Soca Warriors Online Discussion Forum

Sports => Football => Topic started by: DLGSportPsych on July 18, 2011, 08:57:23 AM

Title: Sport Psychology in Trinidad
Post by: DLGSportPsych on July 18, 2011, 08:57:23 AM
Athletes can be trained to deal with the pressure and stress of a competitive environment so that their performances are more consistent.

Top 5 Ways to Increase Confidence in Athletes

1. Control the Controllables- This means encouraging athletes to put all their attention whether it is in practice or during competition into the act or skill they are executing at that particular point in time. A defender in football might have the task of marking an opposing striker. Some of the things the defender can control include: how fast he or she moves, their height when jumping, deciding whether the best thing to do is to man mark or zone, stay relaxed and composed, keep an eye on the ball and be aware of his or her immediate surroundings. Often when confidence is low, the opposite occurs and the defender may begin to focus on the weather (rainy, too hot and humid), fans, ball watching, bad calls from the referee and preoccupied with whether or not he or she will be taken out of the game by the coach. These are the things that cannot be controlled. It is important to bring their focus back to the things that can be controlled for optimal performance. A common tool is using a cue word that will remind them of the task at hand. Another strategy is for the athlete to write a word or phrase on their footwear, helmet or armband.

2. Self Talk- Often athletes speak to themselves during the execution of skills. This might be aloud or to themselves. Individual sports such as tennis illustrate some clear examples where we see self talk. Self talk can be positive of negative and both affect how athletes perform. Coaches, parents and other sporting professionals can apply the following with their athletes: When we sit and think about the most fun we ever had in our lives, most of us will begin to smile, laugh or feel some level of tranquility and happiness. Similarly, when asked to recall a nightmare, we remember having sweaty palms, an increased heart rate, tightness of the body etcetera. These two areas portray how the mind and our thoughts affect our bodies. The former affects it in a productive manner and the latter in an unhelpful way. This happens on the court, course, field, track and in the pool (a variety of sporting environments). When athletes say things like, I cannot do this, I am going to lose and this is the worst I have played, it reflects in their body language, how much effort they give and in the way they perform. What then usually happens is that opponents feed of this and it boosts their level of confidence. One way to counteract this, is to encourage athletes to trick their minds. Yes! Trick their minds! Sometimes our brain is unable to distinguish what is real from what is fake (as seen when we have nightmares) so, we can "fake it til we make it." A common way many Sport Psychology Consultants do this is by changing negative words and phrases into positive ones. This takes practice and application to everyday training is a key component. Frequently practicing this positive self talk will result in it becoming a natural part of an athlete's game and increase their level of mental toughness during competition.

I cannot do this = I can do this!
 I am going to lose = I am going to win!
This is the worst I have played = I have and can play better than this!

3. Preparation - Confidence is an outcome or an end result that is preceded by preparation. In other words, how athletes prepare (intensity, duration, physically, technically, mentally and sport specific training) affects how confident they feel going into competition. Michael Phelps' coach made him swim full sprints for two and a half hours prior to his record breaking performances at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, solely to help him increase his level of confidence. The point here is not to over train but after preparing and doing more than is expected, an athlete will feel that he or she is ready to deal with the high intensity of competition. A basketball player who shoots 1000s of free throws outside of team practice will feel better about the chances of making a free throw to win the game in the last few seconds versus never practicing them.

4. Imagery or visualization - Golfers do this a lot during their pre-shot routines. This involves seeing oneself performing an act or executing a skill creating a sensory experience. Most athletes will do this focusing on the end result such as a ball in the goal, running through the finish line, holding up a trophy etcetera. What elite athletes such as Michael Johnson believe is that the process is vital and the result will come. What athletes do during the race will determine the result. To enhance imagery or visualization, inclusion of as many senses as possible is necessary, it must be in real time (no too fast or slow), the image created should be realistic and executions need to be successful every time so, when the athletes visualized something they are doing it correctly. When should athletes perform imagery? Before, during and after practice will allow them to make this part of their training routine. Imagery or visualization creates a mental blueprint of the desired skill to be executed.

