How mentally prepared are you before games and how focused are you during games? With 80% of sports played in the head the area of sport psychology is of paramount importance to our sports development. Dr Gaj Ravichandren will help you to assess your mental toughness using a combination of group workshops and one on one meetings to help you discover much more about yourself and your game plan.
For example, enhancing self-awareness of handling pressure and general coping skills can be achieved by asking athletes to identify their Optimal Emotional Performance Zone. Players first identify a "Best Ever Performance" and recall preferences for both behaviours/activities and emotions pre-game, the day, night, morning or afternoon before the game.
Next they consider a list of positive and negative emotions and, from reflection of best ever moments in the game, identify both the content and intensity of helpful emotions. Both negative emotions (e.g., tense, furious, aggressive) and positive emotions (e.g., eager, sure, determined) can be regarded as helpful to performance. Once these optimal emotions and their intensity have been established players are asked to list examples of both self-talk (self-statements) and behaviours that produce these emotions.
Another example of what he does is Performance Profiling which is a procedure coaches and athletes can use to both identify the training objectives of mental skills and facilitate adherence of athletes to mental skills training
There are several benefits to coaches and athletes who employ performance profiling:
- A visual display is created of the athlete's evaluation of specific mental skills (strengths and weaknesses).
- Athletes, as well as coaches, identify the qualities required for consistent performance.
- Athlete self-assessments can be matched with that of the coach at different time periods in a season.
- Priorities are established for mental skills training.
- Training progress is measured
In practice, coaches can simply ask players to rate themselves against a list of fundamental mental skills or qualities required for top performances in cricket (from 0 = very poor, to 10 = very strong). These can be compared with the coach’s ratings of each player and both coach and athlete can discuss any discrepancies. Players could also be asked to rate themselves 'currently' and 'ideally', or pre-season self-ratings could be compared with later assessments early, mid, or late competitive season. In all cases, both the coach and player are presented with a picture of training priorities for athlete mental skill development, which can then be integrated within daily or weekly coaching plans.