Sports Psychology
Problems Page

    When I started out, I intended to list here a wide range of different types of problems student-athletes face.  It soon became apparent that even a basic list would consume an immense amount of space and information.  To make the analysis simpler for the student, I decided to take a different tack.

    Before we begin any sort of action to correct difficulties we are experiencing, it is important that we know what those difficulties are.  I hesitate to use the word "problem", because it has a negative connotation, but I'd ask you to see it in the same way that we see a math problem.  We have a set of data and variables which we must analyze carefully in order to understand an appropriate answer.  When you see 2 + 2 = ?, you analyze the problem and recognize the values the numbers represent, the meaning of the symbols presented, and the procedure desired, as well as the answer.  The complexity occurs when we realize that human beings, with all their possible physical, emotional, and intellectual responses to situations, are a much more complicated equation than anything we've ever faced in math class.  In order to improve on our performance, we need to work that equation a little bit, and see what it might tell us.

    Let's approach the problem in stages.  Before you go any further, I want you to make a list for your notebook.  Write down what you think are the 5 most stress-producing concerns for student-athletes like you.  Put this list in your notebook, and then move on to the next section.

    The next thing to do is to look at yourself as an individual.  You're going to take a look at your own problems.  (I am always reluctant to give examples for these kinds of exercises, because I want you to look at yourself objectively, and not simply reword my examples to fit your situation.  Please bear with me.)
     In looking for your answers to the following questions, it might be helpful to know where to look.  Problems that inhibit our athletic performance have to come from one of two sources (or a combination of them), either internal or external.  Internal problems come from our physical limitations, feelings that make us unhappy, or thoughts that "get in the way" of our ability to do our best.  We're going to try to use what you are learning in this class to improve your functioning, regardless which of those internal problems you are experiencing.  External problems come from our environment: family, friends, coaches, teammates, school situations, etc.  Our relationships with others often prevent us from focusing correctly on our performance, and lead us to an inferior result.  It is important to be aware of the ways those situations effect us, and techniques from this class can be helpful in that regard too.
    For this assignment, I want you to make a list of everything you can think of (yes, we're brainstorming again) that keeps you from achieving your full potential as an athlete.  To reword that, make a list of every thought, feeling, or physical inhibition that prevents you from becoming everything you think you can be as an athlete, including relationship problems.  Make the list as long as it needs to be to get all your ideas out on paper.

    Take the list you just made in Assignment 2, and prioritize it.  You don't need to rewrite it, just take a different color pen and put numbers out in the margin that will show which ones are more important than the others.  Base your ratings on how often these difficulties occur, how much they effect you, and the amount of good it will do you to have them resolved.

After these assignments are done, and before you go on, come talk with me about your results.

Move on the the Goals page.

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