Sport Psychology is presented today as a theoretical-applicative area, in which the contributions of the sports sciences and psychological disciplines converge and integrate.
In line with the current trends in Positive Psychology, the application approach tends to build the athlete’s optimal functioning model – both in the age of development and at a high competitive level – and to support and develop optimal operating conditions.
Sport, increasingly in search of results, requires, starting from the youth sectors, an integrated training that takes into account the different components underlying performance.
Complex, but of great charm “the profession of sports psychologist”: has the task of defending the young athlete from the presence – very necessary in Italy, but sometimes harmful – of adults, educating the role of the mental training, also supporting the end of career: today there is still too little talk of outplacement.
The state of flow – a prerequisite for excellent performance – is the basis from which the mental preparation work starts, a progressive path of awareness of one’s potential.
A mental preparation program must take into account these aspects:
- structural, aimed at analyzing the athlete’s personality characteristics;
- functional, for an optimization of information processing processes in the cognitive system;
- psychophysiological, aimed at modulating psychophysical reactivity;
- systemic, with a focus on the athlete in the relevant social contexts
It includes the following phases:
- education, aimed at developing awareness of how mental abilities affect performance and recognizing its trainability;
- learning, aimed at the acquisition of techniques and strategies necessary for the development of different mental abilities;
- training, aimed at automating mental skills and their transfer to training and competition.