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Water Polo's winning mindsets
12 February 2017

Water Polo Performance Psychology Workshop

12th February 2017, DSR
Story by Luke Zaccaria, WAIS Sprint Cyclist

On the 12thof February Water Polo Western Australia athletes joined Heather and myself for their second installment of the Developing Champions workshops where we covered Performance Psychology.

The mental and psychological aspect of sport is a major component. We as athletes spend multiple hours per week training our bodies to be in peak physical condition over many months, but if we neglect the mental aspect of sport it can all fall apart on competition day. For these young water polo players to already be getting exposed to this at an early stage in their sporting pathway is a major advantage over their opposition.

We first learnt about the impact the Reticular Activation System (RAS) has on our ability to filter how we perceive activities. Understanding this shows us that negative thoughts like "I’m no good at this or this is too hard” would lead to a negative result versus having a more positive mindset would have a higher percent chance of the athlete completing the task.

This then flowed into the next topic of a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset, where they learnt that a majority of the world’s best athletes had growth mindsets. When the group did a self-assessment it was pleasing to see all of these athletes showed strong signs of growth mindset which will play a major roll in their longevity in sport.

We finished off the workshop with some progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), which is a very handy tool for winding down at the end of the day or preparing us to focus on the task at hand by having a clear mind.

The athletes must be commended on their effort and focus especially early on a Sunday morning, I look forward to what they achieve in the near future!

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