‘Know Thyself’: The importance of Self Knowledge for the Modern Athlete
Developing self-awareness within athletes is, for me, the most important job a sport psychologist has within applied work. Greater self-awareness can help athletes (and coaches) to build self-confidence and self-esteem, take more responsibility for their actions, and to make better decisions, both in and outside of sport
– Louise Capicotto
The famous Delphic oracular instruction to ‘know thyself’
For inventing the Olympic games, modern athletes and sports lovers everywhere owe a huge debt to the ancient Greeks. They established the paradigm and set the standard for everything that came after in our civilization. The modern athlete and competitor can still learn from the wisdom of those venerable ancients – especially as it is expressed in the famous Delphic oracular instruction to ‘know thyself’.
I think self-awareness is probably the most important thing toward being a champion – Billy Jean King
Knowledge is power. For the modern sports competitor this is a literal truth
For the modern athlete, self-knowledge is essential. If he or she wants to compete at peak levels on the track or field they must get to know their bodies and minds better than the rest of us do. We’ve all heard the saying that knowledge is power. For the modern sports competitor, this is a literal truth: insights and intelligence are converted into action and, ultimately, improved performance in their field of endeavor.
According to sports psychologist Jennifer Cumming, self-knowledge and self-awareness involves having knowledge and perception of one’s own:-
- Strengths and weaknesses
- Thoughts, emotions, and behaviors
- Values and beliefs
A lack of self-awareness ‘may lead athletes to struggle to regulate their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as well as assert self-control when needed.’
Almost every aspect of the athlete’s life is monitored and analyzed
Through Metrifit’s lifestyle profiling feature, the modern athlete can achieve more self-knowledge and awareness, and understand what needs to be done to correct bad habits and promote good ones. However, self-knowledge is more than just about good behavior, such as sleeping well and eating well. Almost every aspect of the athlete’s life is monitored and analyzed to determine what needs to be controlled for and adjusted if they want to operate at peak levels when it matters most. It is more a science than an ethic.
The mind’s first step to self-awareness must be through the body – George A. Sheehan
Subjective issues must be resolved, and this can only be done through self-monitoring
Of course, the athlete-coach relationship is vital to most sporting activities. It is a powerful dynamic that drives the competitor to deliver optimum levels of performance. But a coach can only go so far in instructing and improving his team or protégé. Subjective issues must be resolved, and this can only be done through self-monitoring and acting on the information that is yielded in this way. Also, coaches cannot be there for their athletes 24/7, which further necessitates that the competitor get to know himself and gear that knowledge toward improved prowess on track or field.
Self-awareness is fundamental to the success of sport psychology interventions and a quality associated with both developing and performance excellence – Jennifer Cumming
As athletes push themselves further and further toward their limit
Victory in sports always demands a sacrifice. These days, this is truer than ever, as athletes push themselves further and further toward their limit, both physically and psychologically. Increasingly, this push happens off the field as well as on, as competitors adjust and improve all aspects of their private lives, from personal relationships to sleeping and even dreaming. Coaches are an integral part of this and athletes need their support and help to improve their life style habits and stressors off the field in order to enhance their performance on the field.
Self-knowledge is hard won, for all of us. It is a part of everyone’s journey. But for today’s athletes it is a prize that leads to a much greater prize: victory and glory. Those early Olympians desired these things just as much, we can assume, as we do, but they didn’t have Metrifit on their side.
Find out more about Metrifit in this short video where we explain how it works for both the athlete and the coach.
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Developing Self-Awareness in your Athletes | Female Coaching Network
A sport psychologist’s guide for helping athletes develop better self-awareness by Jennifer Cumming