5. Just do it! - Sometimes when pressure gets to athletes or they are having a bad day, advice from the coach and changes to their game plan does not work. This is when they have to simply find a way to win, find a way to play to their strengths, find a way to counteract the opponentís strengths and capitalize on his or her weaknesses. This is where "bad mind" comes in and they give 110% effort despite being fatigued mentally and physically. Find the thing that they say or do which serves as a reminder of their best performances. Some athletes use cue words such as: "fight", "Come on", "Yes" and other personal phrases unique to them. Others may perform an act similar to: looking at a target, tapping their leg, bouncing the ball three times, clapping their hands, wiping their faces with a towel or jumping around in one place. These are little actions that can have a significant impact on an athlete's performance and they are ways to remind athletes of their goals. Whatever they decide to do, athletes should make sure it is their personal and unique action or word that will remind them that they have what it takes to win knowing exactly how to do it.
Title: Re: Sport Psychology in Trinidad
Post by: soccerman on October 20, 2016, 02:28:09 PM
This was a former post from a friend of mine who's a sport psychologist in Trinidad. He worked with women's WI cricket team at the recent world cup, which they won. They just putting it out there since I've read several people state that our team needs a sport psychologist.
Title: Re: Sport Psychology in Trinidad
Post by: palos on October 20, 2016, 03:51:41 PM
Thanks soccerman  :beermug:
Title: Re: Sport Psychology in Trinidad
Post by: g on October 20, 2016, 04:59:15 PM
I've been advocating for this in multiple posts.

I know we have persons with access to the coaching staff and president. FanZone and Wired868 peeps. 

Can we pose this direct question to the TTFA hierarchy?

We need every available resource to fortify ourselves for the battle ahead.
Title: Re: Sport Psychology in Trinidad
Post by: maxg on October 20, 2016, 09:21:38 PM
but wha happen DLG done with we, the man hit we up with a professional post and never heard from again... we all could learn from him
Title: Re: Sport Psychology in Trinidad
Post by: soccerman on October 20, 2016, 09:29:43 PM
Nah he's comes on here from time to time, he reached out to the TTFA some years ago but he works independently with athletes. I'm advocating for him to reach out to them again.
Title: Re: Sport Psychology in Trinidad
Post by: DLGSportPsych on October 20, 2016, 10:13:32 PM
@G Very interesting that you have been bringing up the need for a greater focus on the psychological aspect of football. I feel like most of our top athletes would speak to this during successes and failures as well.

@Maxg I have not gone very far, still based in sweet TnT.

@Soccerman thanks for rekindling the discussion. For those that may wish to read up a bit more, here is a Newsday interview I did post Rio Olympics
Title: Re: Sport Psychology in Trinidad
Post by: maxg on October 21, 2016, 09:56:31 AM
Here are a few articles i found interesting, from other people in your area. I only C&P the last. However, they are all nice reads. I have some questions for discussion, which I will pose after.
The Mental Game of Success
Winning the Game of Life

Bill Cole, MS, MA
Founder and CEO
William B. Cole Consultants
Silicon Valley, California

Sports champions know how to win and accomplish their dreams. They have learned the secrets of winning and success in sport. The mental game concepts that follow are familiar ones in the sport world. Let's examine these principles and laws of winning in sport and see how we can apply them to our daily lives.

Championship sports stars know what these principles mean, honor them and apply them in their training and competitions:

1. Second Effort. Making that extra effort can make the difference between winning and just barely losing. It means going the extra mile-when you are tired, when victory is not a guarantee, when things look bleak. Champions routinely push themselves.

2. Get It Done. High achievers use this phrase constantly to display their commitment to the task at hand. They will do whatever it takes, against all odds, to succeed, once they have made the commitment to succeed. There is no doubt it will happen. Just "get it done".

3. The Killer Instinct. Only champions have this. Champions know how to finish off a contest once a lead is established. They have no qualms about defeating the opponent. They keep their sights aimed at victory and are unrelenting as they forge ahead to victory.

4. Raising Your Game. Champions know that performance levels must be ratcheted up at various stages of a contest. To seize an opportunity to win, the champion digs deep and pulls up from within the all-encompassing desire to succeed that takes them to the next level.

5. Coming From Behind. Champions know how to win even on a bad day. They hope for the best but also have plans for the worst. They are able to kick themselves out of the cellar and find a way to win, even if it is not pretty. They want that W next to their name.

6. Playing to Win. Champions are not bashful or ashamed to say that they love winning. They play positively, confidently and play like they mean it. They take bold, yet reasoned chances and believe that they will succeed. They play with positive expectancy of success.

7. Avoid "Playing Not to Lose". Losers or also-rans play not to lose. They play scared, they worry about making errors, they are indecisive, they doubt themselves. When they get a lead they protect it and are fearful of losing it. Champions hate to lose more than they love to win and will do everything in their power to make sure they win.

8. Avoid "Protecting a Lead". Champions don't attempt to protect leads. They seek to increase leads. Also-rans try to protect a lead and lose in the process. Champions step up to the plate and go for it even more because they allow that surge of confidence to take them over and go to the next level as they increase contest momentum.

