Athletes can learn mental techniques for performance enhancement in a few hours
Athletes who want to learn mental techniques that enable them to perform better do not have to travel to a remote monastery in the Himalayas to study with mystical Buddhist monks. They only need four instruction sessions of one hour each. This is apparent from a small qualitative study that British scientists published in 2003 in the Sport Psychologist.
The researchers experimented with 4 male students aged 19-21, who spent a lot of time in the gym at the University of Portsmouth. The researchers invited the students to do a simulated triathlon consisting of 2 kilometers of rowing, 5 kilometers of cycling and 3 kilometers of running. After the students had done this a few times, for 4 days the students were given an hour lesson on mental performance enhancing techniques. Each lesson took less than an hour.
The students learned how to set realistic goals for themselves. They also learned how to do relaxation exercises, so they were less stressed before and during the triathlon. The students learnt how they could prepare themselves for difficult moments through visualization exercises. Finally, they learned how to encourage themselves during the triathlon through self talk.
And then, armed with the new knowledge, the students did the simulated triathlon a few more times.
The figures below show that the students were able to complete their course in a shorter time after they had learned their mental techniques [intervention phase].
"The present study demonstrates that a mental skills training package combining goal setting, relaxation, imagery, and self-talk was beneficial in enhancing competitive gymnasium triathlon performance", the British summarize.
More information about the techniques that the British have taught their test subjects can be found in the researchers' publication. A link to the full article is below.
The Sport Psychologist, 2003, 17, 318-17.
Better weight loss results with self-hypnosis 30.05.2016
An imaginary training can replace the real thing 08.04.2012
Muscle groups work harder during a set if you focus on them 26.11.2009
Imagery training makes calf muscles stronger
You can train muscles just by thinking about training. If you take the time to sit and imagine that you are doing, let's say, bench presses with an enormous weight, then your pecs, delts and triceps will automatically become stronger.
Words of encouragement make you stronger and fitter
Your maximal strength and maximal oxygen uptake may increase if someone encourages you. The effect of encouragement may depend upon your personality type.
Torn tendons recover faster with imaginary training
After surgeons have repaired torn tendons in the hand and lower arm, patients require at least twelve weeks to recover. Dutch researcher Martin Stenekes discovered that imaginary training speeds up recovery.