Sports Psychologist Talk

Last Thursday, we had the incredible opportunity to hear Sarah Murray talk about sports psychology and the importance of mindset in our futures with sport. She began by talking about the barriers and obstacles any athlete will face in their futures. Some of these included injuries, performance dips and even how life gets in the way. But the question she asked us was ‘how do we overcome these challenges?’. The answer is resilience. The only thing standing in between success and failure is mental toughness.

She challenged the audience with the question of “Do we have to change our goals or just the route to get there?” To begin with I thought only the route needs to change because we shouldn’t just give up at the first hurdle but we then learnt that changing the goals is also ok at some points. We need to make achievable goals to motivate ourselves through our sports journeys and these goals should be set frequently. She told us that learning doesn’t take place via our experiences, it takes place when we reflect on those experiences. Feedback from coaches and peers helps us with this and she began to talk about how we receive it positively.

We then discussed how we respond to criticism and coaching. We learnt that when we receive criticism we should view it constructively, and look at it through an ‘opportunity frame’ rather than a ‘threat frame’. For example: ‘What can I learn from this?’ and ‘Now I will be prepared for this situation next time!’ rather than ‘I’m not good enough’ and ‘I’m just going to give up’. Seeing this positive side of criticism will allow us to bounce back stronger from the challenges we face.

Finally, she ended her talk by reflecting on what we can control and change to make us the best athletes we can be. We need to ensure our head is where our feet are and stop thinking about what we could, or should, have done differently. We need to live in the present moment as that is the only thing we are able to control.

Emily, Rachel & Beth
Talented Performer Programme

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