Psychological strategies focus on mental processes and are used to either calm the athletes brain activity or to stimulate them. They frequently aim to reduce anxiety in order to allow the brain to relax, but can be used to focus the athlete’s thoughts on the upcoming event.
Psychological strategies such as relaxation are used to help decrease heart and respiration rates, while directing the athletes focus either away from or towards competition or training, depending not the context.
An anxious athlete may use relaxation techniques before competition in order to reduce nervousness and allow them to focus on the task. Although some athletes will chose to focus on something other than competition in order to help relieve their anxiety.
After competition, particularly during a transition or pff-season phase, athletes will use relaxation and other psychological strategies in order to help rejuvenate their whole body, including their mental function.
Other psychological strategies used include, debriefing, rest days and sleep. Psychological recovery strategies are important, as training and performance place stress on an athlete’s mental capacities as well as their physical ones. Psychological strategies improve performance by not allowing the athlete to be held back by past performances. They are particularly important after losing a major competition such as a grand final or the State of Origin.