FEMALE ATHLETES: HOW TO STRENGTHEN THEIR POWER OR TO CLIP THEIR WINGS
Klodecka-Rozalska, J., Institute of Sport, Warsaw, Poland
Concepts such as role conflict, masculinity, femininity and androgyny, and fear of success have been shown to be far too simplistic and to reinforce traditional stereotypes in ways which place limits on human potentialities in sport and exercise. Research in the areas of gender belief systems, expectations for success and attributions have begun to move away from individual difference approaches characterised by univariate relationships and simple research designs, to more complex and systems analysis approaches which recognise the importance of contexts, as well as the role played by factors such as gender role socialisation, stereotyped expectations of others and sociocultural norms. Psycho-social factors have a special importance in helping athletes attain functional readiness to perform work and gain a resistance to fatigue. The results of neurophysiological studies confirm a direct relation between perceived fatigue and the actual decrease in work capacity. The aim of our study was to determine if there are gender-related differences in psycho-behavioural reactions to exertion and recovery. The results indicate that women require psychological support in the post-exercise recovery period, due to their higher emotional (costs" of physical effort. As optimal model predicts, athletes need to completely relax to again reach their maximal level of functioning. So, a lot of positive management techniques which we use in our practice are helpful for female-athletes to cope with stress and to perform their work better (i.e. relaxation-progressive, breath control, autogenic training; imagery control; music sessions; cognitive-affective training e.t.c.).