation. Drills practice is the central
core of the entire skill training (Weinberg & Comar, 2015). Every sport contains its series of
drills for establishing the skills needed. Exercises offer the regular skill repetition that is required
for the athlete to progress through the phases of acquiring skills towards autonomous skill
mastery. The main drills aspect involve:


i. Frequent skill repetition
ii. Effective and fast feedback
iii. Skill execution adjustment

The choice of the exercise has to suit the athlete according to their skill acquisition phase
and their sport. There has to be a range of drills utilized in the training session and throughout
the training program to make sure the athlete does not give room for boredom and understand
how to use the skill in different contexts.

Types of training methods the athlete should use in improving performance involve:

a) Strength training
b) Skills training
c) Flexibility training
d) Anaerobic exercise
e) Aerobic exercise

The coordination training goal is to give the body the capacity to move smoothly,
efficiently, and effectively. Coordination involves movement, balance, agility, and footwork
skills. It as well consists of training the brain to be efficient as it moves. Another aspect is force
production, which is the capability to utilize strength and power. It is expressed in several
methods, involving acceleration, speed, vertical jump, power, and strength (Gregg, Hrycaiko,
Mactavish & Martin, 2016). This form of training happens during resistance training sessions,
such as the weight room. Although it as well entails sled drags, parachute sprints, Olympic lifts,

and plyometrics. The force production aspect is defined while decelerating. This occurs as the
athlete slows down or changes direction.

Performance Practice Skills Steps:

Step 1:

The athlete should first perform the skill. This is the initial, and, unfortunately, it
becomes the last step for most athletes in their skills learning program.

Step 2:

The athlete performs the skill very well. Skills mastery generates from frequent practice
together with quality feedback from the coach, and this can involve the usage of video alongside
other technologies of performance analysis.

Step 3:

The athlete performs the skill very well and at speed. The skill has to withstand the
competition level speed. The level speed here entails competition explosiveness, competition
agility requirements, and competition accelerations.

Step 4:

The athlete to perform the skill very well, under fatigue. Managing to deliver crucial
skills when glycogen depleted, suffering from neuromuscular fatigue, dehydrated, and tired is a
winning point in the entire sports.

Step 5:

The athlete performs the skill very well, under fatigue, under pressure, and at speed.

Step 6:

The athlete performs the skill under fatigue, under pressure, at speed, and very well
consistently. Managing to perform the skill under these competition conditions at once is luck,
but managing to do it always under these competition conditions is a real champion sign. Being
consistent in the execution of skills in competition generates training standards consistency
(Dafermos, 2015). The adoption of a "no-compromise" mechanism to the skills execution quality
during training is a preferred method of developing consistent skills execution quality in
competition conditions. It is unfortunate, however, that several athletes have two brains:

1. Training brain – they use this in preparation and training. It accepts
sloppiness, poor skills execution, inaccuracy, and laziness with the belief that all will be
alright on a racing day, and all will, in a way, magically be smooth during the
2. Competition brain – they use this in competition.

Step 7:

To perform a basic skill well is not hard. However, add the fatigue of competition's 75
minutes, the pressure of understanding the entire season is on the line with a single kick, the
Board expectation, the fans, teammates, the management and the coach, and suddenly that basic
skill becomes not so basic. It gets to an equivalent of a juggle on six dynamite sticks.

Neuroscience in athletics

Neuroscience research unveils the variations between the top performance athletes' brain
activity in comparison to novices suggesting data collection at the performance can be a further
insight source. The awareness of the way the human brain does generate, encode, and memorize
the surrounding space per its location can be the beginning for boosting the natural skill.
Specifically, this can be good for the athlete as he requires accurate spatial information such as
focusing on the finish line and managing to measure the pace between him and his opponents for
him to perform well (Gramann, Jung, Ferris, Lin & Makeig, 2014). Scientists have believed that
the number of neural networks and neurons built through life was finite, and once the brain was
fully formed, the amount of rewiring that could be worked on was entirely limited. Although,
current research shows how even older people can build new neural pathways and raise their
memory and capability for learning. The human brain is moldable, malleable, and plastic;
therefore, the rewiring of the brain is defined as neuroplasticity.

Each time an athlete learns a new skill, they use their brain's potential for neuroplasticity.
The first moment he attempts a new skill, the links between the particular set of muscles needed
for that skill and the brain are not optimized. Although, the more they practice, the more refined
and robust the neural pathway gets, with additional muscle fibers and neurons becoming
coordinated and recruited in the exact pattern. The plastic variations in the brain produce
physical improvements to the skill. If the athlete keeps on practicing, the optimized brain-muscle
gets maintained ad, so does the skill, however, if he neglects the practice, the functional links
will be less synchronous, leading to more unsatisfactory performance.


Mental stress and performance is a sport facet which will never become distinct. Coaches
must be aware of the way to apply knowledge to the particular context of the athlete's mental
condition. The integration of psychological skills training program is a method that will offer
social support in the setting of these athletes and as well offer new knowledge and content for
coaches to facilitate highly-contextualized knowledge foundation applications into practice.
Coaches will keep on dealing with these situations as long as they are in that profession and have
to be provided with an opportunity to understand the way of best providing social support to the
affected athletes and efficiently use the training program elements to boost the results of the

Specific attention has to be provided to newly developed interventions like the
mindfulness approach or the psychological skills training periodization. The resulting interest
variable has to be the preferred performance. An additional crucial consideration relates to the
research needs of applying sport psychology, particularly when high-performance athletes are
included. There has to be an agreement on the appropriate research design to be used in the
identification of empirically supported interventions for the elite performers. However, it is
crucial that an academic discipline display empirical support that does meet the highest scientific
standards, the problem of evaluating an intervention efficacy with a target team of elite athletes
has to be considered and recognized.

Additionally, the whole process of intervention has to be in line with consistent
monitoring of the stress and recovery levels of the athlete. Imbalances of stress and recovery may
become recognized through time, and conflicts are realized. In case someone neglects to assess
the weaknesses and strengths of an athlete, the physical skills training might result in their

application on sections where the athlete already has practical skills. This might cause
interference in a way that competing skills will block each other. The confusion outcome can
subsequently influence self-performance and regulation. It is natural to feel anxiety when under
pressure, several athletes attempt to pretend that the pressure is not there and does not exist as
they try to avoid the anxiety entirely. For other athletes, although this is not an efficient method,
the pressure is real and cannot disappear; to control it, one has to address it.



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