The advantages of a stable and orderly life in elite athletes.
Here are the ways in which stable habits and routines help elite athletes.
Dedicating oneself to sport professionally is much more than developing strength, maximizing the speed of reflexes or even learning a lot of theory about the sport to which one devotes a good part of one's life.
It is also, among other things, knowing how to take care of oneself physically and mentally, and developing skills from which it is possible to live through effective preparation habits.
Therefore, in this article we will make a brief review of the advantages, from the point of view of elite athletes, of learning to live in an organized manner and applying the principles of order to their daily lives. to their daily life.
Why is it important to lead an orderly life in the face of the demands of elite sport?
It is not just a matter of being aware of training schedules and (physically) healthy living standards imposed by the sports club, sponsors, and other entities involved in the athlete's professional career.
Beyond this formal version of what is supposed to be an orderly life, there is a whole series of guiding principles on which the habits of healthy living and efficient preparation (both physically and physically) are based. (both physically and psychologically).
Ignoring them not only means exposing oneself to health complications in an environment where hard work can generate a lot of wear and tear; it also puts one at a disadvantage to other athletes who do take advantage of their ability to establish consistent habits and routines adapted to their goals and talents. And this, in such a competitive field of sports and professional development, is a double problem.
But... what exactly do we mean when we talk about living an orderly and stable life? It is not about leading the existence of a robot, far from it (in fact, overlooking the emotional facet of the athlete is a very serious mistake in the psychological preparation for a league, tournament or championship).
What it is about is to be aware that, if we do not realize and do not keep a certain control of what we do and how we do it in and out of the training sessions, we expose ourselves to many situations that can cause us to lose our self-confidence, we expose ourselves to many situations that lead us to lose time and health, and we lose many opportunities in which we could win on these two fronts..
For example, adopting a series of routines psychologically adapted to one's own sporting characteristics and objectives allows:
- Learn to temporarily distribute the incentives that allow us to motivate ourselves as athletes, aspiring to climb an upward difficulty curve.
- Do not fall into the trap of "covering" stress with bad habits.
- Do not give in to procrastination (that tendency to say "I'll do it tomorrow") and know when it is best to do what is best.
- Do not overdo the training sessions producing the opposite effect to the desired one.
- Improve your ability to concentrate on your sporting activity by managing your rest periods well.
- Having memorized the appropriate spatial and temporal references to know at all times what to be doing and what activity will be performed right after.
These are all areas of work that, as you can see, are not strictly limited to what is usually understood as physical preparation, but are complemented by this physical preparation.They are complementary to physical preparation.
What can psychology contribute in this regard?
Psychological therapy is not only a way to treat psychopathologies; it also adapts to the needs of people without significant mental health problems, and among the intervention strategies and techniques that fall into this area there are many that are used to help professionals, competitors, people with creative projects underway... and elite athletes too, of course.
At the end of the day, applied psychology does not have to be limited to dealing only with psychological disorders.It is about putting all the discoveries and technical advances generated in this field of science to work to help as many people as possible. For this reason, many of the psychotherapy services offered are designed to support people with very stressful career paths, or subject to a high level of stress and demands.
In the case of psychological assistance for elite athletes, one of the main functions of the psychologist is to help the person to structure his or her routines and habits so that from this way of life it is possible to sustain an effective and sustained training program (physical and mental) over time, without "burning out" the person because of an excess of anxiety but at the same time leading him/her to face always new challenges..
Some of the ways in which psychology can help professional athletes in this aspect are the following:
Training of self-motivation skills to make training a consistent routine.
Establishment of a schedule of action triggers to make good use of time and organize task chains.
Learning in the early detection of trap-thoughts associated with the onset of a distraction.
Learning to detect dysfunctional behavior patterns as a reaction to stress (eating without hunger, nail biting...).
Creation of routines for conditioning the training space.
Training in relaxation techniques to fall asleep easily.
Learning to detect the signals that indicate that it is time to rest mentally.
Do you want to have professional psychological assistance?
If you want the support of a psychologist to help you with a problem related to the management of emotions or behavioral patterns, or you are simply looking for psychological assistance when facing challenges in the professional field, please contact me.
My name is Tomás Santa Cecilia and my way of working is based on the cognitive-behavioral model, one of the most effective and adaptable to the needs or problems of each person. I offer my services in person in Madrid or online by video call.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)