How long should mental training or preparation be applied?


We distinguish between a short-term intervention including a few sessions and long-term mental training practiced for a whole season or maybe longer. In this area is the general rule "mental skill improvement to mastery" valid. Mental training is effective if exercising regularly. Unlike sport training which is performed externally, mental training is performed internally in terms of imagery, self-talk, attitudes, arousal, focusing, etc.

What is a suitable place for mental training sessions?


A psychological office or working room is favourable for instruction lessons. Fieldwork sessions can be managed in a training place. However, the effect of psychology depends mostly on the responsibility and systematic step-by-step work of athletes. You can practice almost everywhere, e.g. during training sessions in the gym or at your sporting place. Many athletes travel a lot, so they can practice when travelling.

What is the appropriate age for mental training to begin?


The best way is to start in your sporting career before a top performance phase. It is reasonable to prepare yourself mentally as you are exposed to regular stress situations in sport typically at a junior age (15-18). In youthful sports like swimming or gymnastics you can start sooner (around 10). However we say it is never too late to begin with mental preparation.

For what kind of sport persons is mental training helpful?


All sports related persons should know that mental training consists of many methods developed for mental areas related to sport performance. Elite level athletes know that mental strength is usually a critical moment in tight competition. Even short mental support can provide an upper hand especially in situations where differences among competitors are minimal.

Is it better to prepare individually or under psychological monitoring?


Top-sport athletes usually have their private repertoire of methods and tricks on how to cope with stress. These procedures often include a lot of superstition or are difficult for supportive persons. The best way is to use a professional service and learn more about this topic.

Can a mental routine be learned from mentally skilled athletes?


Of course, one way is to observe and imitate more experienced and mentally skilled athletes and teammates. Nevertheless, a process of imitation could be misleading because each top athlete is an individual person and needs a specific treatment. Simply put, each athlete should develop her/ his own strategies how to cope with difficult situations.

Should everybody have a sport psychologist?


Many elite athletes collaborated with psychologists in difficult phases of their career. Some are able to speak openly about this while some keep their secrecy. A qualified psychologist is bound to a professional and ethical codex prohibits the disclosure and publication of private client information. A full-time sport psychologist usually works with various athletes and coaches simultaneously in different sports.

Who is accredited to be a sport psychologist or a mental coach?


It is strongly recommended that psychological fieldwork should be practiced by a graduate psychologist with some years of experience in sport, either as a former athlete or coach. Unfortunately there are known examples of improper psychological service from unskilled persons.

Should a coach involved in mental preparation?


It is desirable to include a coach in psychological preparation. A coach can increase the impact of psychological work and confirm psychological authority among athletes. On the other side a coach can profit from psychological knowledge and find new dimension of coaching. Some coaches have an excellent psychological feeling or empathy and can undertake some psychological tasks in their work.

Fans can be heaven but sometimes hell, especially in media-famous sports.

In early sports you can start with psychological preparation at about age 10 because top-performances are expected very soon.

"We have an excellent team and we showed a bigger heart and more fighting than our opponent."

Richard Stochl, captain of the handball team, which qualified to the WC 2009.