Competent Performance in Sports & Activities

Competent Performance in Sports & Activities
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  • 0:04 Competent Performance
  • 0:39 Mental Components
  • 1:52 Physical Components
  • 3:04 Team Sports & Activities
  • 4:23 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

In this lesson we review the mental and physical aspects of competence performance in sports, as well as team building and training in team sports and activities.

Competent Performance

A pro golfer on television may make the sport look easy, but going to the driving range to hit a bucket of balls can be a humbling experience. Team sports, creative movement and dance, and outdoor activities can be challenging. Excelling at them requires attention to mental and physical fundamentals.

Attaining competency in sports requires mental components as well as physical components. Even an activity like an obstacle course, race, or a simple hike take these into account. Team sports takes added elements of team building and training. Let's get into these in more detail.

Mental Components

Sports psychology is an up and coming field as more and more athletes are turning to receive help for the mental side of the game. So much of sports involves breaking through mental barriers. Here are a few ways to help:

  • Stay positive - use power words and positive thinking to achieve goals and improve. This is for coaches too. It's very important to be positive when teaching children about sports. Who hasn't cringed at a dad yelling at his son during a Little League baseball game?
  • Chunk your goals - 'chunking' consists of breaking down training goals into smaller pieces so they are more manageable and less daunting.
  • Stay focused and relaxed.
  • Visualize the goal first. If you're a pole vaulter, try visualizing positive images in your head of clearing the bar many feet above.
  • Intrinsic motivation - a genuine desire to learn and get better at the sport for its own sake. An athlete will do better with intrinsic motivation than extrinsic, say from the pressure of parents or the desire for money and fame.

A famous example of visualization is from golfer Jack Nicklaus who said he could see the shot in his head before he hit the ball. Nicklaus called this 'going to the movies' and gives much credit to this ability for his record number of major victories.

Physical Components

We've all seen that one person who makes playing sports or doing an activity look so easy. Perhaps that person has incredible hand-eye coordination or great balance, or, for whatever reason, nearly flawless technique. However, for most people performance in sports must be taught.

There are certain fundamentals that coaches look for when teaching sports skills. Students should be able to demonstrate an overhand throw, dribble a basketball through defenders, and jump rope without tripping. It's not enough to perform the skills, but the students should be able to identify the parts of the skills as well. For example, for a baseball throw the student should not only be able to name the parts of the throw but also be able to draw a picture of the throw as well.

General physical skills that show competency are:

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