Mental coaching in sport dance

Psychological skills are one of the key factors of excellent performances and, even in sports dancing, effective performance is provided only if the mind of the dancers is totally focused on their task. It is no coincidence, the tasks performed by people with excessive anxiety are not very effective, precisely because their mind during the competition is full of thoughts not relevant to the performance. In relation to sports dancing, the dancer perceive themselves as too anxious when in the mind they carries out two conflicting jobs at the same time: the first is to worry too much about what will happen if they make some mistake and the second is to stay focused on the program to be done. The greater is the dominance of the first thought, the worse the performance will be. Viceversa, the wider is the dominance of the second thought, the better the performance will be. In fact, it is the mind that guides these actions and training is the phase in which dancers learn and refine the ability to “do the right thing” in the right moments.

Mental coaching allows dancers to find their own personal answers to questions such as these below:

  • Do I compete at the skill level I am capable of?
  • Do I usually dance better in training than in competition?
  • Doubts or insecurities limit my performance?
  • How do I know I’m ready to dance?
  • How do I deal with difficulties with my partner?
  • How do I react to negative performance?
  • How do I concentrate before the race?
  • What is my/our pre-competition mental warm-up?
  • How do I support my partner?
  • Do I manage the final stress in an optimal way?

To organize a training program focused on improving sports performance, it is necessary that the athlete (or a couple) and coach have set shared goals to be achieved with the training they intend to implement. Of course, motor performance is the visible component of sports performance, but behind excellent performances there is much more, because an almost perfect performances require an optimal level of technical mastery, physical fitness and mental control all expressed in actions of varying duration, such as those related to the different specialties of the dance.

It is thus evident that sports performance is a competitive experience in which the individual athlete or the couple are totally involved. It is based on long-term preparation, methodologically founded, specific to the discipline, adapted to the athlete and the couple and centered on the optimal use of their physical, mental and technical skills from the integration of which will emerge the successful performance. Training is the situation allowing the dancers to refine these skills through a process that is characterized by volume, intensity, frequency and duration and can be compared to cooking, where you have to mix different foods, with different functions and proportions to obtain an exceptional dish.

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