American Military University



Psychological Skill Training

Cherod Jones

American Military University

8 September 2018


Coping strategies are the techniques used by athletes to cope and perform successfully under pressure. A significant problem for elite athletes is to deal with the feeling of ‘choking’ under pressure caused by an elevation of arousal. Some of the coping strategies used are self-talk, imagery, and muscular relaxation (Morgan & Birrer, 2010).

Imagery: The idea is that athletes re-interpret previous negative experiences by seeing the ‘silver lining’ in the cloud (Morgan & Birrer, 2010). The strategy aims to create a visual description of what they want to achieve; this helps them to build self-confidence and reduces anxiety during the games.

Self-talk: this is having a dialogue with ones-self or having an inner voice, it can be internally where you might know you are doing it or it can be spoken (Morgan & Birrer, 2010). Positive self-talk can help an athlete build self-confidence and encourage themselves of the challenge ahead. Self-talk should focus on the performance point of view rather than the competitive point of view; this will help the athlete to stay motivated for longer.

Muscle relaxation technique: Muscle tension is the most common symptom of over intensity, it involves muscles being tight and stiff, and this leads to the underperformance of an athlete. There are two primary techniques used to help in muscle relaxation that is passive relaxation which involves lying down and focusing on your breathing to help one ease the tension and mental calmness. Active relaxation involves tightening your muscles and relaxing significant muscles such as the neck, face, arms, shoulders, back, and legs. These two techniques can be appropriate for short sports competitions.

One of the best strategies that seem more effective among the three is the muscle relaxation technique. The muscle relaxation technique increases the endurance of the athletes and therefore able to outlast their opponents through breathing exercises and self-reaffirming to help one be more relaxed and increase the zeal to go an extra mile (Shaw, Gorely & Corban, 2005).

Muscle relaxation is more workable, reduces the tension on muscles by helping the performer not only to use the progressive relaxations exercise but also mental relaxation therefore able to perform in a tempered state (Shaw, Gorely & Corban, 2005). Furthermore, it helps individuals not to train beyond their body’s ability to recover by doing these athletes can cope with all situations.


Morgan, D. &. Birrer, G., 2010. Psychological skills training as a way to enhance an athlete’s performance in high-intensity sports. Scandinavian journal of science & medicine in sports, Volume 20, pp. 78-87.

Shaw, D. Gorely, T. &. Corban, R., 2005. Sport and exercise psychology. s.l.:s.n.