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Midshipmen Development Center

Energy Management

Once you have identified your optimal level of energy for maximizing a given performance, you can use appropriate relaxation or energizing techniques and strategies to reduce or increase the activation that is needed.

  • There is a combination of responses that occur when you are worried about not performing as desired.
    • Physiological- increased HR, sweating, "butterflies in your stomach"
    • Psychological-negative self talk
    • Behavioral-Reduced warm up time, forgetting routines or plays
  • When a muscle tightens because of perceived stress, counter tension occurs to hold the segment of the body in place resulting in double pull. This interferes with execution of physical skills because it prevents coordinating movement. When could counter tension affect you?
  • Recognizing unwanted tension and relaxing or releasing the tension is an important tool. Your awareness increases sensitivity to tension levels and maximizes your ability to regulate different levels of tension to match the demands of the situation.
  • Learning how to relax completely (which is usually not optimal for athletic success) provides the foundation for learning momentary relaxation which can be done quickly and is important for athletes so that they can reduce overactivation at any point during practice or competition.
  • Stretching or warm up is a good time to use the strategies of momentary relaxation and to focus on the upcoming game. One way to think about relaxation is as a dial that you can adjust. When would momentary relaxation be possible and useful in your sport?
  • Finding the right technique for you. (See techniques)
    • Muscle to mind techniques
      • More physical
    • Mind to muscle techniques
      • Using your mind to control muscle tension
  • Practice
    • Building relaxation into your routine is important
    • While learning how to relax, it is recommended that you practice 1/day everyday
  • Muscle to Mind Techniques
    • Breathing exercise: Athletes will do 2 things under stress:
      • hold their breath
      • breathe rapidly and shallowly
    • Breathing is one of the easiest physiological systems to control. Use one hand on your chest and one on your stomach to confirm deep breathing, only your stomach should move as you breathe in through your nose and slowly out through your mouth.
      • Sighing - Exhale completely through the mouth make an audible sigh. Then close the mouth and inhale quietly through the nose to a count of 4, then hold your breath for a count of 7 and sigh, exhale for a count of 8
      • Rhythmic-Inhale 4 exhale 4 and pause for 4
      • 1:2 ratio- take a deep full breath and then exhale fully. Breathe in to a count of 4 and out to count of 8. Work towards 5:10 or 6:12.
  • Mind to muscle techniques
    • Meditation-4 basic components: quiet environment, a comfortable position, a mental device and a passive attitude. "let it happen" attitude.
      • Sit in a comfortable position in a quiet place, close your eyes, deeply relax all your muscles starting at the top of your head, concentrate on your breathing as you breathe easily through your nose, with each breathe out say the word calm, when you finish sit quietly for several minutes eyes closed and then open
    • Autogenic training- series of exercise to produce 2 physical sensations, warmth and heaviness. Repeat each statement to your self 5 times.
      • My arms are legs are heavy, I am calm
      • My arms and legs are warm, I am calm
      • My breathing rate is slow, calm and relaxed, I am calm
      • My mind is calm and quiet
  • Useful websites

Adapted from Williams et. al. (2010)

For further information or help with energy management contact Dr. Jessica Mohler at the Midshipmen Development Center
410-293-4897/ 8th Wing M level

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