The mental preparation of the athlete is one of the three keys and the quintessence of sports success. Accompanied by the physical and technical aspect, the mental, it is the pillar and the absolute weapon of the athlete.
Sports dance is known and recognized worldwide for its many advantages and benefits on the physical and psychological health of the dancer. Memorizing the choreographies helps keep the mind sharp. In addition to the physical health benefits of this sport, dance, and especially couple dance, develops motor skills as well as cognitive and sensory abilities in everyone. But in addition, the challenge is to develop neurocognitive coordination between the partners. Spatial management when the athlete is on the dance floor with several dancers, anticipation and creativity, guiding, learning and repeating sequences of movements, these benefits mobilize brain plasticity and memory. The psychological and social benefit is obvious. The first – psychological – dance makes the brain age more slowly, improves well-being and self-esteem. Dancing releases serotonin and dopamine, molecules that reduce stress, reduce symptoms of depression and increase feelings of happiness. The second level – social, dance allows people to meet, promotes communication and rapprochement between individuals.
A Scottish Household Survey carried out on nearly 14,000 households in 2011 showed that people engaged in cultural activities are happier than others: among these activities, dancing came first. The level of satisfaction of those who practice it is more than 62% compared to those who do not dance – 49%.
Another study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that frequent dancing helps prevent the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
It can also increase mental clarity for people of all ages. It has also been shown that people with Alzheimer’s disease are able to recall forgotten memories when dancing to music they once knew.
The list of benefits of this sport can be long, but what are the disadvantages? Especially in the case of high level practice. What mental blockages occur in athletes and how can the coach help overcome them?
The dangers and mental blockages in this discipline often come from injuries that happen regularly. To be successful in a sports career it is important to have a strong mind because one way or another the body will feel pain.
How can the coach help the athlete in this situation?
The principle of good coaching support is the empathetic relationship of the collaborative relationship, which is the key player in the session and allows the coach to step back in order to gain a better understanding of the individual’s condition. The tools applied will vary depending on who is going through the process.
The importance of the type of questioning will determine the effectiveness of the coaching process. The goal is to create new perspectives, open a new door, get the client to reconsider their frame of reference and help them find a solution to their problem. So there is no question of chance on the part of the coach.
The philosophy of questioning can be summed up by the famous phrase of Carl Rogers:
“The power is within the patient”.
How to fully exploit the mental potential of the athlete?
Through the collaborative relationship, the coach will promote awareness to eliminate blockages and resolve any conflicts. There are many factors that can slow down the athlete’s preparation:
• The fear of an old injury that may come back,
• Social isolation,
• Mental fatigue,
• Lack of self-confidence,
The individual can find the necessary resources to overcome these obstacles, he will get to know himself and gain self-control through the help of the coaching process, which will allow clients:
• To acquire specific behaviors in specific situations and mental skills,
• To successfully prepare an action plan to obtain the desired result,
• To know how to achieve the objectives,
• Be aware of your own contribution to the partnership, management of the professional career by taking responsibilities,
• To have self-management of their own reactions, emotions, relationships, etc.
Optimal mental preparation will help the athlete to find himself in a state of maximum concentration and success. Consolidating the harmony between mental and technical performance, well-being, autonomy, actions and objectives are the priorities of the coach.
“The only knowledge that really influences behavior is the knowledge you discover and appropriate for yourself.” Carl Rogers