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Sport Psychology

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"Once an athlete has mastered all the technical and physical qualities required to be successful on the international circuit, then success is 10% physical and 90% mental."

Forty or so years ago it was not that difficult for an individual or a country to dominate a sport, as they were generally the only ones putting a concentrated effort into that sport on the international scene. However, once more athletes in various countries began serious full time, year around training in a specific sport with government funding, the playing field evened out a bit. Although, even at this stage, especially in archery, the Korean women still dominate. However, at the Beijing Olympics 2008, in the single events the Korean men and women had to be satisfied with 2nd place, although in the Team events, both the men and women were a class on their own.

However, the last few Olympics and other world tournaments have shown that other countries are catching up. The increase of Korean Head Coaches being now employed by many countries has narrowed this gap. This coupled with the increased number of government sponsored National Sporting Institutes, which employ sophisticated technologies in the training of athletes and the use of a plethora of professionals, such as experts in biomechanics, physiotherapist, exercise physiologists, weight training experts, sport psychologists and other specialist trainers has reduced this gap even more.

To become an outstanding athlete in the future will be even more challenging than it is today, but basically there are four main ingredients to success, being,
 • talent
 • hard work
 • simulation and
 • mental training

Even though the majority of athletes and coaches recognise the importance of mental training, many still pay lip service to it, as basically mental training is not easy and takes a lot of time and focus to acquire mental skills to put one apart from the opposition. Although many coaches are keenly aware and enthusiastic about the potential of mental training, they do not feel that they are qualified enough or have sufficient detailed knowledge to develop a program for their athletes and fail to act. As was said, acquiring mental skills is not easy and mostly difficult to measure. It is so much 'easier' to shoot arrows, which provide instantaneous feedback. However, this type of thinking is flawed and the athlete will never reach their full potential.

Once the athlete has acquired the technical and physical qualities required, it is then the mental toughness which will allow him/her to be successful and effectively compete on the world stage. We cannot stress it strongly enough that unless the athlete and/or coach realizes that unless they are well prepared psychologically, they will find it impossible to successfully compete at the highest level and remain at the top for years to come.

In this section we will aim to provide, over time, various tools and papers to assist athletes and coaches alike to develop psychological skills to enhance their performances.

Recommended Reading

You cannot control things that are impossible to control.

You cannot control the past; you cannot control things that happen purely by chance; you cannot control the actions, reactions or incompetency of people around you. Your goals are best served when you focus your energy on things that are within your control. Your thoughts are within your control. Your thoughts direct your focus, beliefs and performance. Think about failure and you become fearful. Think about errors and they are yours. Think about your strengths and you feel strong. Think that you CAN, and you WILL!.

- Adapted from In Pursuit of Excellence - by Terry Orlick, PhD

Current Articles/Books on the various aspects of Sports Psychology

 1. The Principle of Reinforcement - by Lanny Bassham

 1b. French translation Le Renforcement

 2. How to Avoid Choking under Pressure - by Elizabeth Svoboda (Scientific American)

 3. Books on Archery Mental Management - by Lanny Bassham.

 4. In Pursuit of Excellence - Sports Psychology by Terry Orlick PhD

 5. What is the 'ideal' brain activity during the shooting process?
Neurological Biofeedback Experiment - An Exciting Look Into the Archer's Mind

 5b. German translation "Neurologisches Bio-Feedback-Experiment

 6. Mindsets: Developing Talent Through a Growth Mindset - by Carol S. Dweck, Stanford University.

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