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What is Mental Training

Table of Contents

What is Mental Training


Sports psychology also includes mental training, or using psychological methods to improve the athlete’s ability and resilience. This is an important factor in reaching maximum performance on the playing field, and other high-pressure situations.

Core Elements

Goal Setting: The principles of goal setting (Locke & Latham, A Theory of Goal Setting).
Visualization or Imagery: Imagery and mental practice (Murphy & Jowdy, Mental Rehearsal of Successful Performance).
Concentration and Focus Training: Attention and Distraction Prevention Techniques (Nideffer, The Ethics and Practice of Applied Sport Psychology).
Self-Talk: Harnessing the power of internal dialogue (Weinberg & Gould, Foundations in Sport and Exercise)
Emotional Regulation: Hanin’s Emotions in Sport Managing emotions through psychological techniques.
Relaxation Techniques: For example, relaxation exercises such as deep breathing (Jones, Relaxation and Energizing Techniques for Regulation of Arousal).

Applications in Sports

Performance Enhancement: This is backed up by Vealey’s ‘Conceptualization of Sport-Confidence and Competitive Orientation’.
Recovery from Injuries: Coping with an Injury (Brewer, Psychological Aspects of Sport-Injury Rehabilitation).
Team Building: Nurtured by Carron’s book Cohesion in Sport Teams.
Managing Pressure: These are techniques derived from Orlick’s Psyching for Sport.

Training Methods

Guided Sessions: Organized by techniques from Weinberg & Gould’s Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology.
Workshops and Seminars: Specialized group courses in mental skills training.
Self-Practice: Jean Williams ‘book Applied Sport Psychology describes how athletes can incorporate important mental training techniques into their daily routines.
Research and Theoretical Foundations:
Based upon cognitive-behavioral theory and humanistic psychology. Its research publications are the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology and the International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching.


Studies into the psychological foundations of sport conducted by Gould et al. also indicate increased sports performance and greater ability to concentrate.
Hanin’s research in Emotions in Sport focuses on improving controls over stress and anxiety.
Confidence and self-belief are key to Weinberg & Gould’s work.