During the past century, the psychology of athletic preparation and performance for athletes before and during competition has been the subject matter of research studies and intense debates. The fast-growing field of sport psychology has significantly changed our lives, lives of many athletes, their relatives and coaches, and other sport and exercise professionals all over the world. The effective performance of athletes before and during competitions is the connection of physical, psychological, technical and mental preparation, which influences athlete’s performance before and during competition. Competitions influence athletic body and mind, which work together during preparation and performance to produce effective results. During athletic competition, well-prepared and trained athletes should regulate their speed of work output for optimizing overall result and performance. Nowadays, practice and exercise are the main components in athletic life. They help athletes study important and necessary physical and mental skills for improving performance during competition.
The development of sport psychology gave the world a new profession of a sport psychologist who researches and implements various mental and psychological techniques and exercises for athletic preparation and performance. The way a sport psychologist arranges athletic work can have an important and significant impact on preparation and performance. That is why the main purposes of a sport psychologist is to help athletes to achieve a better level of performance at, or near their physical capabilities by thoroughly controlling their physical abilities through appropriate and conformable psychological techniques and tactics.
With this background, this paper brings out the psychology of athletic preparation and performance of athletes before and during competition, their mental and physical state and the ways of mental and psychological tactics influence the athletes’ skills, well-being and performance. The main goal of this paper is to report on different mental and psychological methods, techniques and exercises that the athletes use while preparing and performance before and during competitions. The paper investigates the impact of using various mental and psychological techniques, makes the analysis on clinical implications of the researched questions and future researches of the investigated issue.
Statement of Research Questions
After studying in the introduction basic summary of the research on psychology of athletic preparation and performance for athletes before and during competition, this paper proceeds to define the confines of the researched field. Due to fast-growing importance of sport psychology and nature of the report, the researched questions are:
RQ1: What are the various mental or psychological techniques athletes use to prepare for competition and during competition?
RQ2: What does a sports psychologist use for athletes?
Answering these two main questions can help carefully investigate sport psychology and psychology of athletic preparation and performance. They will help to find various mental and psychological methods and techniques, which athletes use while preparing and performance. They will show the goals of a sports psychologist and its importance for athlete’s achieving better level of performance and well-being. The analysis of these questions can show the influence of using different mental and psychological techniques and will make future research of the investigated questions.
For thorough research and analyze of distinguished questions indicated in previous chapter two online databases were used. They are PsycINFO and SPORTDiscus databases. PsycINFO database provides the articles on researches of psychological scholarly publications in sociology and behavioral science. In a contrast to PsycINFO database, SPORTDiscus database provides not only publications of sociology, behavioral science and allied health literature, but includes the researches of sports and sports medicine. The research, analysis and studying of databases were investigated since the middle of October until November 2009. In order to search and analyze psychology of athletic preparation and performance the following terms were used: “psychology of athletes”, “sport psychology”, “psychological preparation of athletes”, “strategies from health and sport psychology”, “keeping athletes on track”, “athletic performance” etc. The research of PsycINFO and SPORTDiscus databases gave a clear and thorough description of investigated questions and shown problems and fields for future research.