9. Digging Deep. Champions live for those make-it or break-it pivotal moments in a contest that make great theater. They compete to taste those times when only a supreme back-breaking effort will propel them to victory. They want to have a story to tell. They want to be a in a contest that is meaningful and significant and that will be remembered for a long, long time. They reach deep down inside themselves to find the magic needed to win.

10. In-The-Zone. The high achiever knows how to climb into that optimal performance zone and ride the wave of success. They know how to get in the flow and allow things to happen. They don't get in their own way and block themselves. They soar with success.

11. Getting the Momentum. Peak performers understand and use momentum to their advantage. Every "contest" has momentum and the secret is to identify it and tap into it. The champion increases momentum and the chances of success by ramping up energy and by taking more chances when they have it. They honor and use momentum.

12. No Mind Games. A true champion does not need to play mind games. The champion is aware of all potential mind games that may be evident from various opponents and is ready for them. The champion counters all mind games and maintains true integrity.

Champions are a different breed. Are they born this way or do they develop the attributes of winners? Whatever the mixture, we can learn mightily from them. We can be inspired by them, use them as benchmarks and hold them as role models. Just as they win the mental game of sport, we can win the mental game of life.
Title: Re: Sport Psychology in Trinidad
Post by: maxg on October 23, 2016, 10:47:55 AM
The point I would later make is
 that team psychology does not take the same processes as individual psychology. I think doh sport psychology at the elite level is still necessary, there is no gaurantee of team success and in many cases sometimes not even better individual performance, there are individual Michael, LeBron, as great as they were, their teams still lost on many occasions. Why ? They were surrounded by high level, exceptional and likewise motivated players, yet they still lost. So when, why and how did they really achieve greatness and their teams finally won. Or were they not great until their team won ?
Even today Morinho and ManU good if not great players, top shelf if not great coach, still getting licks, do they not hvae confidence, know how to win, train to be the best..etc etc.. so why they getting pushed around like that..nobody talk about Ibra cyah win a ball, nobody talkin bout Diego Costa tripping and bad passing the ball, or Hazard bad pass, or Man U can't make 5 passes unless it go thru Pogba  :devil:  they have every professional at their service 24/7.

To say our team need the services of a sport psych, is not the only answer, not even a very critical answer in my opinion. Especially with only possibilities of 3 or 4 meetings and limited time per year. I would rather say our association can better utilize his services, but the Snr National team, will get their psyche from the coach. Will submit my reasons lil later. Great players do not necessaryly mean a great team. And if the great players cannot make a great team, what do ppl expect of our good players. So begs the question, what should we expect ?
Title: Re: Sport Psychology in Trinidad
Post by: asylumseeker on October 23, 2016, 11:06:53 AM
Beyond the quick fix, it is players in the youngest age groups who we need to ensure develop tenacity and context. This should be a work in progress at club level and at national team level.
Title: Re: Sport Psychology in Trinidad
Post by: maxg on October 23, 2016, 11:22:05 AM
yup..agreed..junior Ntl team
Title: Re: Sport Psychology in Trinidad
Post by: maxg on October 24, 2016, 06:36:16 PM

when you get dealt to many square pegs and your board only has round holes...seems best to whittle and adjust the pegs, it's not making them better, they are solid square pegs, best available to you, but adapting them to fit the holes requires a bit of shaving and whittling..this, takes time...we have to work with what we have, sometimes you might shave off to much and it fall right thru, you have to take another peg, even if is square and work with it...sometimes, yuh might dip yuh hand in the box, and pull out a round one, consider yuhself lucky.  ;D
Title: Re: Sport Psychology in Trinidad
Post by: soccerman on October 24, 2016, 08:24:31 PM
Maxg I hear you with the arguments you made and I too believe that a sport physcologist will be very beneficial with our nat'l youth teams. Let's look at Germany for example, they were able to win the last WC with a sport phycsologist on the staff. A team that was made up with great players and a world class coach, powerhouse in world football, all their players playing at elite levels. One can argue that they too could've gotten their psyche from just the coach since they know what it takes mentally to play/win at a high level.
Title: Re: Sport Psychology in Trinidad
Post by: maxg on October 24, 2016, 10:42:53 PM
No doubt every little bit helps..but 2 questions...would they have won without and did they have the tools to win ?

given the following opening statement
"Hans-Dieter Hermann has been looking after the Germany national team for more than a decade. When Philipp Lahm was presented with the World Cup in the Maracana on the 13th July 2014, it was also a special moment for the 54-year-old sports psychologist. That was his reward for his work, his consideration, his empathy and his coaching at the best football team in the world."

