Olympic Team Development: How Do Teams Train For The Olympics?

Training as a team for the Olympic games is complicated and takes into account the physical as well as mental aspects of an athlete.

The world famous Olympics is a competition for those chosen few athletes not only in top physical condition, but also those of the right mindset to go up against their counterparts from other parts of the world. When training, these athletes must put everything into preparation, including eating the right foods, spending endless hours in the gym and striving for perfection, both physically and mentally. The mental aspect includes having a winner's mindset. This means an athlete must truly believe they can win, because a defeatists attitude will bring about, well, defeat. They possess enough fortitude to give them mental strength. With the confidence and consistency of bringing out the best that their bodies can produce, their physical training will be enhanced.

Sport psychologists use methods like behavioral analysis, anxiety control, concentration and leadership training. There's also the matter of learning to perform as a team member and not just a solo athlete. During training, the athletes are taught about how they, as individuals, respond to stress and then they learn how to control it. It's also very important to visualize in detail the performance, whether it is bobsledding or doing a gymnastic routine. Part of this is to see themselves winning the competition. There are also relaxation techniques to learn that help with the over performance and consistency. Concentration training includes learning to tune out any distractions and focus on whatever task is at hand. Perhaps the most vital aspect of mental training is to learn to think as a team, no matter if you're the best athlete on your team or not.

The physical training for Olympic teams can get quite technical and precise. Studies on maximal oxygen uptake have found that cross-country skiers, the minimum oxygen uptake needed to be an effective competitor is 5.5 liters per minute for men and 3.5 liters per minute for women. Since cross-country skiing uses most of the major muscles and builds up the ability to increase the oxygen uptake, it's often used as a training method for team athletes. Maximal oxygen uptake is a function of how much blood the heart can pump during exercise.

To build up muscle strength, resistance training is probably the best. The varying weights can be applied to whichever muscle group needs building and can be focused more on one particular area than another, or used as a general exercise method to condition the entire body. For speed skating, training can include skating uphill, which will increase the strength in the legs by placing extra demands on the muscles in the hips.

Other types of resistance training can include using small parachutes when running. This forces the runners to use more energy to propel themselves along the track. To help garner the team mentality, trainers must continue to use psychological training to enhance the "ňúteam spirit', while keeping feelings of individualism for each athlete. With combined physical and mental training, Olympic athletes become the finest specimens of fitness in the world. A winning attitude and a winning body make a winning team.

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