Aleiyah Kristin

Is a contributor to The Almost Doctor’s Channel.

How Modern Athletes Utilize Psychological Training For Performance

The great Yogi Berra once said, “Baseball is 90% mental. The other half is physical.” He might have gotten his math mixed up, but he made a valid point, and it applies to not only America’s favorite pastime, but to all sports. Classic one-liners aside, competing in sports is about mental toughness as much as it is physical prowess. Eastern European nations recognized early on the importance of the mental aspect of sports, and incorporated sports psychology into the training regimens of their Olympic athletes. Now, virtually all-professional teams and modern athletes utilize psychological training in every major sport around the world by either employing sports psychologists or partnering with them. Most psychologists believe that having a great skill set does not necessarily ensure success in sports. Elite level athletes need to be mentally strong. Psychologist Richard Koestner claims that at an elite level (e.g., professional leagues, world championships, and the Olympics), mental skills are “responsible for between 50% and 90% of the variance in performance during important events or competitions.” In other words, when two elite athletes face off, the winner will most likely be the one with the better mental acumen.  Mental training has become a crucial part of sports, notably individual sports like figure skating, diving, and golf, which are “at the high end of the mental skills continuum.” The goal of mental training, therefore, is to prevent the mind...