|University||Singapore University of Social Science (SUSS)|
|Subject||BSE309: Applied Sport Psychology|
BSE309: Applied Sport Psychology Assignment, SUSS, Singapore As she prepared for her first Olympics nine years ago, a 15-year-old Katie Ledecky carried hopes and dreams into the London Games
As she prepared for her first Olympics nine years ago, a 15-year-old Katie
Ledecky carried hopes and dreams into the London Games.
Four years later, she was a record holder and medal favorite, and she took highly specific goals and time targets to the Rio de Janeiro Games.
Now 24, Ledecky is a professional, her name and face recognized around the world, and she will head to Tokyo this summer with unique expectations and pressures to perform — some internal, some probably unfair, and all ensuring untold levels of scrutiny and intrigue will surround her ambitious Olympic plans.
She came to these U.S. Olympic swimming trials and did what she needed, qualifying in her wide range of freestyle events and giving herself up to six medal chances next month in Tokyo. On Saturday night, in her final event of these trials, she breezed in the 800-meter freestyle, finishing in 8:14.62, nearly six seconds faster than anyone else. Her times here weren’t her best, but if her swim cap didn’t have “Ledecky” printed on it, no one would bat an eye.
She was fast enough to make clear that she will be a heavy favorite in the 800 and 1,500- meter races in Tokyo and certainly a strong medal contender in the 200 and 400. She will be part of a lightning-fast 4×200 relay squad and could always get tapped for the 4×100 team if coaches want a veteran presence.
But getting to that Tokyo medals podium will require navigating questions that other athletes don’t face: Can she ever match her best times? Can she still set world records? Will she be as dominant as she was five years ago in Rio?
“There are always expectations out there,” Ledecky said. “I think the most important expectations are the ones that I have for myself. I think I do a pretty good job of sticking to those and not seeing what kinds of medal counts or times that people are throwing out about what I could accomplish if everything goes perfectly.”
Phoebe Bacon was once Katie Ledecky’s school ‘buddy.’ Now they’re Olympic teammates.
Navigating external forces can be tricky, sometimes stirring a mental storm that compromises physical performance. Janet Evans had three world records by the time she was 16 and won three gold medals at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. She spent years trying — and failing — to reproduce those epic performances.
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“For Katie, it’s learning and understanding the difference in the expectations,” Evans said, “compartmentalizing everyone else’s expectations and your own. You have to stop listening and focus on what you do best. It’s very noisy at that level. The greatest champions can drown it out, and I think Katie handles it so well.”
Lofty expectations are a byproduct of Ledecky’s successes — the blazing-fast times and the comical leads she builds in the distance races. The only point of comparison is often her own past feats. In the five years since the Rio Games, she has been unable to replicate those world record marks.
Her times this week in Omaha were slower than at the trials that led into the Rio Games. In the 200, she swam 1:54.88 then and 1:55.11 now. In the 400, she was 3:58.98 five years ago and 4:01.27 this past week. And in the 800, Ledecky posted an 8:10.32 at the 2016 trials and 8:14.62 on Saturday.
If nothing else, this week reinforced that defending her 200 and 400 Olympic titles will be no easy feat, especially considering Ariarne Titmus’s spectacular times at the recent Australian trials, which included a 1:53.09 in the 200 and a 3:56.90 in the 400. For the first time in a long while, Ledecky won’t be the hands-down favorite on the starting blocks of those races.
“It’s about the two of us, how we’re communicating, what we’re doing, and tuning out the noise,” said Greg Meehan, who will also serve as the U.S. women’s coach in Tokyo. “I don’t think it’s possible to completely mute everything that’s going on around you. At the end of the day, of course, anyone that’s in the public eye is open to that. But we really just want to focus on what it is that we need to do.”
Ledecky doesn’t publicize her goals or Tokyo targets. She doesn’t talk about bringing home a truckload of medals or hitting certain times. And she tries not to get caught up in the speculation and prognostication that keep the swimming world buzzing ahead of a big meet. “I just have to stick to my own goals,” she said, “and that’s what I do.”
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Based on the article above, explain how swimmer Katie Ladecky could have been able to manage the pressure of expectations due to her past successes. Cite relevant theories and research to possibly explain how she could have won her four medals in Tokyo.
The article mentioned that Schooling “…had much higher expectations for his pet event at the Tokyo Olympics, and had hoped to hit a personal best time.” This could suggest that he was focusing more on outcome and performance goals rather than process goals, and may have potentially caused him to put undue pressure on himself.
As such, you have just been hired as a mental performance consultant to work with Joseph Schooling to help him prepare mentally for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
Indicate ways to help Schooling implement more effective goals for training and competition. Support your answer with relevant research-backed principles or skills.
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