How does self-awareness help your child in sports? Sports psychologist Dr Janki Rajapurkar Deole weighs in…
“Just like the basics of every sport create an edifice for excellence and understanding of the game, similarly, self-awareness is the basics of sports psychology. It is the foundation of a strong, skilled and tactical mind that powers the body towards success while at play. In the simplest sense, self-awareness on the field entails how one feels at a particular moment in the game and how their mind and body is responding to stress/competition/pain.
An easy and accessible technique of self-awareness in the middle of a game is to ‘check-in’ on how you feel every 15 minutes. It’s the key to mind relaxation and self-confidence.
A set of questions to ask yourself are:
- Am I feeling comfortable or uncomfortable?
- Am I feeling confident or under-confident?
- Am I feeling calm or panicky?
- Is my breathing regular or irregular?
- Am I focused or distracted?
- Pushing myself or giving up?
In the initial phase, do not worry about the answers you get. The key to self-awareness is being conscious about the responses and reactions of your body and mind. Listen to their calling.
Why be self-aware?
Being self-aware about your mind and body is crucial to perform consistently. At times, you may feel like you cannot do it. Your mind attempts to stop you from continuing so as to avoid physical pain and mental stress. It’s an instinctive feeling that a player must pay attention to. The mind is always alert before doing new things or going beyond pre-set limits of the body.
Self-awareness will allow you to understand when your body and/or mind sends a negative signal. Through the practice of self-awareness, one can often do things on the field even though the brain makes them believe they can’t. This is how to gain confidence. Being aware about the physical and mental state that helps you perform your best is the key to consistent performances. Practice breathing exercises to calm your mind and body down so as to get a clear picture of an internal response.
Self- awareness can ensure that you react appropriately in stressful situations. The choice between ‘fight or flight’ is made easy by being self-aware and confident of what your body/mind demand or need. Self-awareness is not a technique you can learn overnight. It’s a life skill. It’s a brain exercise. It’s about practice, just like your sport. So, start ‘checking-in’ on yourself each day you play. Perhaps ‘check-in’ right away- how is your mind and body feeling right now?”
Dr. Janki Deole (Psy, UK)
+91 8308867600/+91 9823208002