The fundamental psychological skills

Identifying basic psychological skills is a daunting task that only a few researchers have approached. Research results on this topic are scarce, and there is not complete agreement on what basic psychological skills are.

Based on this analysis, I decided to establish an a priori criterion that would allow their identification. The criterion adopted is that the basic skills to be developed are those that have the widest scope of application during sporting activity regardless of the sport practiced and the level of mastery of the athlete, and that can be learned and improved during that stage of development called “training to train.” There are four psychological skills chosen and they concern: self-control, mental imagination, talking to oneself and learning from experience. They can be considered fundamental skills since they enable the young person to experience training in a conscious and positive way.


Abilità psicologiche di base

Vealey (1988) Volontà, consapevolezza di sé, autostima e fiducia
Hardy, Graham e Gould (1996) Goal setting, rilassamento, immaginazione mentale e dialogo con se stessi
Durand-Bush, Salmela e Green-Deemers (2001) Goal setting, impegno e fiducia
Ricvald, e Peterson (2003) Impegno e dedizione
Weinberg e Gould (2007) Regolazione dell’attivazione, immaginazione mentale, goal setting e concentrazione.


The acquisition of these skills is analogous, for example, to knowledge of a foreign language, which can also be prefigured as a basic skill that expands opportunities for communication and understanding of the world regardless of the domain in which the individual will apply it. The choice to identify these four psychological skills as basic factors is largely coincident with what has been proposed by Hardy, Graham and Gould (1996) from which it differs in that it does not consider goal setting but rather the ability to learn from experience as a priority competence. The choice to introduce another competency is due to the reason that the skills proposed here are to be acquired in an age range corresponding to late childhood and early adolescence, years in which understanding the value of experience is basic to being aware of the quality of one’s engagement and how one learns. Further supporting this are the numerous data showing that underlying the belief that one knows how to cope with sporting situations is the evaluation of one’s past experiences in relation to that task.



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