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Mental Skills for Triathlon. Iowa HEAT Workshop Cathryn Lucas-Carr. About Me!. PhD student in Health & Sports Studies Working toward AASP certification as a Sport Psychology Consultant Runner & triathlete!!!. Why Mental Skills for Triathlon?.

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mental skills for triathlon

Mental Skills for Triathlon

Iowa HEAT Workshop

Cathryn Lucas-Carr

about me
About Me!
  • PhD student in Health & Sports Studies
  • Working toward AASP certification as a Sport Psychology Consultant
  • Runner & triathlete!!!
why mental skills for triathlon
Why Mental Skills for Triathlon?
  • Triathlon – 3 sports (or 4 if you count the transitions!!!) in one
    • Do you have a discipline that you’d say is your weakness?
    • You might find that mental skills will help!
  • Lots of time out on the course stuck inside our own heads!!

“Maintain your strengths, train your weaknesses”

mental skills for physical activity competition
Mental Skills for Physical Activity & Competition
  • Focus & Concentration
  • Negative Thought Stoppage & Positive Self-Talk
  • Overcoming Mistakes or Setbacks
  • Relaxation, Visualization & Imagery
  • Controlling Emotions & Anxiety
  • Goal Setting
    • Training Strategies
    • Race Strategies
focus concentration
Focus & Concentration

Internal, Narrow External, Narrow

(Rehearse) (Act/React)

Internal, Wide External, Wide

(Analyze) (Assess)

focus concentration1
Focus & Concentration
  • Workshop Practice
    • 99s
    • Walkabout
  • Which were you able to better concentrate during?
  • During periods with “no distractions,” did you find your mind wandering?
    • What did you think about?
focus concentration2
Focus & Concentration
  • Practice at Home
    • Counting breaths w/ and w/o distractions
    • Word searches w/ and w/o distractions
  • Practice while training
    • Think about a specific topic for 30 seconds without interruption (build from there!)
    • Bring your focus to various parts of your body, and complete “status checks”
    • Play “I spy” games while training
what happens when the workouts are just really tough
What happens when the workouts are just really tough???
  • Internal Thoughts
    • Focus specifically on how your body is feeling or technique
    • Control breathing, count strides, strokes, RPMs
  • External Thoughts
    • Turn your attention away from screaming lungs/muscles
    • Have a “go to” thinking subject
    • Play internal decorator to the houses you pass
  • Other Strategies
    • Break the workout/race into do-able sections
    • Mantras
  • Short, self-affirming phrases to help you stay focused and/or get you through the tough spots
    • Keep it Short & Simple
      • One sentence or less
    • Keep it Positive
      • Moving toward a goal or challenge
    • Keep it Energized
      • Use action verbs or adjectives
    • Provide Instructions for yourself
      • Get up this hill!
negative thought stoppage positive self talk
Negative Thought Stoppage & Positive Self-Talk
  • Self-talk is a way we internalize our environment, thoughts, and behaviors.
  • Our self-talk often reflects our mood, and can often spiral out of control. This is called negative self-talk.
    • With negative self-talk, many athletes talk themselves out of a good performance.
  • We can develop positive self-talk
negative self talk
Negative Self-Talk
  • How can we stop negative self talk?
    • We can learn to recognize our triggers and intercept negative self-talk before it begins!
    • We can create positive affirmations to reinforce our confidence!
    • We can replace our negative thoughts with positive ones!
    • Learning positive self-talk can keep us relaxed in a variety of situations!
negative thought stoppage
Negative Thought Stoppage
  • Specific strategies for reversing negative self-talk
    • Recognizing when we are starting have negative thoughts
    • Thought stoppage w/ physical or verbal cue
    • Replacing a negative thought with a positive affirmation
    • Performance reviews and achievement reminders
visualization imagery
Visualization & Imagery
  • What is Imagery?
    • Seeing yourself performing & rehearsing a skill
    • Imagining yourself competing in a specific situation
    • Not just seeing: Incorporate sounds, smells, tastes, & feelings
    • Reproduction of ALL sensory information that produces a skill
how do you do visualization
How do you do visualization?
  • Maintain a positive approach. Picture yourself completing the skills well, the perfect pass or shot.
  • Image in ‘real time’. Imagine yourself completing the skill at the speed you would normally complete it. Timing is a critical part of sport, and getting your body prepared for ‘real time’ situations will help you when those situations arise.
  • Feel the movements. Focus on how all the muscles involved feel during that skill, how your equipment feels. You should really feel as if you are in the situation.
  • Transition Visualization
    • 1st: visualize the set-up of your transition
    • 2nd: visualize yourself going through the transition, from the swim exit, to your transition space, and out the bike start.
  • Visualizing a problem or setback can help you stay calm and deal with it when it happens
    • Taking care of a flat tire
    • Your reaction to “dead legs” on the run
  • Staying relaxed is a good way to ensure a good performance.
    • As with the other mental skills we must PRACTICE relaxation
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is a good way to learn how to feel when your muscles are relaxed
    • Then you can do “targeted spot checks”