he must have been there for 2010,2006, and before, they didn't win. Although they managed 2 runner ups.
 As I said every bit helps, but 1st you have to have the right plan, tools, materials and then you can introduce the workers/staff to build at least a decent house, the bigger the house the more quality items and ppl required. Regardless of size & grandeur, doh, your foundation has to be solid, otherwise it won't last whenever the storms hit, and in TT there always seem to be lots of Hot wind, rain even when for some it's bright and sunny. So sure every bit helps, but first we have to get the right ppl on the field. I was always big on selection. Was lil disappointed when I saw a couple games of our youth teams, on display, what SH has to select from. One or two round pegs, but many square. The ppl making the pegs need the sport psychologist, 1st.
Title: Re: Sport Psychology in Trinidad
Post by: soccerman on October 25, 2016, 11:31:13 AM
I hear you, is a SP the right answer or main priority now? Not sure but in terms of selection, it seems like Hart does not have a lot to select from given 2-3 additions/submissions per game consistently this year. So given the core 25 players on the team, he has to find the best starting 11 and I think he knows who they are but in my opinion (as an observer ;D) we lack consistency collectively. Very rarely will our players have 3, 4, 5 consistent games of performing their role effectively, with the exception 2-3 (judging by the amount of cuss the players get on here).
Anyway I agree that we have to find the right plan but I'm not sure what else we can do given what's at stake with the HEX starting in 3 weeks. Again not sure if a SP is the answer right now but one can serve as a sounding board to help reinforce coach Hart's principles, to cope with adversity and keep players mentally sharp with the best interest of the team in mind. When players breaking camp at night for whatever reason, it shows their minds are elsewhere, maybe distracted, and rest/recovery is not that important. Dr. Hermann, how often were you asked after Brazil what was psychologically decisive in the World Cup victory?

Dr. Hans-Dieter Hermann: Itís difficult to say a number but the question was constantly asked in the weeks after the World Cup. And what was the deciding factor?

Hermann: There were lots of factors that contributed and they were all significant. However, what particularly appeared important to me was that every player in the World Cup squad, including every leader, was ready to put the teamís interests ahead of their own in the pursuit of success.

I think that's an area where our players struggle to grasp, they are aware of what they can accomplish but do they really set their minds to doing so? It can also be that the German staff took over a decade to get it right in terms of the development and preparedness of their players.
Title: Re: Sport Psychology in Trinidad
Post by: maxg on October 25, 2016, 12:24:45 PM
agreed, and if it take that world soccer nation, even in their rigidity and discipline, 10 years, with all the leagues, ppl and expertise to get back to being the best on the day..Imagine for TT. We will be missing the target for awhile, but as long as we keep reducing the variance of miss, even if not consistently, but overall, I will be personally satisfied. I still feel that the association and it's technical director, will benefit most from a SP touring and working the country, in tandem with the technical staff on a full time basis..when the get big contract or leave the country on scholarships, is already to late.
However, note I always felt and said, that more than SPORT psychologists, we more need Sociologist and Public service psychologist in our school system. Not just for the sporting bodies, but for our local society as a whole.
Title: Re: Sport Psychology in Trinidad
Post by: ribbit on October 25, 2016, 02:20:51 PM
sports psychology is a difference maker for Germany and other teams that have addressed technique. but sports psychology cyah fix technical defects. we have players beating man at a pro level but have the first touch of a 6 year old.
Title: Re: Sport Psychology in Trinidad
Post by: maxg on October 25, 2016, 03:27:51 PM
"we have players beating man at a pro level but have the first touch of a 6 year old."  :rotfl:
Title: Re: Sport Psychology in Trinidad
Post by: lefty on October 25, 2016, 03:55:17 PM
just puttin it out there but alyuh ever notice how calm and determined while under pressure the 06 warriors were, we fall behind man jus shrug dey shoulders like no scene and got back to work, dat conditioning lasted up until the blacklist, then we lost it again ...did we have an SP then or was that Beenie's doing....because there was notable calmness under fire that I had never seen before and have never seen since
Title: Re: Sport Psychology in Trinidad
Post by: asylumseeker on December 11, 2016, 08:13:19 PM
Also posted the article on Arsenal's sport psych hire ( to stimulate discussion on this thread.

As Arsenal leads the way, I want you all to consider the totality of characteristics/variables that such personnel should possess.

Yuh don't want someone in the position who is merely marking time or merely scratching the surface.