FACILITATING PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT IN ELITE SPORT
Gordon, S., University of Western Australia, Australia
The focus of this lecture is on 'doing sport psychology' and is based on personal reflections from 20 years of consulting experience. First, observations and comments concerning big picture issues such as effective operational philosophies and creating cultures of success are made. Examples of management and team operation issues that can undermine team and individual performances, and how to respond to them, will be provided. Second, evidenced-based mental skills training that enhances performance of both teams and individuals will be described. To facilitate the first of three steps in performance management, self-awareness, two propositions from Personal Construct Theory (Kelly, 1955) are emphasised, namely understanding experiences from the performers perspective and empowering athletes in identifying training priorities. Skills that promote performance management steps two and three, self-monitoring and self- regulation, are also presented and will focus on coping with 'change' as well as with the emotional fatigue expended in the pursuit of consistency (repeated good performance) and peak performance. Finally, transition and personal development issues across a sport career are described. Stage- based research (i. e., stage-of-career and stage-of-change) will be used to describe the myriad developmental issues both coaches and athletes experience and need to resolve e. g., handling celebrity status (narcissism) and career end. To conclude, an Australian perspective on current and future trends in applied sport psychology (e. g., postgraduate training and employment, "adding value", and "life coaching") will be presented.