Olympic diving coach Andy Banks explains his views on sport psychology at LSBU conference
23 October 2014
The Serious Sports Conference, organised by the Sport and
Exercise Science Group, saw 150 researchers, students and practitioners within
the sport industry come together to exchange knowledge and best practices.
Andy Banks spoke of the importance of psychology in the sport
of diving and professional athletes' struggles with overcoming their fear. He
revealed his winning diving techniques in training champions including 2012
Olympic bronze-medalist Tom Daley - explaining his views on the science
behind the processes.
"Dealing with the fear of diving is pivotal in an
athlete's career," says Andy." It is important for a diver to feel
confident and a coach plays a massive part in building controlled
Andy understands the basic 'Inverted U Theory' which
examines the link between pressure and performance. He is careful to maintain
his athletes of all ages within their comfort zone where they are happy and
motivated to train and to compete. Showing a photo of a sleepy young Tom Daley
he said "in theory we needed more hours but this wasn't working for him, so we
needed to adapt."
When training athletes, he applies a four step process which
is crucial in diving: take off, shape, come out, and water entry. "Each
stage is essential during training and you cannot move on to the next stage
until each is completed." explained Andy.
"There is no such thing as luck, it is about the
preparation and following the process." Contrary to many psychology books Andy
believes goals should be set on performance rather than outcome. "The focus
should be on performance not the outcome; we can't control the outcome but we
can control performance."
This one-day conference brought together sport and exercise experts
from across the UK to join the LSBU researchers. Other keynote speakers were sport
psychologist Chris Harwood from Loughborough University and elite physiologist
Florentina Hettinga from the University of Essex.
A lively two-hour panel discussion also
included 70-year-old ironman competitor Edwina Brocklesby, founder of
Silverfit, and her coach and world number one duathlete, Annie Emmerson. After
the resounding success, the Sport and Exercise Science Group is already
organising the 2015 edition of the Serious Sports Conference.