Thursday, January 7, 2010

And Now a Word (or Two) From Our Sponsor

One of our favorite sponsors is the Lakefront Wellness Center in Pewaukee. They offer a host of services for distance runners including massage therapy, nutrition consultation and yoga. But one of their more interesting specialties is sports psychology. Here is a piece on this topic from one of their psychologists that I thought might be appropriate for Icebreaker Indoor Marathon participants.

What is sport psychology?
By Dr. Beth Johnson

It is the science of human behavior as it applies to sport. Sport psychologists are interested in finding methods to overcome normal and abnormal thought processes that interfere with athletic performance.

Anxiety is a normal emotional response to competition. This normal response can become abnormal if it interferes with performance…

· One triathlete became so nervous that she hyperventilated in the swim portion of the triathlon. She needed to be rescued from the water.
· A marathoner became so nervous at the start that he ran the first three miles one minute under his race pace. He struggled for the next 10 miles because he didn’t keep on pace.
· A racer had reached her best time in the 5K but has never reached it again. She has become preoccupied with the time and beating it. The result has been that she has lost time.
· An athlete over-trained for the triathlon and had to drop out because of a knee injury. He did not feel that he was prepared enough unless he completed a triathlon at every workout.
· A gymnast was told she needed to lose 5 pounds to eliminate an unsightly bump in her abdomen. The gymnast started to restrict her diet and developed anemia.
· A high school cross country runner wanted to make varsity. She was within 10 seconds of reaching this goal. She ran varsity during practice but focused excessively on her teammates’ times and “psyched” herself out in competition. She was always one spot away from making varsity.
· A natural athlete engaged in self-destructive behaviors and was kicked off the team.
· A soccer player learned to hate his sport because it caused arguments with his father.

The examples are as limitless as there are athletes. The sport psychologist doesn't offer “cookie cutter” solutions. Sport psychology offers the expertise of a doctor of psychology who specializes in personality assessment. Strategies are developed and tailored to meet your needs and utilize your strengths. Sport psychology requires an interaction between you and the expert-it can’t be accomplished by reading alone!

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