Despite the fact that Olympic sailing is a psychologically demanding sport, few countries use the services of sport psychologists to mentally prepare their athletes for the rigors of international competition. At the 1988 Summer Olympic Games only Canada and France had sport psychologists working on site with the athletes during the Games. This article describes the educational, mental skills approach used to prepare the Canadian Olympic Sailing Team as well as the athlete and coach mental preparation programs. Components of the team’s Olympic Preparation Plan are outlined and the use of thorough planning and preparation to bolster the athletes’ feelings of readiness and confidence is discussed. The importance of providing athletes with a distraction-free environment during the Games is also discussed, along with a plan for accommodating the needs of their family members and the media.
Wayne Halliwell is with the Departement d’ éducation physique, Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, Succ. “A,” Montréal, Québec H3C 3J7.