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Maintaining a Positive State of Mind (Sport psychology)
Through my involvement in competitive sport fishing I have witnessed the dominance of a small group of anglers. Year over year this small group of anglers consistently win bass tournaments. This is especially impressive when you consider the fact that in fishing the conditions are always changing. What I have found is that to be consistent like this they have complete control over their thoughts and emotions when disappointment and challenges come their way. Those challenges can be personal, environmental or mechanical.
Many top fishing athletes would agree that Sports Psychology and personal development play a big role in their success. In today’s culture the demands on our time and energy have never been higher. Over the next few years we plan to explore new ways to implement sports psychology to improve your life and performance in fishing.
The biggest challenge we face in our lives today is that we are all to busy. Not getting proper rest will contribute to stress and anxiety. Proper rest is important before a competition. Lack of rest and relaxation will make you more vulnerable to having negative feelings and thoughts.
During a day when we catch ourselves feeling defeated we can learn how to reset. What we can learn from the top sport athelete's is how they can maintain a positive state of mind. Our emotions and thoughts control our behaviour's. To improve our performance we must become stronger mentally. That doesn’t mean by will power. It can only be done by training and developing the skills to master your thoughts. During events when we are struggling we can learn to reset our brain and bodies to stay confident and focused.
Here is an exert from an article written by Lindsay Thornton, Ed.D., CC-AASP, United States Olympic Committee
Interest in sports psychology applications among National Olympic Committees and professional teams has been growing with the goal of giving players a competitive edge in performance and recovery.
Excessive self-talk or self-instruction can interfere with an athlete’s technical performance. This phenomenon has been demonstrated in studies with shooting athletes (Hillman, Appareis, Janelle, & Hattifield, 2000), and is commonly reported by athletes when they describe “overthinking” or “paralysis-by-analysis”. With neurofeedback training, athletes can come to understand that there is often a certain emotional tone to the type of thinking that does not enhance performance - it might be doubt or nervousness that leads to the brain doing extra checks or exerting more mental effort than is needed in order to meet the desire to feel that one is working hard. This activity can be measured with a sensor on the head that captures the EEG output from a selected area of the cortex. When an athlete realizes that thought can still occur, but certain types of thoughts are unlikely to support success, he can practice identifying the occurrence of this state, then quiet and redirect his mind toward more useful states and/or concrete cues. Similar to focusing, quieting can be practiced with increasing pressure simulation to mimic what might be experienced at competitions.
Brief recovery/relaxation is often compared to pressing the reset button in training or competition. Specific times when an athlete feels he/she can have a brief recovery during performance are identified, and routines are practiced to create this state. Brief cognitive recovery typically takes the form of giving the brain a break from the attentional demands of sport by doing something else that is less taxing on the attention networks in the brain.