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Performance mindsets
19 April 2017

Squash/Volleyball/Table Tennis Psychology Workshop

19th April 2017, WA Squash
Story by Georgia Wilson, WAIS Hockey Scholarship Holder
The month of April saw Western Australia’s aspiring top junior squash, volleyball and table tennis athletes reunite for their second developing champions workshop. The workshop was centred around performance psychology and the day began by acknowledging table tennis superstar Holly who had recent success at the junior world championships in Fiji. Her coach read a poem he had compiled about the hard working athlete Holly had developed into and everyone listening was touched.

Athletes soon learned about the mechanics of the brand and how teenagers base their actions on emotional thoughts rather than cognitive thoughts. Learning this allowed athletes to discover about how they are more susceptible to risk-taking behaviours during adolescence and we discussed how the developing brain affects our sporting performance decisions.

Negative self-talk was also a topic of discussion amongst the group with the reticular activating system paying attention to only what is most important. Olympic Kayaker Jesse Phillips, the group facilitator, also highlighted the importance of not dwelling on the mistake made in order to reduce repeated errors. A group activity involved the athletes compiling a series of self-talk quotes and affirmations that they can use to remind themselves that they are in control.

Athletes also identified different emotions and the role they have in our lives alongside recognising the most valuable members of our social support network and drawing on their continual assistance during times of need. The workshop ended by exploring different mental strategies and mental strength tools to allow athletes to perform at their peak during crucial sporting moments. A great day was had by all and the willingness of athletes to further explore this vital field was inspiring.

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