When communicating, coaches tend to focus on the content of the messages they send: "Run hard"; "Follow through." In doing so, they believe that the information is objective and that athletes will always receive the message as intended. That belief is far from the truth.
Coaches key in making competition a positive or negative sport experience for athletes
Competition is not responsible for either the positive or the negative consequences so frequently highlighted by the media. The impact of competition, both helpful and detrimental, results not from competition itself but from how it is organized and conducted. As a coach, you play a major role in making sport a positive competitive experience—or not.
We marvel at the steely nerves, acute concentration, and flawless execution exhibited on the 18th green, at the free-throw line, in the starting blocks, and on the balance beam. While state-of-the-art training regimens have extended athletes’ physical boundaries, more and more coaches are realizing the importance of sport psychology in taking athletic performance to new levels. Tomorrow’s record-breaking accomplishments will not be the result of athletes’ training harder physically, but of athletes’ training smarter mentally.
Sport Psychology for Coaches provides information that coaches need to help athletes build mental toughness and achieve excellence—in sport and in life. As a coach, you’ll gain a big-picture perspective on the mental side of sport by examining how athletes act, think, and feel when they practice and compete. You’ll learn to use such mental tools as goal setting, imagery, relaxation, energization, and self-talk to help your athletes build mental training programs. You’ll also see how assisting your athletes in developing mental skills such as motivation, energy management, focus, stress management, and self-confidence leads to increased enjoyment, improved life skills, and enhanced performance. And you’ll discover how to put it all together into mental plans and mental skills training programs that allow your athletes to attain and maintain a mind-set that fosters peak performance.
The easy-to-follow format of the text includes learning objectives that introduce each chapter, sidebars illustrating sport-specific applications of key concepts and principles, chapter summaries organized by content and sequence, key terms, chapter review questions, a comprehensive glossary, and other useful resources to help readers implement mental training programs for athletes.
Written primarily for high school coaches, Sport Psychology for Coaches is a practical, easy-to-use resource reflecting the two authors’ combined 45 years of teaching, coaching, researching, and consulting experience. It reflects principles that are not only consistent with the latest theory and research, but have stood the test of time and worked for coaches and athletes in all sports at all levels. You’ll come away from Sport Psychology for Coaches with a greater understanding and appreciation for sport psychology and the practical knowledge you need to put it to work for you and your athletes.
Produced by the American Sport Education Program (ASEP) Sport Psychology for Coaches is one of four texts included in the ASEP Silver Level series.
ASEP Silver Level Series Preface
Part I Creating a Solid Foundation
Chapter 1 Coaching Philosophy
Developing a Positive Coaching Philosophy
Understanding Competition and Using It Constructively
Chapter 2 Communication
What Is Communication?
Sending Effective Messages
Conflicts and Confrontations
Chapter 3 Introduction to Mental Skills Training
Psychological Factors and Performance Excellence
Does MST Work?
The MST Approach
Roadblocks and Myths Surrounding MST
Part II Developing Mental Training Tools
Chapter 4 Goal Setting
What Are Goals and Why Use Them?
Characteristics of Effective Goals
Making Goals Work: The Goal Implementation Process
Developing Athletes’ Goal-Setting Skills
Chapter 5 Imagery
What Is Imagery?
Factors Influencing the Effectiveness of Imagery
Using Imagery Effectively
Developing an Imagery Training Program
Chapter 6 Relaxation and Energization
What Is Relaxation?
What Is Energization?
Developing Athletes’ Relaxation and Energization Skills
Chapter 7 Self-Talk
What Is Self-Talk?
How Self-Talk Works
Positive Versus Negative Thinking
Developing Athletes’ Smart-Talk Skills
Part III Enhancing Mental Skills
Chapter 8 Motivation
What Is Motivation?
Athletes’ Needs and Intrinsic Motivation
Impact of Rewards
Handling Success and Failure
Creating a Mastery-Oriented Motivational Atmosphere
Chapter 9 Energy Management
Understanding Energy Management
How Does Arousal Affect Performance?
Why Underarousal and Overarousal Impair Performance
Determining Optimal Energy Zones
Mental Side of Arousal
Developing Athletes’ Energy Management Skills
Chapter 10 Attention
Sustaining Focus: Concentration
Implementing an Attentional Skills Program
Chapter 12 Self-Confidence
Developing Team Confidence
Developing and Maintaining Self-Confidence During Competition
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Confidence Booster or Deflator?
Developing Athletes’ Self-Confidence
Final Thoughts: Developing Ultimate Confidence
Part IV Integrating Mental Training Tools and Skills
Chapter 13 Mental Plans
Understanding Mental Plans
Types of Mental Plans
Role of Triggers, Releases, and Cue Words
Developing Mental Plans
Developing Athletes’ Mental Toughness Skills
Chapter 14 Mental Skills Training Programs Getting Started
Components of Effective MST Programs
Implementing a Basic MST Program
Appendix A: Answers to Review Questions
Appendix B: Relaxation and Energization Scripts
Appendix C: Test of Performance Strategies
References and Resources
About the Authors
Damon Burton is a professor of sport psychology at the University of Idaho and has taught undergraduate and graduate applied sport psychology courses since 1983. At Idaho, Burton created master's and doctoral programs to develop sport psychology consultants with strong backgrounds in both counseling and performance enhancement. A fellow and former president of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP), he is an AASP-certified consultant and past chair of the certification committee. A former athlete and coach who has worked extensively in coaching education for almost 30 years, educating over 4,500 coaches, Burton has consulted with coaches and athletes from youth sport to Olympic and professional levels on the development of mental skills in both individual and team settings. He coauthored Competitive Anxiety in Sport, authored or coauthored numerous research studies evaluating the effectiveness of mental skills training programs, and supervised or mentored many master's and doctoral students in their work helping coaches and athletes develop mental skills. Burton is past chair of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) Sport Psychology Academy and a longtime member of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA). He earned a master's degree in sport psychology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a PhD in sport psychology from the University of Illinois, specializing in applied sport psychology and coaching education.
Thomas D. Raedeke is associate professor of sport and exercise psychology at East Carolina University. Since 1992, Raedeke has taught graduate and undergraduate applied sport psychology courses focusing on coaching education and mental skills training at the University of Oregon, University of Colorado, and East Carolina University, earning the University of North Carolina's Board of Governor Distinguished Professor for Teaching Award in 2007. A research expert on motivation, stress, and burnout, Raedeke has worked with athletes and coaches from a variety of sport types and skill levels. He is a certified consultant through the Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP), where he is chair of the Health and Exercise Psychology Committee. He is also a member of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA) and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD). Raedeke is past chair of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) Sport and Exercise Psychology Academy. A former collegiate wrestler, Dr. Raedeke earned his master's degree from the University of Idaho and a PhD from the University of Oregon, with a focus on sport and exercise psychology. He has also served as a research assistant in sport psychology at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and as an instructor for American Sport Education Program (ASEP) coaching courses.