Body language: why is it important for athletes?


Body language often speaks more than verbal messages and is more reliable than verbal prompts. Will you believe an athlete who is in the wrong stand and claims that he knows what he is doing? Probably not. What is the meaning of body language for athletes?

Body language on the field

At the beginning try one task. Take a look at the abbreviation for the European Volleyball Championship match. Notice how both teams behave after each goal.

The Slovenian team behaves absolutely differently than the Polish team. Watching only the reactions of the athletes, you will have no problems determining which team is more effective in using body language. They make almost identical gestures – hugs and pats on the back and shoulders. However, Slovenian players do it with heightened joy, energy and vigor. You draw conclusions based on the behavior of the players. Reaching the point, volleyball players raise their hands up, pull the body and enthusiastically converge inside. On the other hand, having lost a point, you will see athletes with their heads bowed and their shoulders bowed; they embrace with less enthusiasm, doing so with reluctance.

Look at yourself

Now remember yourself in two different situations: when you were completely confident and when you were completely insecure. What did your body say then? How do you behave after successful and unsuccessful actions? What is characteristic of your body during the warm-up? If you have recordings of your performances, use them. If not, ask to record your next competition so you can take a look at yourself.

Body language – information for opponents

the body language of the team from new Zealand

Awesome Rugby team dance from New Zealand

The way you behave on the field and during the warm-up is valuable information for your opponents. Your body shows how confident you feel during a competition. This mechanism works in both directions, because you, observing your rivals, also draw conclusions about their attitude. Think about how a frightened opponent type affects you. Looking at a particular player can increase your confidence. In turn, a confident opponent can cause you to doubt your skills, and you will become nervous.

How to control body language

Researchers have proven that there is a strong connection between muscle tone and lively emotions. A change in muscle tone and, therefore, body language can change your thinking. Therefore, if you start behaving as if you are feeling confident, you will really feel it. When your brain receives signals of self-confidence from the body, it adapts to them the emotions that you experience. A change at the level of the body will lead to a change at the level of thinking.

That is why we asked you to analyze your behavior. Now you can use this data to create a repertoire of behavior that will help you feel confident even in a very stressful situation.

An example of a strong posture

A good way to increase self-confidence is the position of Wonder Woman proposed by Amy Cuddy.

You can also train in front of a mirror. So you will be prose to understand how you look in the company of other people. You will be able to see which gestures put you in a ridiculous light, and which poses give you confidence and cause fear in your opponent.

Close your eyes and try to imagine how you behave in sports competitions. Practice maintaining your confidence for real competitions.

Watch what body language your colleagues, rivals and friends have. Surely you will be able to find gestures, because of which a person looks strong and as confident as possible. Collect a collection of other gestures and turn it into your own unique poses.

Universal victory gesture

How do athletes usually react after a point or a winning race? They raise their hands up in the shape of the letter V. This is evident from the reaction of athletes and fans during Messie‘s goals.

In such situations, players and supporters usually raise their hands up, lift their chins and straighten their breasts. This is a gesture of the winner, which shows victory, pride and triumph – the psychological correlates of power. By taking such poses you inform others about your strength and dominance. And what do you show your opponents?

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