Beyond the Ride: The use of Psychological Skills Training in Equestrian Athletes

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Smith, Courtney
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Middle Tennessee State University
Psychological skills training has been a proven coaching method used with athletes. The purpose of this study is to investigate the use of psychological skills training with equestrian athletes. We hypothesized that coaches were not broadly using psychological skills training but were using specific related skills in their coaching techniques. An online survey was administered to collect coaching demographics, along with questions of whether they used specific skills, frequency of use, and follow up questions regarding use related to performance improvement, education relative to PST, and limitations of use. 186 respondents completed the survey. There were differences in the type of skills used along with the situations in which they were used: practice, pre-competition, during competition, post competition. No differences were found attributable to coaching demographics or with the age and level of riders. Contrary to our hypothesis, 91% of equestrian coaches were using PST with their riders. We can conclude that equestrian coaches actively seek methods for rider improvement beyond the saddle and more research should be conducted in finding the best PST methods to use with equestrian athletes.
Equestrians, Equine, Horse Riding, Mental Skills, PST, Psychological Skills Training, Psychology