As the American students were getting ready for the new academic calendar, President Obama took his time to address all the students to motivate, inspire and prepare them to do well and succeed in their education. President Obama made it clear that the performance of every American student was important for the future of the country as a whole. To motivate and inspire the students to do well, President Obama gave the steps expected to guide and ensure the success of each student. The principles and directions that President Obama gave in his speech are similar to the sports psychology principles that help the athletes archive the right state to excellent performance and achieve their set goals. Sports psychology principles are a set of rules that top athletes follow to ensure that they are in the right state to perform to a certain standard. President Obama mentioned that some students may feel nervous because they are starting a new class while others would feel like they would still want it to be summer so that they can sleep a little more. Just like education, sport has its stresses, pressure from competitors, expectations from sponsors and shareholders and so on. Such pressures can affect the performance of an athlete. In the same spirit, students may be coming from dysfunctional families that experience fights, poverty or diseases and may have an impact on a student's ability to perform in school. To help athletes in dealing with situations that can affect their performances, research has come up with ways that athletes can ensure that they focus on the task at hand and achieve their desired goals. The same principles can be used by students to achieve their academic goals and go on to be successful people in the American society.
In his speech, President Obama talks about the responsible parties, and that is the parents, teachers and the government. But he acknowledges that America has the best schools, teachers, and relatives and all that would not matter if the students do not fill their responsibilities. The students' responsibilities include attending classes, concentrating during classes and doing their homework. In sports psychology, one of the principles that help athletes to perform well is concentration. Concentration is simply the ability to maintain focus. Students need to contrite in their studies just like athletes need to concentrate on a task in hand if they are to be effective. Common distractions include anxiety, fatigue, mistakes, the coach or negative thoughts. Students just like athletes need to ensure that they are not distracted by their family issues, negative friends who encourage them to join gangs and miss classes and the type of teacher they have. In his speech President, Obama says no student will like all the subjects or teachers, but it should not be an excuse to bad performance. To maintain focus athletes need to set goals and how they can be achieved. Just like athletes, students need to set goals and learn ways they can make them whether it is finishing their assignment or projects. Reading more about a subject before a lesson can be a way to increase concentration during the lesson.
The other principle of sports psychology is confidence. Confidence is the self-belief that an athlete gets when they look at their ability and the goals they have set. Just like an athlete a student can believe in themselves and what they want in life based on their academic goals. President Obama in his speech addresses the issue of career and gives examples of jobs that students can choose including being a writer, innovator and Supreme Court justice. These are the goals that students may set for themselves after completion of their education ("Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama: Back to School Event", 2016). However, all these cannot be achieved if the students do not believe that they can be what they have set to be. Students must be able to do things that help their confidence to grow. If a student wants to be a writer, then they must take the English writing class. If one wanted to be a Supreme Court justice, they must be part of the student government body. An athlete confidence grows with how well he trains and is prepared before a game. It is through confidence that athletes can persevere even when they are going through a tough period, and things are not going according to plan. To gain confidence, athletes compare their excellent past performances which give them strength to do it again. President Obama in his speech mentions to the students that failure is the way to success. Every time one fails and finds education to be careful, they must remember not to give up and keep trying while improving. To increase their confidence athletes set short term goals and as they achieve them, they become more confident about achieving the ultimate goal. The same way students need to achieve their small goals like finishing their homework, attending classes when needed to and therefore they will reach their ultimate goal of graduating and going to the next class.
Control is another aspect of sports psychology that affects athletes and is used by President Obama in his speech to the American children. Every athlete needs to have control, physical or emotional control is necessary for the success the athletes. Control is always required in times of adversity. The same way an athlete needs the power to achieve their goals is the same way students needs control to achieve their aims. President Obama in his speech recognizes the different neighborhoods and friends that students have and come from in their day to day activities. Peer pressure from friends and areas that student live in may lead them to vices like selling drugs, prostitution, and alcoholism. Such vices can apparently keep a student from achieving their academic goals. It is, therefore, necessary for every student to have control and say no to such vices. To achieve their educational goals and become famous people in the country, students must have control in times of difficulty. The president acknowledges that there are instances when some students are bullied and discriminated against because of how they look like. Instead of retaliating and fighting to cause chaos, students needs to have control and find better ways to deal with the situation rather than being involved in cases that might hinder them from achieving their ultimate goals.
The other sports psychology principle that President Obama uses to motivate and inspire the American children to do well in school is commitment. To achieve their goals and be at the top regarding performance, athletes must be committed to their sport whether it is a marathon runner of a basketball player. Athletes have their daily lives to manage from family affairs; some have to go to school and so on but still have to be committed to their primary goals that they set, and that includes, attending training without failing. Athletes may be perceived to lacking commitment if they miss practice, always being injured, lack of enjoyment and becoming bored. President Obama in his speech says that one of the student responsibilities is to be committed to their education. The student commitment is measured by their attendance during lessons, completing their assignments and concentrating in class. Just like an athlete if a student misses class, they miss the necessary information that they need to fill out an assignment and the final exam. An athlete who misses training will not be effective in a cup final for example. Commitment helps in preparing a student for their ultimate goal which is graduating and going to the next level. Students need to set their goals with the teachers and parents; therefore, they will value more the goals and thus being more committed to their education. Even without the participation of the teachers, students need to show commitment by what they do outside class. President Obama suggests that students can always read part of a book daily or volunteer in helping the community. In conclusion, President Obama speech was all about motivating the students to embrace education if they wanted to be something in life. The principles of sports just like they are aimed at preparing the athletes to achieve their goals and perform at the highest levels can be applied by students who want to achieve their academic goals and be successful in life.
Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama: Back to School Event. (2016). The White House. Retrieved 24 May 2016, from https://www.whitehouse.gov/MediaResources/PreparedSchoolRemarks/
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