Gloria Balagué

Gloria Balague (Photo: TPSR-Alliance).

In the recent post entitled “The preparation of Olympic swimmers”, in which we refered to a round table with swimming world champions Erika Villaécija and Mireia Belmonte, it was mentioned that “Both athletes indicated that the support of a sport psychologist is also key in their preparation, to learn how to face complicated situations and never lose concentration”.

Track cycling Olympic champion Victoria Pendleton also made the following statement in our section Interviews with the Elite: “I had the raw materials and the motivation to train at the highest level, but I just didn’t have the mental skills and the self-belief to go all the way to the top. My head was the only thing holding back”. It is obvious that at the highest levels of performance, the physiological, technical and tactical abilities of the great champions is quite similar among them, and their psychological preparation could be their performance determining factor in competition.

For this reason, our next guest in the section Interviews with the Elite is one of the top sport psychologists in the world stage: Gloria Balagué.

Gloria Balague is a native of Barcelona. She is an Assistant Professor in Psychology at the University of Illinois in Chicago. She has worked extensively with USA Track & Field, USA Gymnastics and USA Field Hockey. She was at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics as sport psychologist. She was a keynote speaker at the Olympic Congress held in Brisbane 2000, at the European Congress of Sport Psychology, Denmark 2003 and the South American Congress of Sport Psychology in Chile 2006, among many other conferences. She has authored numerous articles and book chapters dealing with psychological aspects of optimal performance, including the periodization of psychological skills training. Besides her specialization on coaching issues at the elite level, Dr. Balagué has participated in the development of Teskal, a web based tool for assessing psychological elements in practice and competition. In addition, she has been working at TPSR-Alliance with Dr. Don Hellison addressing ways to introduce children to sport in a way that protects their motivation for long term participation while also increasing the educational values of sport. Currently she is the President-Elect of Division 47 (Sport and Exercise Psychology) of the American Psychological Association.

You can ask your questions to Gloria through the comment section of this post before the 20th of March.

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One comment

  1. Karim Chamari

    Dear Dr Balague
    I’m writing to you for a quite simple question. Being a Physiologist but highly convinced that physchology is a very important factor with respect to elite sport performance…. Few years ago, a colleague of mine in Tunisia used to use the ZOF or iZOF (individual Zone of Optimal Functionning) with her elite athltes. In few words this methods allows to calculate Optimal stress/anxiety levels for which the sport performance is optimal (too less or too much stress/anxiety is accompanied with a reduced performance)… This concept is very attractive, but apparently it requires quite complicated questionnaires and processes (at least for me :-). Therefore, I’m asking, first, are such processes easilly accessible for coaches? and, second, are there simplified methods allowing coaches and fitness coaches to use such concepts? Thanks for all.

    March 6, 2011