The FC Wisconsin Psychological Skills Training (PST) program is off to a great start, with all players in the club at U15 - U19 age groups participating in this great new program! The players are already three sessions in to the program, and have been introduced to what “sport psychology” is, the importance of journaling throughout the process, and a better understanding of what arousal regulation and anxiety are. Last week the players were also introduced to their first psychological strategy to improve performance.
During session one, players tallied the number of hours they spend each week training the physical aspects of soccer and compared it to the number of hours per week they spend specifically training the mental aspects of the game. After some discussion they quickly realized that soccer is as much or more a mental game as it is a physical game, and that even the most technically and tactically outstanding players will crack under pressure if they do not have control of the psychological piece of the game. Managing stress and anxiety, while maintaining concentration, motivation and self-confidence will help them excel in all aspects of the game. The athletes were also been introduced to the important role that their soccer journal serves throughout the PST process.
The second PST session dove straight into arousal regulation and anxiety, with a variety of activities and discussions to help the athletes understand the terms, symptoms of anxiety, the different sources, and how all of this can affect their performance. The third session provided the athletes with strategies to help regulate arousal and anxiety, offering them more significant control over both the physiological and psychological demands during practice and games.
The overall aim of the FC WI PST program is to assist athletes in maximizing their mental preparation, optimize performance, and reach their overall performance goals and we are well on our way! We are excited to offer these important skills to our athletes, and look forward to seeing their continued growth!