Sport is much more than a physical phenomenon shaped by the movements and coordinated activation of the muscles of the body; after all this superficial and directly observable layer, there are psychological and emotional factors to consider.
And in the same way that a sports competition is not always won by the strongest or most agile person, anything to do with the management of emotions, thoughts and one’s own behavior in general is a piece without. who has an incomplete view of athletic performance.
Therefore, in this article we will see how to work to improve sports performance from one of the most effective psychological intervention models: cognitive-behavioral.
What is cognitive behavioral therapy?
What is the goal of psychological intervention? The answer to this question depends, among other things, on the problems and needs that the person addressing the professional wishes to address; but it also depends on the theoretical-practical model from which the psychologist starts. And it is that something as complex as mental and behavioral phenomena can be approached from different philosophical and meta-psychological perspectives, that is to say from systems of concepts through which we define what is happening. happening and what can be done.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is, as the name suggests, a model in which the psychological is classified into two main categories: Behavioral, which can be observed directly and objectively by other people, and cognitive, which refers to the thought patterns and belief systems from which people interpret what we perceive.
Thus, the cognitive-behavioral model proposes to intervene through these two paths: the mental processes which constitute the way of thinking and feeling of the person, and his way of interacting with his environment and with the others through the customs. , habits, etc. Approaching the problem from both sides leads to faster and more consistent results, as these two processes reinforce each other.
How is athletic performance improved from this model of psychology?
What we have seen so far serves to understand how the cognitive-behavioral model is used to provide effective solutions to the person seeking psychological change; but this is not limited to intervention in psychopathologies. The same principles can be used in people who do not have diagnosable disorders and who wish to progress in certain aspects. Therefore, it is also used in sports psychology. Here are some of its main functions.
1. Development of time management habits
Time management is the key to any training process. Small problems in this area can drastically limit an athlete’s progress in the short, medium and long term. For this reason, the cognitive-behavioral model works, if necessary, to get the person to commit to their training program and not to fall into comfortable and forgiving dynamics that anchor them in their comfort zone.
2. Development of self-motivation capacity
Be motivated it is very important, especially in the early stages of following a training program, as well as before important events for one’s own sports career.. In this way, it is more difficult to give in to the small satisfactions that come at the expense of giving up much greater rewards that we can obtain in the medium and long term.
3. Improved attentional management skills
Knowing how to direct the same attention to what matters is one of the most important aspects of sports psychology; it depends on not wasting time with distractions both in test preparation and at key sporting events. From the cognitive-behavioral model, forms of training are proposed to properly manage the ability to concentrate, isolate distractors, etc.
4. Managing negative emotions
Anxiety and discouragementWhile they are not in themselves a problem in all cases, they are some of the emotions and feelings that can lead athletes to self-sabotage if they do not know how to cope well. Therefore, psychologists help in the process of quickly and reliably identifying emotions and applying measures to channel them correctly.
5. Adaptation to a good dynamic of socialization and interaction with the environment
Life does not end in the hours spent playing sports, and everything that happens during those hours away from the driving range also influences performance as well as no less important emotional well-being. From the cognitive-behavioral psychological intervention, we work to detect possible problems over time, develop habits that allow you to be happy beyond sport, spend quality time with others, etc.
Would you like to benefit from professional psychological assistance?
If you spend part of your time in sports and would like to benefit from sports psychology services, contact me. I am a psychologist specializing in the Cognitive Behavioral Intervention Model and have spent many years working with individuals and businesses and organizations, in person or online.
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